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  • September 30, 2020
  • By Michael Vickers, executive director, Summit Learning Systems

How to Sell Virtually in a Turbulent Marketplace

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MANY SALES PROS routinely fall into the trap of thinking about and acting on what is important to them—their quota, their commission, their needs—and not to the customer, especially in turbulent times like we are currently experiencing. If you want to be effective and create meaningful connections in this new reality, it would be wise to put thought into every layer of your virtual meetings.

I think we can agree that virtual meetings are the new normal for most B2B companies. With this new demand, the major CRM platforms are adding new technologies and features to help sales teams incorporate virtual meetings into their sales processes.

It may seem simple to move your meetings online, but technology isn’t all you need. Being a great virtual salesperson doesn’t just mean long days of videoconference calls. You will need to master other new skills, and sales reps will need to tap into these skills to help move a prospect through every stage of the pipeline when meeting in person is out of the question.

More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of B2B buying and selling has changed, and businesses are motivated to re-accelerate their growth. The new technologies and features that CRM companies are employing can help your sales teams stand out from the competition and provide engaging and trusted buying experiences.

By necessity, when COVID-19 showed up, every sales rep became a virtual seller and has re-imagined how to interact and engage with customers. Both buyers and sellers are stressed over the uncertainty and are looking for trusted sales advisers to help them get back to business as usual (or at least some semblance of it).

To compete and succeed in this new environment, sales leaders need to rapidly deploy technology and processes to increase rep productivity and performance. The good news is that, according to some recent surveys, 54 percent of outside representatives are confident in their personal ability to close deals in the new environment.

2020 is a transformational moment for sales professionals. Businesses must find new ways to optimize day-to-day tasks and support virtual relationships with their customers. With enhanced technologies, reps can elevate the customer experience and sell more effectively.

If your company is making the transition from field sales to remote selling, your sales team will need to learn to leverage technology to engage decision makers and move them through discovery to build value virtually.

ENGAGING NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN AN ONLINE WORLD

Pre-meeting, sales reps will need to navigate a prospect’s internal political landscape and identify the decision-making team and the stakeholders who can make a decision and make the case why it is important to meet virtually. Salespeople will also need to engage more effectively through email and social channels.

Today’s sales reps must understand the tools they’ll need to harness to create a strong online experience, and how that experience can be a differentiator. You have to conduct your virtual sales meetings in a way that enhances the decision maker’s attention and creates meaningful engagement.

The goals of the virtual meeting, just as in a face-to-face meeting, are to build value and position yourself as a trusted adviser. It is important to set the stage for an effective presentation, which includes doing the prep work and designing a meeting template—deciding who will attend, establishing the time required, and so on.

It is also critical to deliver an effective presentation cadence—controlling the amount of information presented, managing multiple screens, and, most importantly, focusing on how to advance the opportunity in your pipeline. Pay special attention to reading and adjusting to different communication and buying styles. Come up with creative ways to create an interaction (e.g., polling and questions) and always ask for feedback post-meeting.

By enabling frontline sales reps to navigate the world of virtual selling, sales leaders can position their organizations to gain greater customer confidence and trust, accelerate their go-to-market strategies, and drive growth efficiently and profitably. 

Michael Vickers is executive director of Summit Learning Systems and the author of Becoming Preferred: How to Outsell Your Competition.

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