3 Keys to Virtual Sales Success

Sep 14, 2021 | Sales, Sales Coaching, Sales Leadership

FACT or FICTION: Virtual Sales are HARD. 

A recent Gartner research study cited that “An overwhelming 93% of sales reps are experiencing significant virtual sales challenges.” 

My friend Lauren Bailey posted about this on LinkedIn, and I responded with utter disbelief. 

How can this be? It’s not that I don’t believe the research because Gartner is great. But really, your salespeople are reporting that they are experiencing significant virtual sales challenges?

It baffles me why so many are struggling.

Why Virtual Sales Success is Not Hard

Virtual sales are not hard. Somehow, they are making it harder than it has to be.

PEOPLE! And by people, I mean CEOs and those responsible for revenue and sellers… 

Good selling is good selling.

The same set of skills are required in any situation.

3 Keys to Virtual Sales Success - alice heiman

Great salespeople have always used the phone to sell; that’s virtual.

Email has been around forever; that’s virtual.

Using video isn’t hard (and it has also been around a long time), but I understand that it takes a little prep and practice to become proficient like anything else. Harvard Business Review does confirm that building new relationships is especially difficult in a virtual world, but these are skills that can be taught.  

I think what your salespeople are struggling with is getting the attention of the people who can buy. The people like you who lead companies are extremely busy and are the ones making the decisions to buy.

Salespeople don’t have a compelling story, so buyers like you don’t want to talk to them. But instead of developing content and messaging to intrigue, what many have them do is send more emails, make more cold calls, and send more LinkedIn connections so they can pitch products.  

STOP! It’s not working.

More Conversations Equals Greater Virtual Sales Success

What needs to happen instead is sales and marketing get together to develop compelling messages that will drive buyers to have conversations.

3 Keys to Virtual Sales Success - better conversations

There is so much research from companies like Gartner and Corporate Visions stating what it takes to engage the customer, yet many company leaders seem to ignore it. 

There are so many companies out there sharing how to effectively use an account-based approach, which is widely ignored even though it produces great results. There are better ways to sell and get results. For more on that, read this article from BCG, Moving Beyond ABM to Account-Based Engagement. 

Find Virtual Sales Success by Doing Better… Not Doing More

We are burning salespeople out. Why do that when great salespeople are in short supply? Salespeople don’t want to do MORE; they want to do BETTER. So when they do better, they have great days because better means more sales conversations. 

3 Keys to Virtual Sales Success - do better not more

My friend Joanne Black teaches companies how to get appointments without cold outreach through referral selling. Yes, getting an introduction works 90% of the time. So, you can send 1000 emails and get one appointment or ask for 10 introductions and get at least 9. Resulting in 9 conversations because someone has transferred credibility to the seller and possibly even raved about your company while making the introduction. The caveat is, it has to be done well. So check out Joanne’s courses for help.

There are loads of statistics about the lifetime value of customers who come to you from referrals vs. cold outreach. Still, most companies I’ve worked with and surveyed don’t have a formalized referral program in place. 

Whether cold calling or scheduling a meeting from a referral, the message matters. You can’t get someone’s attention with messaging about your products and services. You have to show them you know them. 

You Have to Be Intriguing to Achieve Virtual Sales Success

Be intriguing using copy and content that has s message that matters. 

Park Howell from The Business of Story can help by teaching them the ABT (And, But and Therefore) method of storytelling.

Here’s an example from Park’s course

Top sales professionals know the importance of deeply connecting with prospects and converting them into life-long customers to exceed sales goals. But most salespeople don’t connect with their B2B buyer because they lead with logical features, functions, and data when your prospect wants an emotional story. Therefore, connect on a primal level with audiences where all their buying decisions are made using the problem/solution dynamic of the ABT.

NetLine Corporation‘s report on B2B Content Consumption can help marketers help their salespeople. It explains who is consuming content and what they want. Here’s the report. David Fortino, NetLine’s Chief Strategy Officer, says, “We enable our salespeople to take little snippets of data and weaponize that data, to capture the attention of the people they’re reaching out to.”

3 Keys to Virtual Sales Success

3 Keys to Virtual Sales Success infographic

Good salespeople should be able to sell in any situation, virtual or otherwise. So give them what they need to do so.

  1. Customer Engagement: Training and coaching on how to engage the customer throughout the entire sales process.
  2. Relationships through Video: Train your team on video selling skills to engage people through remote sales presentations
  3. Drive Conversations: Provide content and a compelling message that intrigues the buyer and drives conversations.
FACT or FICTION: Virtual sales are HARD. 

It’s fiction. You and your senior team can provide what is needed to make selling easier. Don’t let virtual selling be a roadblock. It’s head trash that salespeople don’t need. Virtual selling is not hard if you have what you need to do it well. 

Please chime in with your thoughts in the comments. 

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