All businesses now have one very good thing – six months of post-Covid sales data. Used right this can give you greater certainty to inform and plan your sales strategy for 2021.

It’s now six months since Covid-19 burst in on the business scene. If you’re busier than ever – that’s great. But for most businesses, Covid has stalled sales, frozen sales pipelines and generally exposed any weak points in your sales systems and sales processes.

None of us knows what the next year will hold.

But we do know the smooth ride many businesses had over the last decade has changed, for some more than others.

Whatever the future holds, you can use your six months of post-Covid sales data to improve your sales forecasting. This will help you plan your sales strategy and resources. And best of all, this information will help you make legitimate predictions as you position your business to get the most out of 2021.

One – Conversion Rates

Look at your conversion rates to see what’s working for your business in the post-Covid world:

  • For your business as a whole
  • Across your channels
  • Which channels give the highest conversion rates for meetings/demos – both online and/or in-person?

If your conversion rates have dropped, what could you do to turn this around?

Two – Channels

Virtual selling is in. That doesn’t mean in-person sales is over, or that you should completely discard it. People buy from people. Still, if you can’t be there in person (because of lockdowns or stringent health guidelines), make sure you know where your business does best from online channels.

First, think about what success means for you. Look at the last six months. Measure the number of:

  • Demos
  • Zoom meetings
  • In-person meetings

Now track your success across all channels:

  • Which channels give you the highest response rate post-Covid?
  • Which channels are giving you less response post-Covid?
  • Do some channels deliver a higher response rate for one success metric than for others?
  • Or does your most successful channel for in-person meetings also deliver the highest number of demos or Zoom meetings?

Think about newer channels such as text and video. How are you incorporating these new channels into your sales and business development?

Even if your customer base is ultra-conservative and still firmly committed to pen and paper, it’s worth gaining an understanding of newer channels. As decision-makers in your industry age, preferred communication channels will naturally evolve. You want to be ready for this change.

Three – Sales cycle

Look at where you’re already winning. Let’s think specifically about your top five products/services:

  • How long is your sales cycle for your top five products/services?
  • Has this changed post-Covid?
  • How?
  • What are the win rates for your business as a whole?
  • How about for each of your top five products/services?

Four – Deal Size

Or to put it simply – average sale size…

  • What was your average deal size pre-Covid?
  • What is your average deal size now?
  • How about the average deal size for your top five products/services?
  • Which product lines have seen the deal size increase post-Covid?
  • Where has your deal size decreased? Why?

Five – Profitability

While looking at sales cycles and deal size, it’s definitely worth considering profitability. In the uncertain future, you’ll give your business the greatest certainty by focusing your efforts on product/services lines which are the most profitable as well as the most popular.

  • Which of your top five products/services has the greatest profitability?
  • If you’re a product business, how easy is it for you to get fresh supplies?
  • Are any of the components you need likely to increase in price?
  • When do you think prices will go up?

Summary

These questions are just the start of your detailed analysis to form a solid foundation for your 2021 Sales Strategy. Remember to include your whole team in any discussions. Everyone has insights. No-one is too unqualified to understand the parts of the customer process that they are responsible for.

Gathering all your sales data plus anecdotal data from your team will give you a richer picture of just how your business has been impacted by Covid-19. You’ll also see gaps and opportunities where you can push ahead to grow your business in 2021.


Mary Crampton is the owner and principal consultant at Magnify Consulting