Sales and marketing: Paradigm shift in thinking, the need of the hour | Sunday Observer

Sales and marketing: Paradigm shift in thinking, the need of the hour

3 January, 2021

With rapid changes taking place in the business world, sales and marketing professionals need to accept the changes with alacrity.

If you want to be in the “first place”, you need to change. You need to adapt to changes. Change was considered as “Pain” in days gone by.

But, “Change” has to be considered as, “Growth” and “Prosperity”.

Changes are inevitable in the sales and  marketing world. Managers need to keep an eye on the constant changes occuring in the micro and macro environments.

Customer needs and wants are changing swiftly. The four Ps in marketing, Product, Place, Price and Promotion need to be handled more carefully and consciously in today’s situation and in the future.

“Promotion”, particularly “One-to-one-Selling” has to be redefined. You need to prepare “tailor-made” plans to reach your external customers.

Companies have to address the pressing issues and dilemma on changes in

customer buying behaviour and to satisfy their needs and wants.  Companies are also unable  to make products  freely and continuously available to customers, following the corona pandemic due to shipment delays and supply chain disruption. More vibrant, contactless services need to be identified and implemented in the service industry. These have to be carried out diligently, effectively and efficiently.

Marketing plans

Companies also need to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies and to skillfully prepare their sales and marketing plans.

With these changes taking place, the strategy period has to be redefined.

Gone are the days where the companies had their “10-year plan”.

You may consider having your long term sales and marketing plans restricted to three to five years.

You need to choose the right person to do the right job at the right time in the right way using the right cost and budget to get the right (desired) result with the available resources. Never in the history of sales and marketing, had you to battle with crises and conflicts which had a major impact on your business.

It is a herculean task to prepare and achieve  the sales forecast and set sales and marketing budgets beside making field visits more productive.

Sales and marketing professionals  are compelled to work remotely which has resulted in their inability to attend office for meetings and discussions on designing, planning and implementing strategies and for budget meetings.

Hence, you need to develop skills to be a strong and effective change, crisis and conflict manager to navigate the business to a viable and profitable business.

You need to focus on the “growing growth” of the business through the years and not merely “ordinary growth”.  You should strive to achieve a “double digit growth” in the coming years as “single digit growth” is insufficient to meet the “Challenges and Opportunities” following the corona pandemic. To reach this growth target, you need to first develop a “growth mindset” among your employees.

“Smart working”

Some sales and marketing representatives may complain that they work hard but there is no result. They may say that they work for 10 to 12 hours a day.

Teach them the importance of “smart working”. Tell them it does not matter how long a batsman stays at the crease but what matters is how many runs he scores.

Similar to a batsman who needs to play positive and powerful shots and make the scoreboard tick, the basic role of a sales and marketing representative is to produce sales and generate business.

It is an arduous task to convince them on new ideas and implementing new plans as you will get frequent complaints and hesitations from the sales and marketing forces.

However, with proper training and inculcation of positive attitude to make them to think positively you will be able to sail against the winds (competition and market behaviour and market conditions) thus to arrive your destination on time.

The Government needs to focus on labour laws as these have to be rewritten to benefit the employees of the organisations.

It should further assist the entrepreneurs with loans and flexible repayment plans.

Insurance policies need to be re- formulated to the companies and newly formulated policies to benefit its employees covering pandemic and sudden loss of job.

Employers need to be empathetic towards their employees when making salary cuts and when collecting payments from their customers.

A paradigm shift in thinking of sales and marketing professionals is the need of the hour to survive and succeed in the marketplace.

Invest in people

Therefore, invest in people  to improve their thinking and provide them with training and development programs.

You have to not only provide knowledge but also skills and inculcate good attitudes and make those attitudes a habit. Identify people with high calibre during job interviews and recruit them. Though you may have to pay a premium price to hire them. You could consider these people as better investments

for your company. Since you may have employees with negative thinking,

teach them not to pray for the heavy rain to slow down  but rather how to hold a better umbrella during the rain.

Similarly, when the sales targets are set they should not complain that it is too high and request you to reduce the target.

Rather they should depend on their knowledge and skills acquired from the training received from the company.

It is a cardinal rule that you must ensure to identify “training gaps” and provide training to equip themselves to meet challenges confidently.

Inspire them only “perform” and not to list out the “Problems” to you. In essence make them “exceed” the company expectations and not make “excuses”.

Open your employees eyes to the facts of “Speediness, Quality, Originality, Creativity and Innovativeness” in their thinking and work. If you can innovate you could lead and you need to do it faster. Develop dynamic leaders to take care of your people, customers, business and organisation. It is of paramount  importance to “train the trainers”. Identifying leaders is an art. Conduct  brainstorming sessions during your monthly sales and marketing meetings or when the need arises to get ideas and to make them accept your ideas and plans. Make them to generate ideas and put those ideas into action. It is better to have pre-empt strategies for your staff now prior to embarking on your “new vistas” in sales and marketing this year. Should you be interested in delighting your internal and external customers, you need to think and act fast as “speed is the name of the game” and the “need of the hour” in the ever-changing business world.

Sales and marketing professionals are well known for their resilience. You could bounce back. Rise from the ashes like the Phoenix. Your people could make the difference.

Make wise decisions today, as in business, “speed is the name of the game”.

The writer is a sales, marketing, training  and business consultant with 30 years of experience.