By Peter Cannone
Two years ago, most businesses would have hardly been able to imagine themselves occupying half-filled offices with employees working across hybrid environments. However, as many businesses have geared up for a return to the office over the last month, a survey has revealed that more than half of London workers are expected to be in the office three or more days a week while a quarter said they would work from home at least three days a week.
While a jump in commuter traffic last month may mark the ‘great return’ to the office, it’s safe to say that working life will not return to its pre-pandemic normal. Along with reduced office working, changes in the ways that we communicate with customers and employees are here to stay. Managing, and taking advantage, of the reformed way in which hybrid businesses can work will be an integral part of the future.
Below are three ways that businesses can accelerate their growth as they embark on a new normal when returning to the office.
#1 – Build relationships built on trust
The pandemic has expedited the transition into a world in which people are more connected than ever – albeit that connection existing in a virtual space. Businesses are increasingly realising the potential of being able to operate anywhere. From employees being forced to work from home to the prevention of international business trips, the pandemic has proven that in-person meetings are not the only way that strong, trusting relationships can be built.
However, though businesses certainly have a new-found respect for virtual connections, physical meetings have not ceased forever and we’re already starting to see in person events and meetings resume in some places. With physical and virtual meetings both used as opportunities for relationship building, the key is flexibility and the ability to build a wider network, ensuring you can reach people via whatever channel they prefer.
An element of building trust includes knowing the right time to open a dialogue with prospects and customers. This means you must be engaging with partners who you can trust to deliver on multiple solutions, such as accurate databases, information on buying intent and the ability to integrate with other solutions within the business. By doing this organisations can ensure their teams are equipped with everything they need to capitalise on the post-Covid bounce back. Trust is the backbone to any successful organisation or partnership, and employees must continue to learn new ways to build trust with clients.
#2 – Take advantage of the new global capacity
Twenty years ago, the main sales tool to instigate a lead was the desk phone. Two years ago, working from home was an exceptional privilege for the few. Now, not only are businesses adopting a hybrid model but there is also capacity for the “working from home” model to be a “working from anywhere” model. Geographical separation should be viewed as an advantage, not a hinderance. Businesses need to engage with a target customer where they are today, not where they’ve been before.
Given the fundamental change in the way that businesses communicate and operate with their customers and partners, it is vital that organisations connect via mobile numbers and social networks. The growth of the ‘on the move’ lifestyle, matched by working across multiple working environments, will require a similar ‘on the move’ working method from sales teams. Ensuring individuals have access to this type of information will allow them to continue generating leads, no matter where the customers are based or how they want to interact with potential partners.
#3 – Ensure business revenue intelligence data is reliable
All businesses generate data. What you do with that data and how you make it actionable could determine the success of your business. Data is a wealth of information that provides learning opportunities and insights at every avenue.
In our renewed data-driven world, it is crucial that the data businesses are using is reliable. Analysis of this data in a timely, robust and accurate fashion will form the basis of much of businesses strategic decision making going forward. The quality of this data, and how it is used, is now a measurement of a successful modern business. For example, reliable buyer intent signals will provide much greater benefits and insights to a business than inaccurate, outdated databases. To make informed decisions, businesses must harness data and use it as the number one tool to drive growth, and this is true globally.
Following these steps as businesses embark on the return to the office will allow new ways of working to be navigated much more easily and will create a robust sales team that is equipped to withstand any new challenges that come their way. The ability to generate leads under challenging circumstances is key to survival and is a competitive necessity for business growth. Teams that do not adapt to this new normal will fall behind and lose ground to their competitors.