Working from home isn’t actually a new trend. But now that countless sales professionals are forced to make the transition for the first time, many face an entirely new set of challenges.
“There probably isn’t a more directly impacted area than the field sales rep. Every sales rep is now a ‘virtual seller’ (much like the inside sales rep), and all have concerns about how their sales quotas will be impacted.” —Katie Fabiszak of SiriusDecisions/Forrester.
Saleshacker’s already put together an extensive list of tips to get your remote workspace — and your mindset — in order. Now, let’s try tackling remote sales, and some of the challenges you face as a sales professional aiming to continue hitting your quarterly goals.
Key Challenges in Remote Sales:
- Connecting with prospects and coworkers
- Delivering a great online demo
- Communicating like a champ
- Capitalizing on content
- Tracking everything you can
- Staying positive and focused
Connect With Prospects and Coworkers
One of the hardest things to do when working remotely is connecting with your prospects and coworkers on a personal level. Luckily technology makes it much easier.
Let’s look at how you can connect with your prospects to make the sale, even when you’re remote.
Make eye contact
Turn your webcam on, make eye contact, and smile. Be as personable as possible. Depending on the situation, it may be best to even be informal.
According to Gong, “Two senses are more powerful than one.” Closed deals involved the use of webcams 41% more often than lost deals.
Be sure everyone on the call (on both ends) is introduced. Call on people individually, but be aware you may need to control the meeting with the use of your mute button.
You want engagement, not noise.
Select the most appropriate platform
Zoom and various other web conferencing platforms have gained even more momentum as business communications are taking place remotely. However, consider the kind of interaction that will best serve your purpose.
If you sell complex enterprise software, a show-and-tell format may not be useful or persuasive enough to demonstrate your solution. Consider supplementing your demos or PoCs (proof of concept) with a virtual lab solution. These can be purpose-built to enable sales engineers to quickly spin-up customized, real-world environments necessary to close deals.
Know your presentation platforms
Whether you’ll prefer one presentation platform or use several, whether you do a simple demo or a complex one, you need to master the technology you’re going to use in advance.
Set up the platforms you’ll rely on and practice. Run through everything you plan to do to make sure it works. Stumbling through your sales presentation with technical distractions is a sure way to sabotage your efforts.
Deliver a Great Online Demo
Obviously, you won’t be in the same room with your prospect, projecting your desktop, or conducting an in-person lab. You’ll need to keep in mind that they could easily begin multi-tasking at any time.
Your challenge is to deliver a great demo virtually and keep them engaged.
Follow these 3 tactics to deliver an amazing virtual demo.
Begin with your best
The opening minutes of your demo are the most important. You’ll either captivate your prospect or signal to them that they can do something on their phone while you talk.
As such, it is vital to command your prospect’s attention and deliver your strongest benefits immediately.
Employ an “inverted pyramid” approach by featuring the most important messages and most meaningful exercises first.
Make it short
Plan to deliver your demo in 15 to 30 minutes, broken up into short, urgent chapters. Sure, you can go longer, but only do that if your prospect wants you to.
Get feedback and answer questions
Listen closely to any responses you get. Obviously, it’s a bad sign if you’re not getting any, so aim to create a dialogue.
Save ample time to answer questions after you conclude the essential elements of your demo.
Communicate Like a Champ
Selling software is a highly collaborative process. Everyone on both ends needs to be informed at all points.
Be sure everyone on your team understands everything they need in advance to deliver the necessary information and achieve your goals.
In some cases, it’s not a bad idea to also send a list of topics / goals to your prospects, so they know what to expect.
Follow up with your team. Follow up with your prospective clients. Everyone involved, including sales engineers, product managers, and subject matter specialists, should have a strong grasp of the deal in the works, the objections you may need to overcome, and whatever content may help accelerate the sale (use cases, customer success stories, etc.).
Anyone who missed an important meeting, call, or demo should be sent notes and/or recordings.
Capitalize on Content
Chances are, in the name of sales enablement, your company’s marketing professionals commit time and resources to supply you with various forms of content for you to:
- Position your company and product in the most effective way
- Educate prospects at various stages of the buying cycle
- Continuously develop your skills
Find out what content you have at your disposal and make sure you’re putting it to good use.
You’ll also want to explore any and all programs offered to help you develop your social selling skills. Your prospects are spending more and more time doing online research and connecting with their peers via social media. You need to be ready to meet them there.
The age of rubbing elbows has come and gone. The time has come to make connections, nurture relationships, and win trust with your audience via LinkedIn and other social media.
Track Everything You Can
Obviously, reading prospects’ body language is a challenge for remote software sales. On the other hand, various types of tracking technology can help you get a digital read on your prospects.
Use basic analytics
Put a tech stack in place to determine basic engagement measures, such as:
- Email opens, clicks, etc.
- Website visits and behavior
- Document reviews
- Other interactions
This information can give you vital information on how ready the prospect is to buy.
Tap advanced analytics
Selling complex software to enterprise clients calls for employing more advanced tools.
You want to know if a prospect has been trying your product and how they engage with its features. Look for a platform that allows you to create dashboards to monitor PoC progress and identify high and low points of engagement.
This will give you the edge even when working remotely.
Stay Positive and Stay Focused
Working remotely doesn’t have to kill your quota. With a few simple mindset and workflow shifts, you can be just as effective and persuasive selling virtually.
So, dive into the technology you have available, connect with your prospects on social media, and start selling!