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Reimagining the B2B Sales Floor in a Hybrid Environment

December 2, 2021

Using a tub of ultra-strong gel on your hair.  Wearing a Bloomingdale's Little Brown Bag. Eating crackling candy by the bucketload.

These might be the only 3 things more unfashionable than daily Zoom call blocks right now. 

But if peak-pandemic tactics are out, what exactly replaces them? And how do you enable your B2B sales team while some remain at home and many others return to the office?

In this blog, Cognism SDR managers Ole Pugh and Hugh Campbell step up to answer these questions, emphasising the importance of a strong B2B sales culture that unites everyone behind the same goals.

Scroll for their insights, or use the menu below to flick through 👇

The traditional sales floor in flux | Settling the in-person vs remote debate | Pandemic plays here to stay | The future of the sales floor

The traditional sales floor in flux ⚖️

“We all know the advantages of being on the floor,” says Ole. 

“Reps are hyped up by each other when they book a meeting and they’re in a better frame of mind to deal with rejection when they can laugh it off together.”

“From a personal development perspective, junior reps can also listen in as AEs close big deals,” adds Hugh. 

“Having instant access to target crushers is invaluable for grads, allowing them to upskill quicker and move through the ranks.”

And although there are remote-working alternatives to help simulate this atmosphere, including Slack channels and virtual call blocks, nothing quite beats the real thing.

“Losing that buzz you get on the floor is why tons of capable SDRs decided sales wasn’t for them during peak COVID,” says Ole.

Settling the in-person vs remote debate 🤺

With this in mind, is it just as easy as flicking the switch back to a physical sales floor from a remote one?

After all, salespeople, like everyone else, have come to like the idea of increased flexibility in their work routine. 

They want to have a PJ day the Monday after a heavy weekend. They want that extra hour in bed on a Friday. They want the option to catch up on life admin whenever it’s necessary.

But that can’t come at the expense of performance, as Ole explains: 

“Cognism has a data-driven sales function, and we felt it was right to stay true to that when deciding whether to return our UK reps to the office or not.

"From the numbers, it was clear that reps performed far better on the floor than they did at home."

"In that sense, our next move was a no brainer. 

“That said, as no other department within Cognism was subject to the same instructions, we felt completely removing our reps’ ability to WFH was harsh. 

“That’s why we gave all UK reps a balance of 5 work-from-home days per month to use as and when they see fit. 

"As this isn't possible for our South African SDR team, who remain at home, we bring everyone together on 3 daily standups. These help keep everyone unified and add rhythm to the day.

“Striking this balance has seen us deliver the results we need to continue the company’s growth.”

Pandemic plays here to stay 🌱

While the industry was hard hit by the pandemic, that’s not to say it didn’t help to evolve some parts of the sales process. 

For example, although Slack doesn’t quite work as a direct substitute for the sales floor, it does bridge the gap between in-office UK reps and remote-working reps in South Africa, as Hugh explains:

“2 of our Slack channels stood the test of time, fulfilling an important function now and in the pandemic. These are ‘Top of the Cogs’ and ‘Revenue Team’.

“Top of the Cogs pulls Zapier data through, notifying the entire channel of every meeting reps book. 

“Revenue Team, on the other hand, is more about user-generated content. For example, our Associate Sales Director, Saif, shouts out AEs responsible for closing deals and the SDRs who booked the meetings. 

“These Slack channels make everyone feel part of 1 team with a common goal.”

Certain outreach tactics have also kept their sparkle, says Ole:

“LinkedIn is stronger than it’s ever been. Actually, it overtook email as our second strongest channel behind cold calling. 

“Within that, you’ve got voice notes and video outreach still working wonders as they did during the first wave of COVID.

“Even though we returned to the office, many of our prospects’ routines have fundamentally changed, meaning we haven’t just flipped back to our pre-pandemic playbook.”

The future of the sales floor 🔮

With winter taking hold, Christmas almost upon us, and COVID cases on the rise, it seems the New Year will hold the same old challenges for sales leaders

But you have one saving grace. 

And that, of course, is your culture. In every one of their answers, Ole and Hugh touched on this as the key to driving positive outcomes whichever way the wind blows.  

Fostering this with initiatives, constant communication, and great leadership is your golden ticket. 

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