Throughout the spring and summer, we’ve had the opportunity to interact with you in the same way I am sure you have been interacting with your customers and colleagues, over regular live video conference calls. Whether through our near-weekly MDM Live discussions, over the Sales Transformation Network — open to attendees of the upcoming MDM Sales GPS conference — or for other content-production reasons, it’s been a benefit amid the disruption of COVID-19 to have this regular connection at a time when in-person interactions have been limited or impossible.
Early responses to MDM’s annual Market Trends Survey indicate many of you are feeling the same way. (If you haven’t already, please add your voice to the 2021 Market Trends Survey by visiting our survey link)
Don’t get me wrong, nothing can replace the value gained from face-to-face customer interactions and collaborating with colleagues, and you’ve expressed that, but a number of responses we’ve received to the survey so far indicate distributors have been pleasantly surprised with how well remote interactions are going.
This is most evident in the many positive responses we’ve received related to employees working from home.
What’s that expression about no pressure, no diamonds? These responses, and others like them, show distributors are making advances in areas that have long been on the to-do list, such as improved technology adoption, better communication and more streamlined operations.
Here’s a sampling:
- “Some employees like the flexibility of being able to work from home. Legacy employees have learned to utilize more modern technologies for communicating.”
- “Better communication with our employees. Better employee engagement.”
- “It appears that we have become a tighter group, more concerned with our associates’ overall health, state of minds, and all more concerned with the operations.”
That last bullet point touches on an important argument made by Colleen Stanley, president and founder of SalesLeadership Inc., and a speaker at this year’s upcoming Sales GPS conference: Do not discount the business value found in emotional intelligence and soft skills management.
In the article, “Character Traits that Strengthen Remote Sales Management,” p. 6, Stanley points out that teaching sales teams to have a strong sense of empathy will go a long way in their ability to close more sales, particularly in a remote environment where customers may have even less time for a sales pitch as they balance the simultaneous pressures of work and home life. “It’s the most powerful influence skill you can teach,” she says.
Meanwhile, for an immediate view of macroeconomic trends impacting distribution, don’t miss the latest MDM Webcast, The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update, available on demand now by clicking here.