How to Create a Stellar Virtual Sales Experience
The shift to a virtual sales environment has been harder for some than others. Some reps have already found their productivity sweet spot, achieving record sales numbers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Others have struggled to adapt their techniques, finding it increasingly difficult to win over prospects without the benefit of in-person meetings.
At this point, waiting it out isn’t an option. After months of virtual meetings, many companies are realizing that travel is rarely mandatory—meaning some aspects of the “new normal” are likely to be permanent. As such, it’s essential for sales teams to optimize their sales processes to suit a virtual environment in the long term.
In our recent webinar Blending Virtual Selling Techniques into Sales Processes, DocuSign sales leaders Julie Sheppard and Matt Sullivan were joined by Jeb Blount, best-selling author and founder and CEO of Sales Gravy. They shared a few simple strategies sales leaders and their teams can take to improve the buyer experience on virtual sales calls—and build personal connections that convert.
1. Mirror the in-person experience online
Video calls can help bridge the gap between a salesperson and prospective client, but they can also create more distance. If the lighting and sound quality are poor and the rep spends half the call looking down at their notes, this can create a sense of disconnect for prospects that makes them hesitate before moving forward with the sales process—or causes them to opt for a competitor instead. On the flip side, having the camera on is proven to increase the chances of closing a sale, so it’s best not to go audio-only too often.
“There’s a time and place when audio is more appropriate,” Sullivan says. “But there is a different level of engagement [with video] versus just being on audio.”
The goal is to create an experience that’s as close to that of an in-person meeting as possible—minus the hassle and expense of travel and scheduling. That means making eye contact, avoiding talking over one another, and paying close attention to the body language of the other party (rather than looking at yourself). When this is done well, it creates an emotional connection that gives prospects confidence.
“You’re focusing on making them feel good about you,” Blount says. “That doesn’t mean the substance doesn’t have to be there—it does. But the emotional experience matters more.”
2. Embrace an omni-channel approach
While video calls should be a core part of the virtual sales process, not every interaction requires people to get on camera.
Encourage salespeople to adopt a more agile approach, using whichever communication channel they believe is most appropriate. This could range from a quick call to an email or even a text, depending on what stage of the sales funnel the prospect is in and which methods have proven most effective thus far. What you don’t want to do is get comfortable with any one method and stick to it, because this is unlikely to work across the board—every opportunity is different.
“What move, what channel, what communication methodology is going to give me the highest probability in this particular instance of getting the outcome I desire at the lowest possible cost of time and energy?” Blount says. “Start re-mapping your sales process and choosing where you need to be.”
For an omni-channel approach to be successful, salespeople need to be prepared for anything. Advise your team to be camera-ready at all times, just in case that follow-up text leads to a request for a video call.
“You never know which channel you’re going to be on,” Blount says, “and which one of those channels is going to be the one that’s most appropriate for your customer at that particular moment in time.”
3. Use all the technology at your disposal
Beyond video conferencing tools, there are a number of technologies that can enhance the virtual sales experience, from eSignature tools to instant messaging.
Blount recommends looking at the touchpoints in your sales process where prospects are most likely to experience friction and finding technology solutions to streamline them. For example, one of his clients recently found that getting prospects to agree to a virtual demo resulted in a close rate of 90%. The company has previously only conducted demos in person, but moving them online was as simple as attaching a stabilizer to an iPhone. Another client adopted DocuSign solutions to eliminate the difficulties prospects faced in gathering signatures.
“They recognized from a customer experience [standpoint], getting all the documents signed was the hardest thing for these customers who are mobile,” Blount says. “They figured out that if they could get DocuSign to them and make it easy for them on their phone, they could get the sales process moving faster which put more money in the bank.”
The more agile and comfortable your team gets using all the technology available to you, the more seamless the experience will be for your prospects. Sheppard has even found that clients look to the DocuSign team for guidance about how to use technology better within their own organizations.
“They’re saying, ‘Hey, you guys are really virtual—help us understand how you have adapted to that,’” she says. “Or, ‘What are some best practices you can share with our team?’”
Provide an experience that sells
The emotional experience you provide prospects throughout the sales process matters just as much—if not more—than the product or service itself. By taking these steps, you can help your team foster stronger personal connections and minimize friction—making it easier for prospects to say “yes.”
For more tips that can help you optimize the virtual sales process and use technology to your advantage, watch the full on-demand webinar today.