As the coronavirus crisis creates a “new normal” for B2B sales operations, leaders must decide how best to address the changing needs of their sales organizations head-on.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the time it will take for businesses to return to their pre-COVID-19 operating levels,” says Steve Rietberg, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “In the meantime, sales operations leaders must be proactive in addressing the impact of softening demand and supply chain disruptions.”
Gartner recommends that sales operations leaders focus on four impact areas to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
Download Framework: Take a proactive, strategic approach to cost management
Remote sales operations workforce
Whether mandated by the government or the organization, many sales operations professionals now work remotely. But unlike the sellers they support, few are accustomed to it.
“Sales operations leaders, acknowledging the productivity and engagement challenges of remote work, must formalize work-from-home policies and develop strategies to build virtual communities and promote active engagement among sales operations team members and their stakeholders,” says Dave Egloff, Vice President Analyst, Gartner.
Read more: 9 Tips for Managing Remote Employees
The economic risks created by the crisis are reducing buyer confidence and clouding a range of sales forecasts. Leaders can’t assume once-predictable portions of the business will continue to behave predictably.
The leading indicators used to inform preexisting forecast processes (for example, historical load rates, lead/pipeline conversion rates, weighted pipeline) may not be as effective at projecting unit volume, bookings and revenue in current conditions. These unknowns leave professionals less able to make confident decisions, resulting in even greater forecast uncertainty.
For now, supplement existing forecasting techniques with new leading indicators. Identify and track markers that signal when supply and demand might get worse or better, and provide strategic insights on how these factors drive forecast changes.