Poll shows how field sales teams have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, when they expect business to normalise, and that they feel more prepared for business as “newsual” after our COVID-19 Health & Safety Regulations webinar.
More than 500 field sales professionals recently participated in our COVID-19 Health & Safety Regulations webinar, sharing some of their thoughts around the impact this pandemic might have on their businesses. We also learnt that participants benefitted from the webinar and how we can continue to help field sales teams be successful in the COVID-19 economy.
1. Some sales teams are smaller
The impact on the economy cannot be denied and is also felt by some of the Southern African companies who participated in our webinar. One third of the participants indicated that the size of their sales team has been reduced because of the impact the pandemic had already had by the beginning of May.
We’re not yet sure how this trend will change as more businesses are opening up again, but in a slower economy than usual. What we could expect is that the industry will remain or even become increasingly competitive. Whether they have become smaller or remained the same, it is necessary to consider whether your sales team is future-ready and has access to the best sales tools to keep selling.
2. Most sales teams were using video conferencing before the pandemic hit
I think it’s safe to say that anyone who didn’t know what a Zoom or a Skype call was at the beginning of the year, does now. Seventy-one percent of our webinar participants made use of video conferencing tools before they were forced to do so in more recent months. It is expected that business as newsual will mean less but more intentional travel and in-person meetings.
We’re constantly looking to help field sales teams succeed at sales despite the restrictions they work under in the COVID-19 economy. This includes thinking through what it means to continue doing face-to-face visits safely.
3. Field sales professionals recognise the risks involved
Around 10% of the attendees knew someone who had contracted the virus by the beginning of May. All of us are potentially exposed to the virus when we move around and share spaces with others. It is therefore helpful to constantly practise good hygiene, and track both our movements and who we come into contact with. This will help us, those we share living spaces with and the people we do business with to stay as safe as possible.
We introduced a digital health-and-safety check list in our field sales app to help sales teams track their own health, follow necessary hygiene protocols, and note down any possible incidences where contamination might have occurred. This feature can be customised to best suit your team’s needs.
4. Field sales teams are largely positive about future business
It appears that most businesses recognise they have to get on with doing business as usual, even though it might mean business as “newsual”. Participants largely expect business to normalise by September (32%) or by the end of the year (31%), while almost a third (29%) are convinced it will never be the same again.
This could be read as an overly optimistic attitude, on the one hand, or as a general acceptance on the other that even though things have changed drastically, dealing with change better than their competitors has always been central to all their activities.
5. Businesses feel more prepared for the COVID-19 economy after the Health & Safety webinar
On average, field sales professionals indicated that they felt more prepared for business in the COVID-19 economy after our Health and Safety webinar (7 May 2020). South African occupational health specialists, Drs Frank Fox and Stefanus Snyman explained regulations relevant to field sales operations while the country was at Lockdown Level 4.
Looking at poll results (available in full here), it’s interesting to see that businesses who were most confident in their preparedness before the webinar felt less confident afterwards. This means that many realised they weren’t adequately prepared to return to business yet, but were provided with the necessary information to do so.