Overcome the Challenges of Virtual Selling to Keep Deals Moving Forward
In the initial months following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales deals dramatically slowed down for many businesses. Several months later, many organizations are settled into the routine of remote work and sales conversations are happening again. But many sellers are finding it harder to keep deals moving in the right direction.
In a recent webinar, we spoke with several leaders in sales to understand the challenges many sellers are still facing and discuss some tips to accelerate the sales cycle even in a virtual environment.
Best practices to secure an initial sales meeting
Not surprisingly, many sales teams are still struggling to book that first call. The pandemic has dramatically changed priorities for organizations when they think about what is important for their business. It is critical to find the executive sponsor for whom your solution is going to solve their most important problem.
Sellers are having success using asynchronous tools like sending personalized videos to book initial meetings. Videos can help cut through the clutter and create a meaningful connection with a prospect. Since many people are working from home or other virtual offices, they are more likely to open things on a smartphone, so be sure to adopt a mobile-first approach when creating any marketing or sales campaigns that leverage video.
Best practices to keep your sales deal moving
Sales reps often default to doing more of the same when things aren't working. More doesn't always drive the outcome you want and can make it harder to stand out. Sometimes you are just going faster in the wrong direction.
While you can haggle with prospects until the deal is made, it's not the best way to build a profitable long-term relationship. Mark Eldridge, director of legal operations at Flowserve recommends aiming to create a strong partnership by providing a service that your competitors don't. The goal is to solve problems that your customers have and either don't know they have or don't know how to solve. It will make you the company your customers remember as one that went above and beyond to demonstrate value instead of just spinning your wheels, email after email.
What is different about selling today?
Despite all the changes virtual selling has brought, many best practices in sales have stayed the same. You still need to double down on discovery. Account executives that over-prepare are better suited to get their prospects’ attention to keep deals moving.
From the buyers' point of view, what has changed for them? Buyers are having a harder time getting budgets approved and getting their own executive sponsorship for projects. Michael Cipolla, VP of enterprise sales at DocuSign advises reps to put yourself on the same side of the table as your buyer and help them overcome their challenges. This is how you can complete more deals.
There is also a big cultural shift in sales away from the traditional tactics like in-person meetings, handshakes and going on-site moving toward virtual engagement. Sales reps’ entire communication style has to adapt to digital tools and new workflows.
Technology can help sales reps keep track of where they are in the process of finalizing a contract. This prevents important details from being left out and lets everyone know who is next to move things forward in the process, which is more difficult than ever with many team members working from home.
Tips for better remote selling
- Get creative booking and hosting remote meetings: Sales teams have to be more creative now to book that first meeting as well as keep deals moving. All sellers should look for ways to get really good at Zoom meetings - better than the competition.
- Take advantage of the benefits of virtual selling: Virtual meetings save time and money from not having to travel. Use this time to prepare, be more creative in structuring deals, and create an accurate and professional contract.
- Consider the customer's new priority stack: Customers’ priorities have changed as they are being forced to adapt to the new environment. Your sales process has to be updated and reframed around the level of disruption each of your prospects is experiencing. Make sure to tailor each deal on a case by case basis keeping in mind what matters most to each customer now.
- Engage legal to find dealbreakers early: Qualify early and often. Iron out potential legal and other compliance issues at every level. Find out if there are any deal breakers, legal push points, or other issues that could halt your deal sooner than later. The hard questions have to be asked eventually.
- Don't be afraid to verbally ballpark pricing early on: That will help qualify the buyer for your company and give the buyer confidence early on that they can afford your solution. That prevents your buyer from getting sticker shock.
- Price live to avoid getting ghosted: Sales Coach Heather Foidart of Replayz recommends never sending a proposal by email. You want to do pricing live, even if over a 15-minute video call. That way you can get immediate feedback to modify your proposal.
- Create a mutual action plan: Reinforce what needs to happen to get your buyer from their current state to the better state they would be in once they have your product or service. This allows you to communicate with the buyer when things have gone off track in the process.
- Be a partner not a seller: Sellers have to become partners in disruption innovation with their buyers. Buyers expect sellers to be thought leaders.
Get more virtual selling tips to book meetings and keep deals moving in the full webinar. Watch now: Overcome the Challenges of Virtual Selling to Keep Deals Moving.