Recovering from a pandemic and its fallout seems like a never-ending cycle for businesses and communities alike.
Our new normal demands a shift in the way we engage with and sell to customers. The benefit of face-to-face meetings, business lunches, and networking events came to a sudden halt, causing those one-on-one connections to become sparse. But like everything else in the wake of COVID-19, the show must go on. This means that closing sales will now require a blended approach of virtual selling and limited face-to-face interaction.
B2B sales professionals have seen new variations in customer reactions and expectations. According to a 2020 study conducted by McKinsey & Company, more businesses are adjusting three chief elements of their cycles: Spend, Digital, Remote.
The size and industry of a business largely dictates the higher or lower adjustments in spending. At the height of the pandemic, most large corporations have maintained or increased their spending, while smaller businesses and enterprises centered around travel and face-to-face consumption have lowered their spending.
We’re seeing the number of companies reporting virtual interactions are equal to, if not more important than in-person discussions. Developing your digital roadmap for customer consumption can yield higher conversions. Having modules for self-service, strong social media interaction, and finding/building online communities are excellent steps to creating that roadmap. Ensuring your business has fresh website content that is SEO-friendly is still crucial to maintaining your digital roadmap.
With these changes in standards, sales professionals are adapting to the way we run our sales cycle, specifically our remote selling skills. How we prepare, engage, and follow up with customers must accommodate virtual settings, no question about it. Virtual sales require a significant alteration to traditional selling skills and must create an engaging and connected buyer experience while leaving a lasting impression.
We can look at this transition as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Businesses can now attract and engage prospects in new ways. The increase in website traffic and buyer-initiated conversations shows that customers are still looking to interact and ultimately make a purchase. We can still foster those human relationships and thrive in a virtual environment, though it requires the right balance. Applying the techniques below can help enhance your virtual selling experience and create a positive encounter for you, and more importantly – your customers.
#1 Clearly State Your Purpose
At the beginning of every call, state the purpose of the conversation. Make sure you ask your guests their goals to confirm their interest. Now that workers are switching from one digital meeting to the next, it is helpful to reiterate the topic and get everyone aligned on goals and expectations.
#2 Think Education, Not Promotion
To develop personal connections while having a digital divide, you need intention with every layer of your meeting. You want prospects to feel an online discussion was well worth their time. You will want to think through what value you are adding for them and what you are trying to accomplish while purposefully seeking opportunities for deeper connections.
#3 Focus on Customer Needs
As always, the customer’s needs are to remain the center of every discussion. Your quota cannot be met or exceeded if the customer is not sold on you and your services.
#4 Time Management is Fundamental
Show prospects that you value their time. Prioritizing succinct meetings by cutting discussions short, from 60 minutes to 50 minutes, allows potential clients 10 minutes offree time before other calls they may have. Managing time helps to maintain the balance of working from home and provides downtime between meetings.
#5 Presentation Matters
Stop screen sharing whenever possible so you can monitor facial cues, body language and avoid losing their attention. Limit the number of slides to prioritize conversation. Be creative with your presentations for visual interest and stand out. Find ways to involve your audience with probing questions.
#6 Predetermine Next Steps
Follow up is always a best practice, showing the customer that you care, and they are always top of mind. Setting the next meeting during the initial conversation and providing a follow up email containing presentation decks or answers to outstanding questions sets you up for success while providing everything the customer may need as a reference.
In our ever-changing environment, it’s crucial that we as B2B sales professionals keep with the trends and always remain one step ahead! By applying these best practices in a virtual selling world and keeping customer needs at the forefront of all decisions, we’re able to adapt to a flexible sales cycle that integrates digital consumer touchpoints and can thrive in today’s landscape.