For a sales force that is used to making meetings and then having face-to-face meeting this is causing a massive upheaval. Of course Life Science companies, have always made profits, and some are benefiting greatly from the current pandemic. So it's not like these companies are going bust, but behind the scenes a transformation is taking place.
I was on the phone to a CEO today and one of this salesforce had said to him "I cannot sell if I cannot see somebody face-to-face". If one sales person said this, I wonder how many people are thinking it?
“Our pharma clients started focusing on messages that were much more germane and relevant for the time,” Pressburger (the report author from Accenture) said. “HCPs (Health Care Professionals) have said, and this research confirmed, that it is dramatically more useful and relevant for them and of better quality. As a result, the companies who are focusing on that are getting more time with doctors and building better relationships.”
The report goes onto say
"The research showed major differences from the initial days of the pandemic. Gone is the scramble to figure out simply how sales reps can use digital technology; today, there's a more evolved focus on what reps should talk about."
"The old way, with reps getting a few minutes of in-person time to quickly recite product benefits, will give way to support and assistance messages. Why? Because the reps doing it now are gaining real rewards—and docs will keep asking."
Let's changes gears and look at a recent Hubspot report.
The Big Introduction Is
"How modern sales leaders are exceeding revenue targets by adapting their sales model, leveraging technology, and enabling their reps to sell remotely. And why everyone else is catching up."
The BIG Headline In the Report
"64% of those who transitioned to remote sales this year met or exceeded revenue targets, compared to 50% of the leaders who did not make the transition. Signaling a shift in how sales teams will be structured going forward"
Gulp, this research actually demonstrates what we have been saying about a clear analog and digital divide opening up in companies and the way they sell and market. The pandemic has meant that companies have had to make massive choices in how the both organise sales and marketing and execute sales and marketing.
Back to the data and analysis from the report.
"The Adoption of Remote Selling Is Creating a Competitive Advantage"
COVID-19 has had a significant effect on buyer behavior, and the economy has forced difficult decisions for sales leaders. Many sales organizations have been forced to operate remotely. Reps need to become more creative as buying habits have changed, managers are being asked to find new ways to improve seller productivity, and leaders are being asked to drive growth through uncertainty.
However, leaders who adapted quickly and invested in enabling remote selling were rewarded. 64% of sales leaders who invested in remote selling met or exceeded revenue targets this year."
"Sales leaders who did not invest in remote selling fell behind. 50% of this subgroup did not hit their sales targets this year.
But what kind of impact does missing sales targets actually have on future priorities?
Looking ahead, sales leaders were asked, “what are your sales organization’s goals next year? And based on their responses, the impact is clear: There is a competitive gap forming between those who have and haven’t invested in remote sales."
Let's switch away from Hubspot and look at some more recent research into sales by Gartner. If you missed my recent blog on the latest research from Gartner, they said something similar. No surprise as the data set (ie.what's happening in the world) will be the same.
So How Is Your Virtual Selling?
To quote the Gartner research "Most organizations were not fully prepared for what was an abrupt transition to virtual sales."
That was in the past, what about the future? Back to the Gartner research
"However, with the absence/restriction of in-person meetings and social distancing norms likely to persist for the near term, most CSOs (Chief sales Officer) recognize virtual engagements to be key for prospecting success."
I totally agree. But I'm biased, what does Gartner say?
"Organizations can enable sellers’ virtual engagements by helping them to leverage social media to create and nurture relationships with prospects."
"To drive digital dexterity, relevant behaviors and mindsets should be modeled and communicated to sellers."
"Coupled with this, CSOs can rethink how they pilot technology, creating an environment that enables sellers to safely experiment with technologies and access support as needed."
There is a Clear Analog and Digital Sales Divide Opened Up
A CEO Just Said to Me
"there is a race on. First we need to shock people into understanding that the world has changed. Second, we need to give them the skills to work in the changing world."
He went onto say "By giving my team(s) “new world” skills will gives us a competitive advantage."
Interesting that he finished by saying
"The thing is there is a “burning bridge” and we need to make sure we are over that bridge."
He's not wrong, both Hubspot and Gartner research back him up!
Who's Doing This?
Case Study 1.
This is Eric, he's one of the team at DLA Ignite here is a post that he put up, it only took him 10 minutes to create. We have all seen posts like this, we see them everyday, but people treat social tactically. You post, because you think you have to or somebody tells you you should and walk away. Let's talk about this post.
Eric's post of his 16 year old son, Austin, on his Birthday got 8,000 views and 165 likes?
But better still, he got 6 - C-Level meetings from this post? How?
Let's stop and think about this for a second. This post took 10 minutes to create and it got 6 C-Level meetings, how come?
Because, all of Eric's post are strategic. He knows exactly why he is posting it and knows how to monetise it. This is what remote selling is all about. It's not posting and hoping, there is a clear, structured methodology behind it.
He doesn't always post "humanised" content, I'm using this as an example. But an example of why you need to get your employees and sales team on social, just think of the $ impact to your business? Especially if you scaled this across your business?
How does Eric do this? He builds relationships with prospects and customers and because they have a relationship with a human, not a brand, people are happy to engage. Eric is also able to cut through the myrmid of noise that brands keep putting out. If you are a buyer, where will you spend your time? Reading an advert that says "buy my product because it's great" or look for the insight and educational content that people like Eric is putting out? This is remote selling.
The Microsoft Azure sales team actively use this as part of their sales strategy on accounts. They find "changemakers" who will take this insight and share within their businesses. This is how businesses are actively engaging with and influencing business and sales.
This is a sales approach, what about getting your your employees online?
Case Study 2
In this case study, Danielle Guzman, talks about how Mercer, empower their employees to talk on social. The ROI (return on investment)? Danielle explains how Mercer as a brand will develop the business a certain amount of business, because they are well known in certain markets. She also confirms in this video how empowering people on social and giving them personal brands gives Mercer 4 times more revenue than the brand.
Sounds like plan?
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing for other companies. No hard sell, just take you through what other companies are doing to transform.
Among the many shifts wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic is the relationship between pharma sales reps and physicians. But that might be a good thing. A new Accenture study has actually found plenty of pandemic positives for pharma reps. Docs didn’t have time to learn about a drug before? They do now. More than half (55%) surveyed said they have more time to learn about new therapies, and 53% said they’re interested in doing so. Healthcare providers also want to know more about pharma support services through reps. Doctors said more than before they want digital patient education (69%), education on remote patient care (67%), specific information on conditions relative to COVID-19 (65%) and information to help patients access labs, tests and imaging (65%).