Building a Smart Sales Structure Part 1: Corona, the New Normal and Sales

As part of our virtual “How to Survive & Thrive” program, Marc Schröder and Lars Conrad from the Maschmeyer team spoke about best practices around Building a Smart Sales Structure.


The content was so helpful that we decided to create a two-part series around it. This is the first part of two.

Without further ado, lets dive in:

How can you best optimize sales during COVID 19?

The key is not to reinvent the wheel but rather to stick to the sales process, and gear the messaging toward the circumstances that come with COVID 19.

 An example company who rents out Airbnbs by the hour adapted their messaging in the following way; "with so much time at home in a confined space to write emails, attend conferences, and make important phone calls – wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a quieter more private place to work from?"

In this way renting airbnbs by the hour becomes a valid selling point, under a completely different situation.


To add to that, the new reality of remote working means most customers are at home where they are more relaxed, this inevitably has an impact on sales. Through more availability, there is a better chance of shortening the sales cycle, so take this time to approach and seize those opportunities.

What would you say, is the consensus on applying freemium models during COVID19?

“Times change where you have no choice but to adapt and the time for adaption is here.”

 While previously we would advise against the freemium model, we now recommend it as a way to "give" your customers something, to let them know that you want to help and support them. Later on, whether in three months or half a year, you will be able to capitalise on that.

 An even better way to increase the number of opportunities for inbound leads is to combine the freemium model with content marketing.

“Use this time to focus on building trust and a relationship with your customers so that you can capitalize at a much later stage.”

With remote working as the new reality, being able to deliver a personalised online demo successfully is increasingly important, how would you best recommend to do this?

The online Demo has to be expertly delivered; online selling is more relevant now than ever, and the quality of the virtual content and charts along with that.

Delivering an online demo, should not be a simple screen share anymore; in the absence of face-to-face interaction there needs to be a much more personalized touch, the first step toward this is turning on your video, so that customers can see you, and put a face to the name. 

With video, come a myriad of new details that need to be considered, such as the positioning of the laptop, the dress code, the light/brightness, the background, and of course, body language is very important in video conferencing.

It is particularly important to individualize backgrounds while also making sure they are not hard on the eyes and look professional. A professional background, creates a setting that has no distractions, as a result the focus remains on you and what you are selling.  

Take time to perfect online demos because face-to-face appointments will hardly happen under current conditions, and moving forward in to the new normal.

Additionally, it is important to build sympathy, to keep in mind that during current situations people are facing different problems; understanding that will help you build trust and a stronger customer relationship quicker.

What and who should you focus on when business is not booming?

Spend more time on those customers you currently have, make them feel important, without giving them the feeling that you are badgering them or trying to sell. Focus on building unbreakable trust which will ultimately lead to you keeping them as a customer. Here’s why:

Customer retention is fairly cheap in comparison to the other alternatives. As they are already a customer, showing them appreciation will go long way and wont cost a lot.

Customer acquisition will cost more, from costs incurred to qualify leads, making calls, organising meetings etc.


Customer recovery: Trying to retrieve a customer is the costliest of all; a way to prevent this from happening is to engage more with customers; don’t lose sight of those which have been onboarded.


In a crises such as COVID19, it is particularly important to provide customers with comfort, assure them that you are not selling to them, but rather that you there with them, riding the storm out together.

In the event that you do lose customers, how might you prioritise which customers to recover first?

Apply the matrix below in order to better understand which customers to win back first. It goes without saying that time should not be wasted on quadrant 4.

When recovering a customer, it should always be systematic with specific processes in place for guidance on how to best approach them.

What are the trends for acquiring leads right now?

In general, due to all offline events being postponed or cancelled inbound leads are decreasing and outbound leads are increasing.  

Ultimately, cold calling is a great way to fill up the pipeline, don’t be afraid to push outbound leads and pick up the phone.

As a result, an opportunity is made where you can call the same lead again in 3-6 months, and it has become a warm lead. It might be much easier to convert this same lead the second time around. Be prepared and use this time to prepare your team for cold calls.

Do we need to tweak the sales playbook in order to better adapt to a crisis /COVID 19?

Current circumstances (COVID 19) may call for a different argument or messaging than previously. The best way to go about this is to adapt and optimize the elevator pitch accordingly.

 If your product is a digital solution, it is very likely that new urgencies are created from the crisis. Thanks to COVID19, customers are now more than ever, open to applying digital solutions to help with their businesses. However, this means that there will also be new objections therefore it is imperative to train your team to handle those objections. Under this standardisation regardless if it is a pitch or anything else, professional appearance across the team is clear.


That’s a wrap on the first part of our series.  We hope you found it helpful!

Find webinars from our program here.

Stay tuned for part two where we will discuss how to best shorten the sales cycle.  

Connect with Marc or Lars via LinkedIn.

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