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Are You Ready for Virtual Selling?

70% of selling is now Virtual or Blended. Is your team ready for the new normal?


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Take The 3- Minute Quiz To Find Out

Rate on 1-10 scale ( 10 being highest)

1. Engagement: Rate your sellers’ ability to engage prospects remotely. ( Rating….)

2. Speed of Action: Rate your company’s ability to respond to new information (competitor intel, market changes, product updates) ( Rating….)

3. Differentiation: Standing apart from your competition is harder when you can’t meet in person. ( Rating….)

4. Digital: Rate your sellers’ understanding of technology. ( Rating….)

Scale:

More than 36 points  – Virtual Sales Champions

30-35 points  – Marching Along

Less than 30 Points – Catch Up Dinosaurs

Recently, as a part of research called BBB- Brain Buying Behaviour, I surveyed 1208 Sales professionals in the last 6 months to understand their challenges in the modern world. The survey tells us more about the role of modern Sales Professionals and how they’re adapting to an increasingly digital sales world. Here are some of the findings from the report.

In today’s uncertain times, many companies are facing challenges that are slowing their buying cycles.  B2B sales are even more challenging. Though the markets are opening up now and customers are more willing to meet the salespersons; still the blended way of selling is going to stay. Digital selling has its own advantages. And customers have seen the advantages of virtual meetings. Nurturing prospects and closing deals when you can’t meet in person is the new normal for sellers in most industries.

One thing that has not changed: successful sellers are the ones that create strong bonds, both through formal meetings and informal interactions. But being a great virtual salesperson doesn’t mean simply conducting every meeting on Microsoft Teams or Google meet. There are many more ways to close a deal.

  1. 1 The DNA of Virtual Sales?




    Sales are separated into two categories:


    Inside sales. This means selling without leaving the office. Inside sales used to be limited to phone sales, but now also include selling via email, social networks (e.g. LinkedIn), as well as via audio and video call software  (e.g. Zoom, Google) or a Sales platform (eg Salesforce)

    Outside sales. This means leaving the office and meeting prospects face-to-face.
    Virtual sales, also known as remote sales, is a form of inside sales where you sell through Teams, Zoom, GoogleMeet, etc.


    It includes both audio and video calls, but when people use this term, they usually refer specifically to video calls.

  2. 2 Mindset of Virtual Selling


    Virtual Adaptation is the key to the success of Virtual Selling. The Sales Professionals must have the same attitude toward video conference calls as they do about in-person sales calls because they’re as important.

    Selling virtually is a matter of poise and confidence.  If your Sales professionals feel weird to close deals online, it will feel odd for your customers as well. Get comfortable selling virtually or blended.  One way of dealing with this is to get into the shoes of your customer. For your customers, this has dawned as a new reality. They expect you to connect with them, they also have needs that can be satisfied remotely if meeting personally is a challenge.

    If you are low on confidence, the risk is to give discounts and reduce prices vis a vis your competition just to close the sale.  The question is; Is this the right approach to take?

    To give an analogy, If a corporation is a human body, and sales bring in oxygen. We need oxygen, not just air. We need gross contribution, not just sales revenue. Without oxygen, we will not survive.

    One of the ways is to boost confidence to use the old Pavlov experiment.  Make the routines that instantly put you in a win-win model. This can be morning routines (start with a fresh shave, add some cologne, dress sharp, etc.), meeting routines (allocate yourself in a separate work-dedicated room, not the living room or bedroom), or even routines after closing a deal (maybe you like to treat yourself with a glass of champagne or Ice cream). Routines prime your body and boost confidence.

  3. 3 Why You Need to Master Virtual Selling


    a) Do you think like Gen Z!


    Digital sellers span across generations, levels of experience, and qualifications. However, Gen Z salespersons have a lot to teach us about the mindset required to connect with today’s digital buyers. Smart sellers are always on, always available, and the conversations they typically have are really quick and relevant. When crafting your digital sales strategy, think about what you can learn from the way Gen Z communicates.
    It’s become the norm to communicate via various channels, based on what makes the most sense in the moment – phone, email, video, even texts! Smart sales teams have access to the important account and opportunity details such as pre-negotiated purchasing prices to help Sales professionals personalize their conversations with the buyer on the channel of their preference.


    b)  Are you aligned to marketing!


    Getting aligned with marketing is really important if you want to maximize your sales opportunities and close more deals. Marketing and sales teams need a shared set of metrics to define the sales/marketing pipeline.
    In order to be successful in today’s market, sellers need greater access to marketing engagement intelligence. To inform successful sales campaigns, sellers need a complete record of customer engagement and an understanding of how marketing campaigns are resonating. With the help of digital tools, today's sellers benefit from greater sales pipeline visibility and the ability to make real-time adjustments where opportunities arise.


    c) Improve efficiencies


    In order to adopt a digital sales mindset, sales teams need to do more than switch from in-person meetings and conference room workshops to video conferences. Keep in mind that people, processes, and technology built for high velocity selling processes and faster, more efficient interactions will help you stay focused and keep your customers engaged.
    Successful sales leaders are able to prioritize tasks, eliminate the time spent assessing daily activities, and get a better insight into the leads likely to convert.

    Are you ready for the new normal?


    Virtual selling—working a deal remotely when you can’t be there in person!


  4. 4 Preparation:


    Customer: “I don’t want to work with them. They were unprofessional”.


