December 16

Virtual Work Means Virtual Sales—Are You Ready for the New Work From Home Standard?

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the public’s outlook on many aspects of life. More specifically, the outlook on remote work and the future of the workplace in general was altered dramatically. Employees alternating between working remotely and working in the office isn’t just a temporary pandemic blip, but according to most research, a cultural shift that is likely the new norm.

By the numbers… 

Research from Forbes revealed:

  • 97% of employees don't want to return to the office full time.
  • 74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard. 
  • 61% of employees prefer being fully remote.

Brandwatch, a social media listening and analysis platform, analyzed two years worth of social media data and found that 73% of employees want flexible work options forever while 67% of employees want more in-person work or collaboration post-pandemic. 

So it’s not a huge surprise that their data showed 66% of leaders indicating their company is considering redesigning their office space for hybrid work – the catch phrase coined to describe this new normal.  

Image from Brandwatch

Why you should care: 

The COVID-19 pandemic proved the vast majority of sales organizations were not prepared and still aren’t prepared to successfully sell in a virtual world. Additionally, hybrid work environments create new sales prospecting challenges: 

  • REALLY Cold Calling: Your WFH sales prospect can't answer their office phone and most don't forward it to their home phone, leaving your salespeople only one option: leave a voicemail. 
  • Can't Buy Their Attention: WFH sales prospects don’t care about a free lunch if it means they have to put their big girl clothes on and deal with traffic and parking. Today’s salespeople need to learn to earn vs buy sales prospects’ time and attention. 
  • Flying Blind: The most valuable aspect of meeting sales prospects at their offices is everything you see and hear around you. Salespeople with big ears and eyes are able to discover hidden opportunities in the form of unspoken needs.  

What you can do: 

All is not lost. In fact, what at first appears as a huge sales impediment can actually result in competitive advantage for companies that move quickly to adapt to the new normal created by hybrid work environments. 

  • First, invest in the appropriate virtual sales training for your sales team. Sure, they need to know how to host the best Zoom sales calls but high performers will also need to:
    • Seamlessly transition from face-to-face selling to virtual selling and hybrid selling (where the salesperson is presenting to both in-person and virtual prospects simultaneously). 
    • Understand how to virtually build trust based relationships so prospects will feel comfortable sharing previously unspoken needs. 
    • Become better investigators. Virtual Selling forces salespeople to stimulate prospects to voice their unmet needs - sometimes dragging the information out of them - so that the salesperson can present a solution.
  • Second, arm your sales teams with the appropriate sales materials so they can take advantage of all the virtual selling skills training you provided them. 
    • Those PowerPoints that work in the boardroom… well, the ones you think work so well, absolutely do not work in a Zoom room.
    •  Give them or better yet, teach them to create social media outreach scripts that aren’t going to get them blocked.
    • Work with your Marketing Department to provide Sales with 2nd-Click Content that answers any potential questions and overcomes any potential sales hurdles to improve conversions.
  • Third, outfit your team with the right technology. How can you expect them to sell virtually with crappy tech? Spoiler alert: they can’t. 
    • Provide a digitally centric CRM tool. Over the years we’ve tried a lot of different platforms, but the one we currently use (and absolutely love) is SharpSpring.
    • Make sure they have a good microphone - there’s nothing worse than poor audio. It will drive your sales prospects crazy. 
    • Give every salesperson a good webcam. They only get one chance to make a great first Zoom impression.
    •  And don’t forget the lighting. Even the best webcams will fail to make your sales teams look marvelous in poor lighting. 
    • Kick ass wifi. Video is a bandwidth hog, so make sure your teams have more than they need.
    • Go Green – as in greenscreen - to make their Zoom backgrounds look professional while on the call. 

What's in it for you? 

Virtual success. Contrary to popular belief, this new blended work environment creates an enormous amount of opportunities and benefits for properly prepared sales organizations including but not limited to: 

  • Reduced sales and marketing expenses (trade shows, travel, etc.).
  • Lower cost of acquisition for new deals and customers due to reduced selling expenses.
  • Expanded sales geography. Virtual selling erases distance and makes it just as easy to sell to the prospect around the corner as the one around the world.
  • Improved sales efficiency: In the hands of well trained salespeople, virtual selling tools convert one-to-one selling activities into one-to-many activities greatly improving each salesperson’s ability to reach out and touch lots of someones. 

Ready to ensure your sales team’s success?

Schedule a call with our founder Tom Martin, who’s been using and teaching virtual sales techniques for over a decade to companies large and small throughout the U.S. 

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