The best answer to when you should pivot your sale strategy is when it becomes necessary. As to how to do it, pivoting requires careful planning and deliberate execution.
Many entrepreneurs and business managers believe pivoting involves drastically shifting the direction of the company as a whole. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the company may have only one issue that requires fixing. As such, only one department might need changes.
Pivoting is a key part of the answer to ‘what is workforce management’. It may involve changing a business staple into a unique service. This allows businesses to offer customers a more streamlined and specialist product.
In the same vein, pivoting may be about turning one product into a feature for another. In the sales department, it may be deciding to incorporate elements of storytelling into your strategy.
Here, we have created an extensive guide that will help you pivot your sales strategies. In it, we’ll explore the key indicators of a need to pivot and, more importantly, a roadmap of how to successfully do so.
How to Recognize When to Pivot Sales Strategies
Because many business managers encounter success after pivoting sales strategies, others neglect questions about when to pivot. Instead, they jump right into it with the belief that it’s a magic solution to all sales issues.
Below are signs it’s time to pivot your sales strategies:
Sometimes, competition isn’t a good thing for your company. Sure, your sales tactics may seem unique at first. However, this all changes when a larger company with more funding and resources comes along with a similar offering.
Here, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room. It’s impossible to stop other companies from doing business. As a result, it may be best for you to pivot sales strategies.
You’re playing catch-up
Slow progress should not last for too long. As a business manager, if you find your company’s sales are progressing slowly despite an influx of labor and resources, it may be time to pivot.
Sales have stalled
Another indicator of when to pivot your sales tactics is a halt in company growth. Sometimes, this may happen in relation to zero motivation within your team, or it may be the result of an inefficient strategy.
Whatever the case may be, hitting a plateau in sales and revenue means it’s time to switch strategies.
One product gets the most sales traction
In this scenario, one product is doing well in the market while others are moving slowly. If this is the case, it may be time to pivot your sales strategies. You can do this by focusing on the successful product while radically switching strategy for the other.
In some instances, it may even be better to ditch the more poorly performing of the two. By focusing on the more successful sales strategy, you can boost efficiency, productivity, and overall revenue.
A change in perspective
As a business executive, your company should only proceed in a manner that aligns with your vision for the company. It’s completely normal for that vision to change over time.
Sometimes, researching a product niche isn’t the same as delving into it firsthand. Perhaps you have discovered a more customer-rich avenue to push your product. If this is the case, it’s time to pivot your sales strategies.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
There are specific KPIs that are a measure of how effective your current sales strategies are. Consequently, a downtrend in these KPI metrics are a further sign you need to pivot sales strategies.
Key performance indicators to keep an eye on include:
- Sales revenue and profit
- Lead Flow
- Cost of Customer Acquisition
- Lead Response Time
- Lifetime Customer Value
- Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate
- MQL-to-SQL Conversion Rate
Steps to Pivoting Sales Strategies
Below are ways to change your sales strategies for effective growth and development.
Adopt a multi-channel approach
Essentially, a multi-channel sales tactic involves using more than one channel to engage with customers. Communication with customers is more than just emailing. In today’s digital world, it includes phone calls, texts, social media, live chat, and video channels.
Adopting a multi-channel approach to sales offers massive dividends. It’s why up to 80% of high-growth sales teams use this strategy. For instance, if you choose to use a cloud-based phone system features and benefits include:
- Increased product visibility
- Boost in customer loyalty and retention
- More effective customer engagement
Tailor your content to fit customer needs
Here, we’ll use the coronavirus pandemic as an example. In the early days, we were all getting to grips with the situation. As a result, messages to customers would likely go along the lines of: “During this difficult period” or “Hope you are staying safe”. Maybe you used an eCommerce discount strategy to leverage the effect of a financial downturn on your audience.
