March 10, 2021
When it comes to virtual selling, every sales rep will need to lean on both tried and true best practices and shape new virtual techniques to accommodate virtual sales calls.
However, the burden of these two facets is not equal. Standards, such as prospecting, building rapport, setting up and managing meetings all exist in a new context: the digital world.
So, what will a virtual sales team need to do? Representatives must take a measured approach to translate traditional activities into this new context and start building out their virtual selling skills.
Even salespeople who are familiar with conducting business over virtual channels will need to accommodate the new environment buyers and buying committees find themselves in — namely, conducting deals and business over a remote meeting.
Sellers themselves will also need to understand how virtual contexts impact the buying journey. For example, sellers and buying committees no longer need to meet face-to-face and can instead use virtual conferencing tools to meet.
Virtual conferencing alone could help accelerate buying journeys as more meetings can be easily scheduled and adjusted to meet the buyer’s needs. The digital actions a buyer takes, like the interactions they make with a website or chatbot, can also influence remote selling.
Quick Tips for Hosting a Virtual Sales Meeting
Fortunately, translating sales activities into a remote selling environment isn’t too complicated at first. A sales professional will still need to build rapport, conduct research, measure successes and more.
What will be difficult, however, is making the initial connection with a buyer and nurturing that relationship over virtual channels.
To start, it’s best to stick to the basics. If an account becomes qualified or wants to meet, conduct research and set up a meeting. A lot of meetings now will take place over virtual channels and video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams.
Video is particularly important as it helps create a genuine connection with the buyer and can help provide context the seller would normally get in person, like body language demeanor and overall interest.
When setting up these meetings, confirm with the customer or prospect that a video tool is okay and schedule the appointment and stick with standards of rapport building. Make sure you:
- Be your authentic self – Putting on a face during a sales meeting doesn’t impress. Be upfront and honest – it helps to build genuine connections with buyers and can improve communication with a remote employee.
- Ask how buyers are doing and feeling – Be empathetic with your account. Ask how they’re doing and how they’re handling a remote setting – this not only builds rapport but can help reveal pain points that would otherwise be missed.
- Actively listen to customers – According to a 2020 report by Rain Group, only 26% of buyers say sellers are competent listeners. Beat expectations by actively listening to customers and following up on any insights gleaned from conversations.
- Create an experience they enjoy – Virtual selling isn’t just about emails and meetings. Sales organizations will need to team up with partners in marketing and create on-demand digital experiences that buyers can visit and consume in their own time.
- Personalize communications – A personalized email to an account contact is more than just mentioning a name. Review account activities on your CRM, review your notes and ensure each outreach takes into account a buyer’s activity and interactions with your brand.
The 6 Best Practices for Running a Virtual Meeting
1. Use Video to Connect, Build Relationships
Virtual selling lacks a lot of the context salespeople rely on to build rapport. Body language, facial expressions and even the overall tone of an office helps build context. For virtual selling, members of the sales team should use video conferencing tools to create a personal connection. Doing so helps to put a name to a face, provide immediate education and insight to prospects and can help ensure everyone is on the same page.
Still, there are some best practices to keep in mind when using video in virtual selling scenarios. Let’s take a look at a few now:
2. Set your goals
Not all virtual meetings are the same. Introductory and 1:1 calls, for example, are best suited to virtual conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts. Live and personalized demos, by contrast, are better served by tools like webinars.
Think about the goals you need to accomplish and suit your video usage accordingly. For example, if a rep is still in the discovery phase, then a casual video conversation can help illuminate needs and take the pressure off.
Conversely, tools like webinars are best suited for situations where there’s either a large group of people who need to attend – like a buying committee – and the presenter needs to control the pace of the presentation or when some attendees cannot attend a meeting and need to consume content on-demand.
3. Know your tools
There are a lot of video conferencing tools out there and most of them share the same basic feature virtual sellers will need. These features include screen sharing, live chat and window selection to name just three.
The sales organization should pick one tool that suits its needs and stick to it. This can help organizations deliver a consistent experience on each call and cut down on technology creep throughout the organization.
Regardless of the tool you choose, create the best practices or “how-to” guide to ensure the sales team knows how to use the tool and make the most out of its features during a call.
4. Ensure a good connection
Virtual selling and remote work has opened a lot of opportunities to drive more efficiency. One constraint, however, is bandwidth – and bandwidth is especially important for video calls. These can range for different solutions – especially if you use a lot of features during a live presentation.
Check your preferred video conferencing tool or tools for bandwidth requirements, write them down and circulate those minimums with your sales and IT teams.
Once shared, develop a plan to improve bandwidth for remote employees – such as compensation for a more expensive, but faster, internet connection.
5. Put an end to “can you hear me?”
An often overlooked, but equally important, aspect of video conferencing is audio quality. Make sure your B2B sales team knows how to troubleshoot any audio issues they may encounter – such as a muted microphone – and encourage reps to invest in quality headsets for maximum clarity.
6. Set up a room for video
Often, virtual selling means selling from home. As we’ve discussed before, sales should take the time to prepare their workspace for being on video. That means ensuring a clean background, making use of good lighting and finding a quiet area where potential interruptions can be minimized.