While the world innovated rapidly and continually adopts many advanced technologies, the sales environment is still catching up. In most cases, face-to-face selling was the top method or process, allowing for strong relationship building, effective communication, and the ability to read nonverbal signals and reactions. Your top field sellers are masters at reading the entire picture in a sales interaction, responding and adjusting in real-time, and using intuition to sense emotions as a competitive advantage. A new, virtual world strips your reps of these connections, and they must adapt their skills and strategies to remain successful.
Before jumping into the article, assess your current sales strategy using the SBI Revenue Growth Maturity Model to align on the impact COVID has had on your organization.
Accelerated Digital Transformation That Is Here to Stay
With travel restrictions and COVID fears, the new selling environment is effectively virtual for most organizations. While we now lack the physical, in-person interaction, and the ability to take advantage of human connections to build relationships, virtual selling has no boundaries. Selling in person requires a high level of effort to make travel plans, avoid traffic, and plan for the most efficient meeting schedule with multiple prospects or customers. Now, the only constraint is time zones. If you adapt to the virtual selling reality and set your sellers up for success, they will be much more efficient than ever before.
While some aspects of digital transformation are taking over human jobs, your reps are still essential in situations that involve complex solution sales. Virtual selling is here to stay. Your sales organization will thrive in a new digital-first world by having a strategy in place to help your sellers adjust.
Online Presence: Reputation Matters
Where is the first place that people typically look when researching a product or service? The website of the company that is offering said product or service. You obviously want to leave a good first impression on the potential customer to move forward in their buying journey and even reach out to a sales rep. Ensure that the information the prospect gets before engaging with your sales team is accurate and compelling.
This messaging needs to be consistent, and your sales team needs to be well versed in it. They must know what information customers have learned through their pre-buying research before engaging with a rep. They must be focused on what the buyer already knows so that once they get on a video or phone call, your seller has identified opportunities to add value.
Now that your company is well-positioned in the digital world, what about your sellers? Their LinkedIn presence is more important than ever. Provide your sales team with consistent messaging about what your organization offers. Have each rep work on their profiles to show how they, as the sales rep, will be the best person to help the customer solve their needs.
Multichannel Customer Touchpoints
While your website and team’s LinkedIn profiles are two integral pieces to the buyer’s discovery process, they get their information from a plethora of other resources. Serious buyers will do their own research, gathering information from third-party websites, online videos, review sites, and much more. Your company is probably also pushing them information via channels such as email, text, and your sales team.
To ensure that the multi-touch experience is effective, start by designing a channel mix that fits the situation. Smaller customers with straightforward solution needs might be best suited for a purely online platform, while larger customers with high complexity may require field sales, inside sales, and digital channels.
As the world adapts to the new normal, technologies will change while customer needs and preferences will also evolve. Ensure your organization has a strategy in place to keep up with the rapidly changing environment and provide a consistent buying experience for your customers.
Check out this video with SBI’s CEO, Matt Sharrers, on How a Sales and Marketing Leader Makes Meaningful Connections with Self-Serve Customers.
Data-Driven Approach to Identify Virtual Buyers
If you’ve already gone through an Account Segmentation exercise, you may want to consider a refresh. SBI’s best practice is to refresh your model every 3-12 months, depending on the nature of your selling environment.
Why refresh? Because now that buying is virtual, you want to figure out which prospects are most likely to buy in this environment. You want to provide your sellers with call lists that are 5-10x the number of conversations that you hope for while providing them the best chance at conversion.
Read more about how to update account segmentation from a previous SBI blog on how a refreshed account segmentation will inform how to maximize your route to market mix.
Sales Process Is the Groundwork for Tools and Metrics
While the virtual selling process may be completely different than what your sellers are used to, the sales process is still as important as ever. Technology is important, but if your sales process isn’t well defined or customer-driven, the best CRM will not make your team more effective. Once you do have that defined and a CRM in place, track everything—touchpoints, MQLs, SQLs, sales cycle, win rates, and, most importantly, the types of touchpoints these are. Which part(s) of the multichannel customer connections are the most effective?
Be ready to pivot quickly and prepare your team by equipping them with the necessary tools, processes, and technology to make their number. This is vital to maintaining access to buyers, generating and advancing pipeline, and ultimately closing deals.
Get a jump start on assessing and setting your sales team up for success in a digital-first world by evaluating your current capabilities using SBI’s Revenue Growth Maturity Model.
Below are additional resources you might find helpful:
- If your organization has been disrupted by the ‘Digital Transformation’ hitting the world, ground yourself on how to think about strategy during this time.
- Our Virtual Sales Leadership Framework is another tool to help you set your team up for success.
- SBI’s LinkedIn community group Inspire Others to connect with other leaders like yourself and access additional content.
- Have a question? Submit it to the SBI Help Desk, and an expert will get back to you within 24 hours.