Problem Solver

Sales in the Endemic

We will never go back to a pre-pandemic sales process, so where and how does sales fit into your business going forward?

What has the pandemic done to your business? What has the pandemic done to the referral community where you get your business from? How has all of this changed and have you changed with it? As we move to an endemic state and begin to “Live with COVID,” how does sales fit in?

If these past few years have shown us anything, it has revealed that sales and that of sales encounters are still a critical part of our business. Sales remain at the top of the funnel and our connection to the market. We adapted well and implemented strategies that would afford us to get in front of the referral community and some to simply keep us top of mind.

This is no secret; we will never go back to a pre-pandemic sales process. Too much has changed, and new variables have entered the market that were once considered temporary but now have found permanence in the referral community.

So, we must remain flexible in our approach with a calculated and rigorous process for the foreseeable future. We have all been waiting for the “new normal” but must settle for a “new environment” for now, as we continue to migrate to whatever that new normal will be.

We must stand firm and move to process over randomization, content over calories, and accountability over uncertainty. It is time to change!

So, where do we begin, and how do we execute in this new environment? First, we must realize and admit that the way we previously performed sales must change and that maybe we did not apply the appropriate emphasis to this area as it required and deserved.

It is time to move forward with a new and fresh approach and purpose and no longer settle for the old ways.

Moving Toward Dynamic Sales

To begin with, we must avoid harmlessly vague and hopelessly accommodating sales calls and processes. A harmlessly vague approach to sales has no place in this new environment. Competition is stronger than ever before. The referral community has pivoted, and our words and actions must count every time we get in front of them. This does not mean we cannot be social or build relationships. After all, this is phase one of the sales funnel. But we must not camp in the relationship-building phase forever.

One way to accomplish this is to move toward a dynamic sales process over the randomized sales pattern we once employed. A structured sales call process, account ranking, territory management, and sales call targets must be our new approach.

This process will guide us as we move low-, medium- and high-level accounts to greater referral numbers.

We move these accounts from the relationship phase to partnering for outcomes by bringing content over calories. This year, 2022, is the year of outcomes. We have read, heard, thought about, and discussed outcomes for decades. It is time to move into the realm of partnering with our referral community with outcomes that drive compliance and change patient behaviors. This must be beyond box data.

For many years we enlisted a hopelessly accommodating sales approach, one that deepened the referral community relationship but only scratched the surface of potential business. We know the referral community has changed, and moving to an outcomes-driven approach will move us past accommodating to accomplishing.

The process will provide the structure needed. Partnering for outcomes is the message to be delivered and moves us beyond being caterers to contenders. Incorporating an outcome-driven sales approach will differentiate your business from the competition and etch your brand in the marketplace.

Accountability is Key

The process plus outcomes will be driven in the market through accountability. The level to which we hold our sales professionals accountable does not and should not be void of trust. But as Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but Verify.”

The verification of the sales process is easier today than ever before. With the addition of both a CRM (customer relationship management) and market data, the sales professional will have a clear understanding of the key prescribers/referral sources that are in a given market.

As stated previously, we are not going back to a pre-pandemic sales approach. That ship has sailed, and the new environment requires this level of accountability.

Accountability can be measured through a CRM but can only be used for accountability if leadership adopts, engages, and executes its implementation and use. These applications will provide clarity in our approach in the marketplace and assist in the prioritization of sales calls, in-services, structured presentations, and market share growth opportunities.

This poses a trifecta for sales success: process, partnering for outcomes, and accountability.

The facts are clear; the referral community will continue to restrict access. The competition will not let up. The market has changed, and while providers might be similar in number, the names are consolidating. Our reaction to this must be decisive, strategic, planned, and executable. With certainty, we know that patients will continue to need our products and services. We are the best at what we do and just need to pivot for the future.

This article originally appeared in the Mar/Apr 2022 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Ty Bello, RCC is the president and founder of Team@Work LLC, which offers more than 50 years’ combined experience in assessing, developing, and coaching sole proprietorships, sales teams, C-suite executives, individuals and teams in a variety of industry settings. Bello is an author, communicator and registered coach, and can be reached at ty@teamatworkcoaching.com for sales, customer call center, and management coaching needs. Please like Ty on LinkedIn and visit www.teamatworkcoaching.com for more information and join The Coaches Corner at teamatworkcoaching.com/coaches-corner.

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