We hadn’t experienced a similar situation before, so the knee-jerk reaction was to pivot to empathetic messaging. However, it’s been over a year since the pandemic got into full swing. Your potential customers have gotten to grips with the new normal. They’re tired of the relentless empathy messages and emails. They want to get back to business. Your content should reflect this.
Rather than sticking to empathetic messages, pivot to how you can satisfy your customer’s needs during the pandemic because that’s what they’re looking for now. Skype or alternative tools, for example, can make it easier to communicate with your customers. However, they’re not useful if you’re sending out the wrong content.
Integrate automation as part of your sales strategies
A few years ago, most of the work your sales team had to do was face-to-face. With this method, it’s easy to develop better customer relationships. However, it’s an inefficient method of selling products and services.
Now, your sales team has the advantage of being able to use RPA software to boost productivity. Rather than setting up physical meetings with your customers, you can set up auto texts and follow-up emails. This will help your sales team build a relationship with customers while still focusing on other tasks.
Artificial intelligence and other automatic tools can be used in different areas of the sales department’s work. According to Smart Selling Tools, most companies were spending more than $150 per user per month on sales tech in 2019, whereas it was lower than $150 just two years earlier. That trend towards greater spending is only accelerating.
The sales team is important too
When finding answers to how to pivot sales strategy, most managers ignore their sales team. However, a healthy work-life balance is key to the success of your pivot in sales strategies.
Different studies have shown that everyone is suffering from some form of anxiety, sadness, or depression in relation to the pandemic.
So, to boost productivity within your sales team, it’s important to show how much you care. Check in on members of your workforce. This connection can be an opportunity to find out whether you can trust your remote (or physical) team.
Find out how you can make life easier for them in relation to work. Maybe you need to install better hardware. Sometimes, this boost in spirits may be all that’s needed to counter a lull in sales numbers.
How to Pivot Sales Strategies Effectively
Now you know when to pivot sales strategies, the next important question is how to do it. Here, we discuss proven tips to increase the chances of a successful pivot.
Do it quickly
Sales teams often have to pivot more than once. Changes in trends, consumer behavior, and products mean they have to change strategy frequently.
It’s not a question of how many times you have to pivot strategy; it’s a question of how effective the results are. Don’t sit around mulling over the decision. Instead, select the right project management software and design a plan for pivoting.
Once you can identify the need to pivot sales strategies, do it quickly. In the long run, this will help you save time, effort, and money.
Sales goals should be in line with your vision
Being a business manager or executive is hard. If the path of your sales team doesn’t look right, there’s nothing wrong with stepping back and evaluating the team.
However, in doing so, you should make sure new strategies align with your vision for the company. You don’t want to have to do all the work that goes into pivoting only to change strategy a few months down the line.
Don’t hit the delete button
At the beginning of this blog, we mentioned how pivoting doesn’t necessarily equal a total shift in strategy. To that end, you don’t always have to scrap the previous work done by your sales team.
Instead, look to identify the aspects of your work that can be salvaged and reused as the team pivots in a new direction. You’ve likely spent time and resources getting your sales team to where it is today. Don’t waste it.
Listen to the voice of your customers
The whole point of learning how and when to pivot your sales strategies is to satisfy your customers. As such, look out for their feedback, especially in the early stages of a pivot.
With the right marketing analytics tool, you can easily sift through customer feedback. The result of this analysis will guide you in making crucial changes that could boost the acceptance of your sales strategies. As long as you listen to customers, it’s hard to go wrong.
Pivot Sales Strategies for Growth
Knowing when to pivot can solve half of the issues that come with switching sales strategies. However, you should also ensure your decision to pivot maximizes growth and expansion opportunities.
Reviewing company data can help you surmise the kinds of adjustments needed to succeed in your new approach. Check for possible improvements to your tech stack, whether it be as simple as switching file sharing services, adapting project management tools, or changing your eCommerce for enterprise platform.
Throughout this blog, we have provided effective tips and steps for pivoting sales strategies. Remember to listen to your customers while putting them into practice. Good luck!
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Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.