How to Sell to Prospects Who Aren’t Used to Remote Work

The business-to-business sales landscape is evolving dramatically in response to COVID-19. Every company, seller and buyer is changing processes to stay productive while keeping up with new regulations and remote work. Modern sellers might already have experience selling from a home office or remotely, but to be successful, they also need buyers who are comfortable making purchases in their current work environment.

The new sales process can only work if the person (or team) making the purchase feels comfortable. In a disrupted, unconventional business environment, those buyers might be tentative to agree to a deal without traditional conventions like on-site meetings, in-person demos or closing handshakes. Virtual equivalents to these things have emerged, but not every prospect will immediately adjust to those new ways of closing a deal. A good seller will be sensitive to that and adjust the selling process to make the prospect feel as comfortable as possible.

It might be frustrating to work B2B sales opportunities during shelter-in-place orders, but it’s not impossible. In fact, it’s a chance to stand out from the competition by meeting the new needs of buyers. Here are a few tips to succeed with prospects who aren’t initially comfortable with the nontraditional selling experience.

Be easy to work with

A lot of the discomfort or resistance to new selling workflows has nothing to do with effectiveness. It all comes down to prospects only being comfortable with buying processes that they have already used. They know the old way works. A good way to break down resistance to remote-friendly workplaces is to use virtual communication tools to build personal relationships and get those prospects familiar with that technology. The easiest way to put prospects at ease might be to put the sales pitch on hold while you focus on getting them comfortable with new workflow tools. If you can build a personal relationship using virtual tools, the barriers to a professional relationship will also be broken down.

The evolution to digital technology comes with new questions about usability and security. The best sales reps will research these subjects before prospects ask about them. In addition to selling a prospect on your company’s product or service, you might also need to sell them on a new buying workflow. Be prepared with information that can make those conversations as easy as possible.

Internally, every person involved in the sale needs to be up to speed on the technology. If the prospect interacts with a sales rep, then receives conflicting information from marketing, legal, IT or finance, it will seriously damage their buying experience. Aligning every team with integrated systems is crucial for any organization that expects to sell successfully with a remote workforce.

Customers need a trusted advisor more than a salesperson

Throughout the modern at-home sales process, it’s more important than ever to be sensitive to the unique needs of prospects. To sell successfully, reps need to focus less on the traditional selling points of their product and establish themselves as trusted advisors for the prospect. While it’s important to be easy to work with, it’s also crucial to understand that a prospect might have new obstacles in their path to a purchase.

Even if the prospect is convinced that they’ve found the right products or services to purchase, a disrupted workflow might introduce new complications that result in closing delays or lost opportunities. The prospect is facing uncharted territory the same way you are and sometimes it’s beneficial to remember that other factors can force their hand.

While the short term has a lot of unknowns, great B2B sellers can use the uncertainty to establish strong, understanding relationships with prospects that will result in long-term success. By taking on the trusted advisor role, a sales rep will establish him- or herself as the first person contacted by a prospect when their workflow returns to normal. It’s important to remember that obstacles preventing a prospect from closing a deal with you now are also preventing them from closing a deal with one of your competitors. When those obstacles are gone and that customer starts their purchasing process, you want to be at the top of the list.

Don’t forget about one-on-one selling time 

While the in-person sales meetings of the past aren’t currently happening, there’s no reason to abandon the personal connection of a face-to-face meeting. While business might happen via video conference now, there’s value in isolating the good parts of the traditional in-person sales meetings and reproducing them with an evolved remote selling workflow.

In DocuSign’s recent B2B Sales in 2020: Strategies for Success, we found that the most important priority for modern sales leaders is freeing up time for personalized selling opportunities. This is still possible for remote sales teams and their targets. While our research was conducted before the shelter-in-place orders, the primary takeaway is that sellers succeed when they are free to spend time with prospects and personally nurture them through a sale.

As the world gets used to virtual meetings, business buyers will warm up to new purchasing processes. If your team gives those targets a simple way to conduct business and spends personal time empathizing and advising a prospect about their specific scenario, you’ll be in position to capitalize on that lead.

To get more insight into the data behind today’s best B2B sales teams and learn how the most cutting-edge technology empowers sellers, download our B2B Sales in 2020: Strategies for Success whitepaper.

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