Thirty million Americans have now filed for unemployment, and most experts say the number of people actually out of work because of COVID-19 is likely much higher. The sales industry is feeling the pain, maybe even more than other sectors. Even though stay-at-home orders are easing, face-to-face interaction is likely to remain limited throughout the rest of the year. Large events, such as trade shows and conferences are canceled, probably through 2021.
Societal pain points and priorities have dramatically shifted overnight. Sales teams are scrambling to change their messaging, implement new strategies, and keep their teams connected remotely. Sales reps thrive on connecting with their prospects. Unfortunately, this crisis has brought face-to-face interaction to a halt, bringing sales to a complete standstill for numerous companies. As a result, many salespeople are laid off or fear they will be let go in the near future, as sales continue to fall.
If that is your situation, do not despair. Use this time wisely, and take advantage of resources available to hone your skills. Here’s how.
Don’t Assume There are No Jobs Out There
This might sound simple, but our first tip is, just keep looking! There are companies hiring. Certain sectors are seeing steady or increased volume during the COVID crisis. Stock strategists are encouraging investors to put their money in pharmaceuticals, utilities, and other industries that provide basic needs. Tech companies, as well as telecommunications businesses, are also faring well, according to US News & World Report. This is because everyone is relying more on technology, both in their personal and professional lives.
How do you know who’s hiring? Last month, well-known sales engagement gurus Outreach.io announced a new career board just for sales jobs. “We’ve curated a list of the world’s most innovative companies all leveraging Outreach’s industry-leading sales engagement platform and that are also hiring for various sales roles,” explained Outreach. Check out this valuable resource.
Here are five more job boards that yield results for salespeople.
- LinkedIn: A quick search of just sales jobs in the US yielded over 8,000 results. Be sure your profile is up-to-date, so employers can easily find out about your sales experience.
- AA-ISP Career Center: If you are looking for inside sales, take advantage of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals’ network.
- Sales Enablement Society has some great podcast episodes available to listen to anytime.
- Sales Gravy: In addition to a sales job board with over 7,000 posting positions, you’ll find training and resources at Sales Gravy.
- Mashable: If you are a salesperson with tech experience, Mashable can connect you with positions.
- SalesHeads: Search their extensive database, and quickly glance at the companies hiring right now on their homepage.
Upskilling is not just about training. It involves expanding your capabilities, by either improving existing skills or learning completely new ones. When you’re employed, upskilling often involves increasing responsibilities and taking on new duties. If you are currently one of the few salespeople still employed, offer to learn new skills, take on new roles. This could pay off by making you an indispensable member of the organization, avoiding layoff completely. In the event you do lose your job, you can more easily find one with your new expanded skills.
Research from SHRM shows that CEOs are concerned about the availability of people with key skills, so much so that it will interfere with their business growth. What was SHRM’s remedy? They titled their article “Upskill or Fade Away.” Get the key skills employers are looking for and move yourself to the top of their prospective hires list. There are a lot of resources out there. We narrowed down our top five.
- Sales Hacker is a resource full of blog posts and podcasts to help you refine your craft. From “The Complete List of Sales Interview Questions” to “How to Approach Changing Trends in the Global Economy,” you’ll find an abundance of best practices and tips to help you sharpen your skills.
- Revenue intelligence software developer InsightsSquared has a treasure trove of resources, include webinars, guides and free apps. Sales Grader is one of their free apps that uses 16 key indicators to perform a CRM consultation in seconds, revealing what part of your sales process you can improve.
- HubSpot has become a leader in inbound marketing. Tap their expertise. Get actionable advice from their sales blog, including tips on networking, productivity, sales calls and emails.
- Our certified Sales Training vendors have tons of content to help reps day to day. Download their profiles for more information about each of them here. Here’s a selection of their content we’re enjoying the most:
- Integrity Solutions published this great blog post about proactive selling in uncertain times
- Kurlan & Associates wrote this piece on how selling has changed, and how different it is today compared to just weeks ago
- Catalyst Sale published this piece on adapting to life while working at home
- SparxiQ shared this great blog post on focusing on the customer relationship, a great reminder for us all.
- ValueSelling Associates released this great podcast reminding sales people about how important it is to understand marketing, especially when we all need to stand out from the crowd.
- CareerCloud is not dedicated to sales, but it is a podcast that covers a wide variety of topics, from interviewing to leveraging social media, as well as finding job resources.
For more suggestions, check out Hubspot’s list of “24 Sales Podcasts Every Rep Should Listen To.”
Listen to the Advice of Others
We don’t mean the rest of your sales team. Listen to success stories, people who have been laid off, and risen to see another day. Sales rep success stories are abundant. Listen to them, and get motivated.
If you are a woman in sales, check out Barbara Giamanco’s podcast, “Conversations with Women in Sales.” Her show recently won gold in the Top Sales and Marketing Awards. We already mentioned SalesHacker, but their extensive lists of podcast success stories is worth mentioning again.
Don’t limit your motivation to other sales people. There are a lot of great success stories whose experience transcends industry. For example, former Google career coach Jenny Blake discusses how to “pivot” and find opportunities in unexpected places when you lose your job in this podcast. We also love The Goal Digger Podcast, a weekly program that shares productivity tips, social media strategies, and inspiring stories of people who have achieved their career goals.
If you have followed us for some time, you’ll know we are great fans of Larry Levine and his content too. His message around staying ultra-human is especially powerful right now, more than ever. Lastly, check out Sales Success Stories. As the name implies, host Scott Ingram interviews top sales performers to find out their best practices.
Vendor Neutral Resources
Organizations, as well as individuals, are feeling a great amount of uncertainty. We’re in uncharted water, unsure of what the future will look like. One thing is certain, we must provide assistance and resources to those affected by the uncertain economy. Vendor Neutral is dedicated to being a resource to both sales representatives and companies. Contact us to learn more.