When Shelter-In-Place Becomes Sell-In-Place: How Sales Automation Can Help

Posted by: Steve Brown

We’ve always considered sales a chance to “press in the flesh.” If your salesperson was at home, it used to mean they weren’t working. Of course, now this is actually dangerous. Hence the shelter-in-place orders for many areas across the United States and around the world.

But if sales can’t be an in-person activity—one involving coffee, travel, and networking in person to nurture relationships—how can you maintain your livelihood without costing someone else their life?

Well, you need to quickly pivot to thrive in this new normal. Because it is possible to grow your business and even replace lost business in this new reality.


Implementing sales automation and changing your systems, no matter how scary that might seem.

Look, I get it. Salespeople picture themselves as belonging to the “old world” of face-to-face transactions. There’s a lot of resistance to email, zoom calls, and videos. But isn’t it just as expensive to hire a salesperson, pay for their car, mileage, expenses, and travel time?

And isn’t it costing you business if they’re stuck at home—which, they probably are—but they aren’t also working through it to meet their numbers and make you money?

Traveling more than for absolute necessities is considered offensive right now. The pendulum isn’t going to swing all the way back to where it was before.

But transitioning to a sales automation strategy can help you take advantage of the available technology to empower your team to continue your business. And that’s a competitive advantage in this day and age.

It’s not a matter of “should I,” it’s a matter of “how do I?” And I’m here to help. 

Why Now?

You might be thinking, “Aren’t things stressful enough right now, Steve?” And sure, they are. Everyone is struggling in some way to adapt to this new normal we find ourselves in.

But aren’t things always changing in some way? And don’t we have a responsibility to keep up with these changes in order to thrive in the world as it changes before our eyes?

Sitting idly by, lamenting these changes won’t help your business succeed. Just ask the people still using interruption-based marketing how they’re doing.

In fact, this is exactly the time where market share changes hands toward those who pivot and change their business process in order to take advantage of the technology of our day.

If you don’t, you’ll be left behind wondering why you didn’t listen to me sooner.

In a crisis, it’s easier to sit back and not take action, to rely on things as usual, and to double down on processes that aren’t working, looking for some semblance of your lost comfort zone.

And I’m here to tell you that the future involves conducting business online in a large part from here on out. No matter how long we’re stuck inside, there will be lasting changes that result from this pandemic. Now is the time to shift your business to meet those changing demands. After we’re out of this mess, it might be too late.

Think about it. So much investment lately has been made in the cloud-based infrastructure. You now have the tools to sit at your dining room table and talk to a decision-maker around the world—across the street, in another town—all in a matter of seconds, for free in many cases or super cheap in others.

Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that? Especially if you’re stuck in place already. 

Why Sales Automation?

Many salespeople will say they aren’t confident or don’t feel productive writing email. A lot of them prefer talking in-person, which makes sense. But that’s not an excuse. Don’t send an email. Send a video-mail.

Because today, it’s just as easy to send a video directly through an email using tools like Vidyard.

Where an email might leave someone misreading the tone in your text, a video is where they can see and hear you speaking the words aloud yourself as if you were there in person. It will make you feel like you’re sitting across a desk/conference table/dining room table with that person, able to interact with the human on the other side in a modern way.

And it doesn’t stop with that. You can send proposals and get the paperwork inked with proposal tools such as Proposify.

Technology today—and using it to make the sale is exactly what sales automation is all about—enables you to develop the relationships you need to thrive in your business even from a socially appropriate distance. 

How Does Sales Automation Work? An Example From Us

We don’t just expect you to make these changes and tell us how it goes. We’re putting these tools in place for ourselves, putting our money where our mouth—fingers typing this?—are.

Imagine this real-life scenario playing out in your business:

  • A client comes across our platform, spends time evaluating our solutions, and clicks a link to schedule a conversation
  • Marketing automation handles the setup of that video call
  • Four people attend the call from different areas across the US
  • During the call: we look at options together by sharing the screen, we talk about pricing, and we discuss various examples of our past work by pointing directly to them
  • After the 40-minute conversation, I follow up with a video email to thank them for their time and point to the next steps they can take
  • They reply within 30 minutes letting me know they’re ready to go
  • I send the agreement, which is signed electronically
  • Then, we introduce the on-boarding team who schedules the next steps in the same manner that the original call was scheduled
  • And finally, we collect payment in the same afternoon that all of this was taken care of

In the old way, I would have had to book a ticket, schedule a time, rent a car, and go meet them face-to-face. I would have to carry all the papers and examples with me and I’d probably not hear back from them until everyone was home safely some days or weeks later.

Instead, in just a matter of hours, we were able to quickly go through this process, to figure out if we were a good fit, begin onboarding, and conduct paperwork and payment.

With sales automation, you can do business faster, serve more people, and reduce costs all because of this change in mindset.

Face-to-face doesn’t necessarily have to mean in-person to earn the trust it takes to run your business. It can all be done correctly with clear messaging and by taking advantage of the technology available to you.

The humans you’re serving can still value and appreciate your efforts even when you are miles apart. 

Won’t Things Just Go Back to Normal Soon?

If what I’ve said so far is’t incentive enough, your competitors are struggling with the same challenges right now. They’re most likely considering or planning to take advantage of this technology themselves.

If you keep dragging your feet, you’ll lose whatever competitive advantage you have managed to maintain thus far. Any customers who have a better experience with competitors during this difficult time are going to stick with them long after the Shelter in Place order is dissolved.

Don’t make this time any more painful than it already is by refusing to change along with the times.

And remember, even in normal times, things would come up that prevented you from taking a business trip. That used to mean you’d rally around the next sale, rather than considering the technological work-arounds available to assist you in your success.

Sales automation isn’t just for the pandemic. If you’re using it effectively, you can be present for and keep the commitment to any sales conversation you have as well as whatever life events that come up.

There is a danger in saying, “This all sounds good for everyone else, but I can’t make it work.” Because not only is this possible for your business now, but you can also use it effectively from here on out to continue to build the relationships you need to thrive in your business.

Need Help?

If you want to implement these changes quickly—and I’m telling you, you do—but you don’t think you can do it alone, I can help.

Pick up a copy of my book, The Golden Toilet, for a no BS-look at how to make this transition for yourself.

Or schedule a call with me today. We can talk about how my company, ROI Online, can help you quickly make these changes, teach your team to embrace them, and thrive in today’s world.

We understand how this works and how to help you pivot your business and therefore succeed. 

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