The web is brimming with articles on managing remote development teams – we also wrote a quick guide on the subject.
In the age of the cloud worker, managing software production seems something relatively easy to pull off. You need the right tools, clear processes and, above all, use them consistently. Let's be honest: the coronavirus situation did not launch a revolution – most modern Software Houses have been enabling programmers to work remotely for years.
The situation is different in Sales and Marketing. Here, the isolation has significantly affected our current goals and tasks and verified in real life the system of work which, inspired by production processes, we adopted back in 2019.
In this short article we will tell you about what has changed in the Sales and Marketing activities after the pandemic was announced, and how to plan the work of your Teams to maintain efficiency and steady revenue regardless of external conditions.
Part 1: What’s changed in the Sales and Marketing activities after the pandemic was announced
The coronavirus situation has limited all face-to-face human interaction to a bare minimum. In practice, in Sales and Marketing this means:
1. Canceling all the events and meetups that we organize to obtain HR and Sales leads (e.g. Meet.js at Hard Rock Cafe or Sketch Meetup)
TIP: Organize online events instead
2. Cancelling participation in all networking-focused meetups
TIP: Focus on Social Media, activity in groups, and build new online relationships
3. Cancelling participation in conferences aimed at acquiring new knowledge
TIP: Sign up for training webinars and gain knowledge from YT and ebooks.
4. Suspending all our monthly customer visits
TIP: Arrange video calls and expand lead-nurturing activities by providing our clients with knowledge through mailing campaigns
5. Suspending the use of our CoWorking offices in Berlin
TIP: we use CoWorking intranet so we stay in touch with our companies from behind the desk
6. Suspending the Product Workshops that we organized for our international clients in our office before starting each project
TIP: We implement the online Product Workshops which we first introduced in 2019
As long as remote work and isolation is required, we advise you to maximize your online activities and, above all, learn to acquire leads through video calls.
This requires a stronger focus on the quality of the talks as there is no chance to wow clients through a "live" presentation.
We are experts, but this is much more difficult to show and prove without a F2F contact. Showing what we specialize in, how we make software fully in line with our values, telling what processes we have and how well they work for us is a huge challenge.
These things are much easier in a face-to-dace confrontation. The conversation has a more natural flow, you can refer to posters hanging in the room, spontaneously start a presentation and act more "human", while reacting accordingly to the listeners’ reactions.
In the current situation, there is no way to show the customers our vibrant office with hammocks and a small lake outside the window, and let them taste our delicious coffee.
All we’re left with are the words and the presentation.
During isolation your marketing communication becomes exceptionally important. Make sure it’s up to scratch and, if needed, update it and make it more attractive!
(Case Studies, new offer, promotional videos showing the office etc.)
Part 2: How to plan the work of your Teams to maintain efficiency and steady revenue regardless of external conditions.
The time of forced isolation and the threat of COVID-19 is an extremely risky period for many entrepreneurs and startups.
It is very important to maintain the current level of Lead generation. To achieve this goal it is necessary to think carefully about the work of the Management Board and the Sales and Marketing Team, taking into account clear rules of remote work.
Kris Marshalek, CEO of Software Brothers, explains:
At Software Brothers, we have implemented well-defined processes for remote and office work in Sales and Marketing. Rather than wait for an emergency, which is the looming threat of COVID-19 disease, we implemented them as part of our current work, preventively. This has helped us to become more agile, efficient, and allows us to achieve the assumed levels of income
And what does this mean in practice? Below we present 6 specific solutions and tools that simply work and help you realize sales plans regardless of the circumstances.
- PROCESS: We work in the SCRUM methodology, just like our production - thanks to this, the entire company operates according to consistent processes and standards.
In the Sales and Marketing work, we implement Planning, Retro, Demo and Daily meetings in accordance with SCRUM practices.
TEAM: We work in a team that includes CEO, CTO, CPO, Sales Representatives, Marketing Team and Scrum Master, who joins at the planning and retro stages and takes care of the Jira workflow. Operational sales work is done independently without the help of the Scrum Master.
LONG-TERM PLANNING: We operate in an extremely dynamic environment. A long-term plan means a maximum of 3 months for us. We present long-term plans on a special Sales and Marketing Roadmap to discuss goals, tasks, deadlines and assign people. Planning for longer periods of time is pointless and, we can assure you, just won't work.
- Tool: Excel
- For long-term purposes, which should not be too detailed - we recommend the usual tool - Excel. Dedicated roadmap tools or PowerPoint overlays and extensions work well in Production, but Excel wins in Sales and Marketing thanks to its simplicity. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
SHORT-TERM PLANNING: The tasks collected in the Roadmap are then allocated operationally to 2-week sprints.
- Tool: Jira
- For short-term purposes, we recommend Jira. Jira works well for us because as our production is entirely based on Atlassian.
This lets us efficiently assign people to tasks, analyze Team performance, assess task time. You can also clearly see the current stage of every task.
- TIP: Create general tasks in Jira and indicate purpose. Example: I will prepare a company presentation updated with our new values - do not add typical production elements such as DOR (Definition of Ready) or DOD (Definition of Done) - it will not work in sales and marketing - the environment in which we work is too dynamic.
DAILY PLANNING: Tasks from sprints are implemented and discussed every morning during the Daily Standup meeting of Marketing and Sales
- Tool: Google Calendar
- Yes, good old Google Calendar. It took us several months to develop this practice - we tested Jira and Trello, sticky notes, and even tried to give up Daily altogether to finally implement Google Calendar and... it did the trick.
By creating events in Google Calendar (i.e. the tasks to be carried out on a given day), each Salesperson and Marketer plans their day and, at the same time, can see what the others are doing.
This adds transparency. Everything is fully online, tasks can be easily moved, cloned and other people can easily get involved.
In addition, every task offers the video option (Hangouts) so switching to Home Office was a breeze!
CURRENT WORK: When working on the tasks, our internal communication is based on a communicator, and the documents we create are always placed in dedicated locations in the cloud.
- Tool: Slack, Google Drive
SALES MONITORING: During Sprints, it is very important to verify the current situation and keep an eye on financial KPIs. To this end, we are constantly updating the sales funnel and meet once a week to discuss the stages of individual Leads.
During these meetings, we also make revenue forecasts and discuss the possible future projects.
Such estimation is necessary to be able to allocate development capacity well and avoid over-selling.
- Tool: CRM, financial reports
To sum up - during a pandemic, we strongly advise that you focus on maximizing online activities and, as soon as possible, implement the processes and tools that will enable your Sales and Marketing teams to work efficiently regardless of the conditions.
Of course, a successful implementation of processes can take months, but if you do not start now, you may fall prey to another catastrophe, be it an earthquake or invasion of aliens ;-)
There’s work to do, so roll up your sleeves and get to it!
Remember: Agility is the sign and requirement of our uncertain times.
Moreover, if you are a small company or startup, your nearest future may be your sink-or-swim. Harsh as it sounds, that's the brutal truth.
Make every effort to generate income, retain employees and survive.
The bad times will pass.
We keep our fingers crossed, and if you need support in software development in your company, feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call using Calendly (the button at the top of the page).