More than ever, we’re rethinking the ways we do business and communicate with prospects. But that’s no surprise, because what hasn’t COVID changed?
The pandemic accelerated our reliance on technology and online interactions. And digital activities that were on the rise pre-pandemic — like virtual selling — have only become more critical to master.
Way more than just a solution to social distancing, virtual selling allows you to expand and flow within the marketplace seamlessly, which is ideal for a post-pandemic world.
It empowers efficiency, can encourage a shorter sales cycle, and promote a deeper understanding of buyer needs. Plus, it frees up sales reps to focus on the sales activities that matter most.
Here’s how to level up your virtual selling strategy.
- What you’re up against: Virtual selling challenges
- 6 virtual selling techniques that ease buyers and grow sales
What you’re up against: Virtual selling challenges
Virtual selling has long been a part of sales. How could it not be?
With enough bandwidth to support video conferencing, a stable internet connection, and solid audio quality, you can sell to anyone, anywhere.
COVID-19’s work-from-home boom merely catapulted its popularity, increasing the development of virtual selling approaches plus classic tools you’re likely familiar with: GoToMeeting, WebEx, Clearslide, and now, Zoom.
Here’s the thing: It’s not a perfect science. (Pretty darn close, though). If you’re on the frontline of selling or managing a virtual sales team, it’s important to know the challenges you face and how to overcome them. As you sharpen your virtual selling technique, be aware of potential sales challenges like:
- Developing genuine relationships and rapport with prospects without relying on in-person meetings.
- Keeping buyers engaged and responsive throughout meetings and conversations.
- Technology problems that interrupt the flow of the sales process.
- Decoding what your prospect is really thinking (based on body language and personality insights).
- Scheduling meetings that actually stay on the calendar (instead of getting stuck in a loop of rescheduling hell).
- Proving and demonstrating the value of your company’s product or services.
6 virtual selling techniques that ease buyers and grow sales
Don’t let the challenges stump you — the benefits of virtual selling can’t be overlooked. Plus, it’s what the people want: In 2020, McKinsey & Company found that as many as 80% of B2B buyers preferred to interact remotely when making purchasing decisions.
They say it’s easier to schedule, and it’s cheaper than traveling. True.
Because remote sales isn’t a just-during-COVID thing, you have to master this sales process to win key accounts and close more and more deals.
Here are six virtual selling techniques to help you do that.
1. Virtual selling + social selling
We are more online than we’ve ever been, folks. Now is not the time to abandon social strategies that connect you to all the consumers who find and research products and services online.
When prospecting, virtual selling and social selling are a dynamic duo: Because you can connect, share content, and engage with buyers and customers at any time, social selling enables and impacts the way you generate relationships, create value, and relay information to the right people.
With an effective and diverse social selling platform that enables to you diversify touchpoints to maintain engagement, it’s never been easier to:
- Collaborate and provide feedback on content.
- Create unique content for other employees to share.
- Organize sales collateral for quick access to share.
- Monitor keywords or competitors via social listening.
- Share relevant content to important social media channels.
2. Monitor (and learn from) buyer interactions
Then use that data to shape your virtual selling process, adjust your strategies to benefit prospects, make metric-based game plans — and even learn new ways to make virtual interactions more engaging.
Here’s what to monitor to better understand how buyers engage with your company’s virtual selling efforts:
- When you email buyers, track your open and click rates to assess whether what you send meets their needs.
- Monitor your prospect’s buyer journey and how long it takes them to complete the sales cycle.
- On video calls, monitor facial expressions, types of questions they ask, and if they appear genuinely captivated by the conversation.
- Monitor the opens and clicks of documents or contracts you share to get insight on engagement.
- Use email tracking software, a CRM, or chatbots to get alerts and know when a buyer interacts with your content or lands on your website.
- Track how much revenue each new customer brings in.
3. At the very least, get the basics down
No matter what, never skimp on these basics to ensure your virtual selling goes off without a hitch (or fewer hitches):
- Speedy connection. Video streaming and other programs take up a lot of bandwidth, so ensure your internet is fast and reliable. If possible, get the highest speed without breaking the bank — or make it a priority in your budget if you work remotely. (Pro-tip: Ask your company if it’ll reimburse you!)
- Splurge on sound. We have to leave “Can you hear me now?” in 2020. To improve your sound quality, get a reliable microphone or headset (and test them way ahead of calls).
- Find the right angle. To avoid looking like a shadow when you meet with prospects or like you’re looking down on them, work on your computer or phone’s positioning. And don’t forget to adjust your lighting as needed.
- Don’t forget branding! Adding a brand touch — like a logo or your business colors or fonts — to your videos, presentations, and educational materials makes you look like a tight-knit professional brand. (Because you are. 😉)
- Take good notes. As you sell virtually, document your sales process. It’s a great way to remember your strategy, find what is working and what isn’t. Plus, you can keep track of your work.
4. Share presentation materials — before you sign on
Do what you gotta do to remember this strategy: keep a sticky note on your desk, set a reminder to go off before each meeting, whatever works.
But you will want to go the extra mile for this virtual selling technique because it works. Buyers may be complex, but it’s easy to understand why they want to work with a sales rep who’s poised, prepared, and organized.
When you share presentation materials before video conferences or calls:
- You’re not vulnerable to sometimes inevitable tech issues. If and when there’s an interruption, your prospect has your valuable material ahead of time.
- Simple: You appear more prepared.
- Spending the time it takes to get your prospect situated on the call is a waste of time, and it makes you seem unorganized.
- With early access to your materials, prospects can stay focused on and keep up with your talking points on the call.
Before you go live on your call, be generous in how much time you spend preparing. Review pertinent details, outline talking points, and know your baseline script.
Then knock it out of the park.
5. Buddy up with marketing
To sell virtually successfully, a key strategy is to be more aligned with marketing.
Let’s break it down: It’s likely your marketing team largely creates a majority of resources and collateral you use when you’re firing off sales emails, cold calling, or social prospecting — e.g., everything from educational blog content, guides or whitepapers, presentations, videos, social media posts, and even helping with nurture emails.
That means they’re the branding experts and can provide excellent guidance on your social selling efforts. Ahem. You really oughta prioritize collaborating with them more.
Pro-tip: To amplify sales opportunities and increase deal size, work as one with marketing, and communicate feedback effectively, so each team knows how to consistently deliver.
6. Level up your sales workflow
There’s no shortage of efficient platforms, technologies, and systems to use to navigate virtual selling — it’s simply a matter of choosing the right tools to suit the needs of your team as you explore new ways to reach and engage prospects.
Across collaboration tools, video conferencing platforms, as well as apps to help you create impressive sales presentations, track analytics, and more, here are a few you might consider:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Meet
- Google Workspace
- DialPad Uberconference
- Google Analytics
How can you tell which tools will complement your virtual selling goals the best? Start with the people your workflow might affect the most: your sales team.
Connect with each member and survey the tools they love, assess current strategies and tools as a team, extensively research your options, and of course, experiment.
To find the sales technologies that’ll help everyone succeed in virtual selling, it’ll likely take some trial and error — and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re ready to pivot as soon as something stops working.
Another way to boost your virtual selling efforts? Knowing exactly when to jump on a hot lead with targeted personal interaction. Check out our Speed-to-Lead Guide to learn how to meet buyer expectations and increase sales!