The common sentiment on the impact of the pandemic across the globe has unanimously been catastrophe and destruction  in innumerable ways. For businesses across the globe, there is no going back to usual. All the business functions of the world today are  working towards better performing in the "new normal" ecosystem whilst creating a whirlwind of value- both in term of ROI and processes. Sales functions along with supply chain are amongst the worst hit functions specifically because the pandemic has limited transportation and commuting to a great extent. So, for sales, the greatest challenge is to figure the best practices for direct sales. This is because direct sales have been the time tested and proven ways of generating both business leads and revenue. 

The sales function currently is focused on transforming its 'Direct sales' model in the following ways such as:

  • Understanding and responding to changing customer demands - This is all about evaluating your product and service offering. Products and services that were much in demand some two years back have now become redundant. So, find out what the customer currently wants are. Survival of the fittest still holds. Adapt your offerings to customer needs. The most challenging part of the sales function is quick response to any given  situation and immediately re-route the organizational goals towards it. 
  • Working steadily to improve the customer experience - With the interpersonal meetings on a back-burner, the sales functions need to find apt tools to keep the momentum of lead generation on. The key answer is turning the digital way but also manage the transition smoothly to enhances the customer experience. For example, video conferencing has made lead generation much easier and responding to customer queries no longer depends on physical meetings. Digital tools have not only eliminated commute time but also improved response time.
  • Re-routing marketing strategy as per the customer needs - While traditional marketing might have taken a backseat, OTT media has re-surged with greater efficacy. Directing the marketing spend to correct marketing channels can be crucial to bolstering the sales. 

So, while these best practices can effectively transform the existing sales stature, there is something more powerful that can be done to equip the sales executives to leverage existing challenges as opportunities for higher lead generation and improved market presence. This ‘something’ is none other than ‘upskilling’.

“We've got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.” — Bill Gates

Upskilling is one of the best ways of changing one's approach to tackling problems. Organizations must encourage its their marketing and sales professionals struggling in the current market to explore and enrol for future-ready courses such as Executive Programme in Sales and Marketing (EPSM), by IIM Calcutta in collaboration with Hughes Education. This course has been particularly designed to deliver an in-depth understanding of contemporary strategies required for acquiring, retaining and growing business with multiple stakeholders effectively. This 12 months course will not only cover the fundamentals of management but will also cover people skills with specialized modules in marketing. EPSM aims to offer a transformative approach towards looking at a sales and marketing challenge as a fresh opportunity for driving growth.