    Prior to a virtual sales meeting, Sales Professionals should scan through their prospect’s social media connections and their network. This way they can find someone,  they know in common and calling to find out more. Make sure your sales Persons are doing their homework and preparing for each call as if they were meeting face-to-face.

    It may seem simple—just move your meetings online, right? But technology isn’t all you need. Being a great virtual salesperson doesn’t just mean long days of video-conference calls. You have other new skills to master.
    You have to tap into the tools and techniques that will help you move a prospect through the pipeline when you can’t meet in person. Sales professionals need greater access to marketing engagement intelligence, a complete record of customer engagement, and an understanding of how customers are responding to the marketing campaigns. The digital tools can help you profile your customers in detail and also benefit from greater sales pipeline visibility and accordingly adjust and personalize your sales communication.




  5. 5 Getting Buyers Attention:


    “I don’t even remember what we talked about. I was responding to email while they talked.”


    The top challenge Sales Professionals facing is gaining buyers’ attention and keeping buyers engaged virtually. It’s much easier to lose buyer attention in a virtual setting and much harder to get it back.

  6. 6 Building Rapport:


    Customer:   “I didn’t like them.”


    But while it may seem difficult to establish rapport while selling online, there are plenty of strategies, tools, and technologies you can use to replicate the face-to-face sales experience.

    The following six steps in the checklist can help you create a connection with your prospect, no matter where in the world you are in relation to them:

    Step #1: Have you created multiple Touchpoints before Your Presentation!
    Step #2: Have you customized Your Presentation through Storytelling!
    Step #3: How many Visuals are you using in your approach?
    Step #4: Are you comfortable with making and Eye Contact with Your Camera?
    Step #5: Do you have the Small Talk!
    Step #6: Is your Body Language and Vocal Cues to Reinforcing the Connection!


    Humility is about being there for your customers when they need you.


  7. 7 Changing Buyer Behaviors:


    Customer:  ”I knew all that already. Nothing special here.”

    Changing buyers’ points of view on what’s possible or how to solve a problem is the highest-ranked challenge. This is the core of advanced consultative selling—what we refer to as insights based selling.
    Sales Professionals change points of view by educating buyers/customers with new ideas and perspectives, but also by pushing back when buyers should be thinking differently.

  8. 8 Differentiating


    Customer:  “They’re the same. Whoever has the lowest price will win.”


    Differentiate Yourself – You Make a Difference


    Many Sales Professionals believe that the company and offerings are the most important areas for differentiation in the selling process, but differentiation of the Sales Professionals themselves is just as important. They are important for winning the sale, and also for ongoing client loyalty.


    Differentiate in the Right Areas


    Sales winners differentiate in four areas:
    •Themselves
    •Their offerings
    •The company
    •The eventual results the buyer can achieve


    Depending on the buyer, some areas will be more important than others. It’s up to the seller to find out which.

  9. 9 Are you Solution Oriented!


    “Customer:   They didn’t seem to have the right one/it didn’t make sense to me.”

    Being Solution Oriented means,  how your products / Services will solve the customer's problems. A high level, the customer-oriented design is needed 

    The design may be part of solution delivery if the Customer is ready to buy. 


  10. 10 Collaborating and Virtual Interaction:


    Customer: “I felt as if I am being cornered. I don’t feel connected with the salesperson and I’m not obliged to pursue this.”


    Collaborative selling in virtual setup begins with a different mindset: 

    A commitment to the long-term. Today’s customers buy differently, so today’s salespeople must sell differently. Clients understand that there is no urgency to buy because good deals, good salespeople, and good companies come along every day. Price is less of an issue because buyers are not just interested in great deals; they want great relationships. Today’s customers are looking for measurable quality in the products and services they buy.


    Collaborative selling means handling every component of the sales process with a high degree of precision and professionalism. 

    There are six basic steps of this that I shall cover in my forthcoming issues

  11. 11 Data , Visualization and Tools


    Customer:  “The meeting itself was a very crude one. We need someone more professional.”

    Using tools and dealing with technology when leading a virtual sales meeting rank much lower on the challenges list which is good because using technology and tools effectively is a good way to keep buyers’ attention and engagement. It’s not only about using technology, but also leveraging it to its fullest capability to maximize collaboration.

    Data and technological advancements, such as AI, are providing sales Professionals with insights to boost productivity and ROI. With this business acceleration, sales representatives need to adopt new and creative ways of selling to a customer, such as virtual sales.

    Use Virtual Tools to Keep Up with the Sales Team

    Aside from using videoconferencing tools, having other virtual applications to communicate with your team is vital. This can include managing tasks, providing training, creating projects, and much more. Listed below are some tools that you may find helpful for your company.

    Google Drive, Slack, Basecamp, Evernote …These remote tools allow the company to stay updated and organized when in-person meetings are not possible.


    Conclusion :


    In conclusion, It is clear that virtual sales are about more than just doing what you did before while sitting in front of a screen. As a Sales Leader, enable your sales team to focus on the right accounts by balancing humility and boldness, to sell virtually by being prepared in every aspect, and to keep the spirits high by keeping both the formal and informal drumbeat high.


    The above 11 recommendations for how to build a better engagement with digital buyers, align your sales tech with the latest selling trends, and realize your full digital sales potential.


    All the best

    Cheers,

    Jagmohan Singh Rishi


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