When it comes to virtual selling, every sales rep will need to lean on both tried and tested best practices, and shape their new virtual selling practices in accordance with 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, unprecedented 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 branching 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 conduct business.
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 on the face of it. 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 successfully 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. Nowadays, it is not uncommon that many meetings will take place over virtual channels and video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams.
Video is a particularly important medium as it helps create a genuine, personable connection with the buyer and can help provide all of the context the seller would normally receive in person, such as body language, demeanor and overall interest in the product or service.
When setting up these meetings, confirm with your prospective customer that they are comfortable with using a video tool, 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, showing a genuine interest, and following up on any insights gleaned from conversations.
- Create an experience they enjoy – Remote selling isn’t just about emails and meetings. Sales organizations will need to team up with marketing partners and create on-demand digital experiences that buyers can visit and consume in their own time.
The 6 Best Practices for Running a Virtual Meeting
1. Use Video to Connect, Build Relationships
Remote and virtual selling, given its inherent nature, 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, it is essential that members of the sales team should use video conferencing tools to create a personal connection with the prospective customer and to ensure the best virtual selling practices. 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 for selling virtually to keep in mind when using video in remote scenarios. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective examples below.
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 such as Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts. Live and personalized demos, by contrast, are better served by tools such as webinars.
Think about the goals you wish to accomplish and tailor your video usage accordingly. For example, if a rep is still in the discovery phase, then a casual video conversation can help illuminate any specific needs and alleviate any pressure.
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 actively moderate the pace of the presentation, or when some attendees are unable to attend a meeting and need to consume content on-demand.
3. Know your tools
There are a wide range of video conferencing tools currently available on the market, and most of them share the same basic feature a virtual sales team will need to implement the best virtual selling practices. These features include screen sharing, live chat and window selection to name just three.
The virtual sales team should select a single tool that suits its needs and stick to it. This can help organizations deliver a consistent experience on each call and reduce technology convolution throughout the organization, providing for a streamlined virtual selling procedure.
Regardless of the tool you choose, create the best practices or “how-to” guide to ensure the virtual sales team knows just exactly 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, which is crucial for efficient 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, keep consistent records of them 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 and more efficient, 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 representatives to invest in quality headsets to ensure maximum clarity and a more professional video conferencing experience.
6. Set up a room for video
More often than not, virtual selling means remote selling. As we’ve discussed before, sales should take the time to prepare their workspace for being on video. That means ensuring a clean background without clutter, making use of good lighting, quality audio and video, appropriate camera angles, and finding a quiet area where potential interruptions can be minimized or, ideally, completely eliminated.