Virtual Sales: How To Improve Sales Performance in a Virtual World
Meet the needs of today’s digital buyer and keep revenue rolling in, even when your prospects are more elusive than ever.
As we navigate our businesses during uncertain times — especially since the onset of COVID — one thing’s clear: The demand for a virtual sales process is here to stay.
Buyers have evolved to prefer online, hands-off sales experiences, and if you’re a business owner or sales manager who’s wondering where all your leads have gone and how you can help your sales team improve its performance, you’re not alone. Even the majority of B2B prospects prefer remote sales interactions over traditional face-to-face ones (by nearly 75%, according to 2020 research by McKinsey & Company).
What might feel like an impediment to our current sales models can also be an opportunity to get a leg up on our competition; it’s not too late to regain control over your sales strategy — virtually.
Whether you’re looking to improve your current virtual selling game plan or build your business’s online selling strategy from scratch, these tips will have you selling remotely in no time.
Here we share with you ideas to improve sales performance in the way we teach our clients. These methods have helped them grow their revenue by millions and develop their business’s sales strategies, despite buyers being even harder to reach.
These tips include:
- The biggest secret to getting today’s virtual-first prospects buying from you.
- How to use video in your sales process to improve sales performance.
- How a better approach to virtual selling can help your sales team drive sales performance.
- How to lean into self-service tools on your website to boost sales performance all hours of the day.
Are you suffering from poor sales performance? Do you need to improve your sales process from beginning to end?Are you ready to gain a deeper understanding of what you need to do to get more sales rolling in and grow your business virtually?
Here’s what to know.
The biggest secret to getting today’s virtual-first prospects buying from you
Our prospects’ buyer journey has changed a lot over the years. Because they search for and buy products and services largely online, they now have their minds mostly made up about their purchases before they talk to someone on your sales team.
Despite this change, there is one fundamental way your buyers are still the same.
They only buy from companies they trust.
This means that your sales reps not only need to be really good at building trust in your brand and company, but they will see even greater sales success if they’re able to establish this trust before they connect with your prospects. It’s all about creating an exceptional customer experience.
Video is one of the best ways for your sales team to nail this.
How to use video in your sales process to improve sales performance
Now that you know how trust can improve your sales performance in a virtual marketplace, let’s look at one of the biggest ways your sales reps can establish that trust — video.
While you might be thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t video a marketing thing?” hear us out.
As described in The Visual Sale by IMPACT Principal Marcus Sheridan and Vidyard’s Chief Video Strategist Tyler Lessard, using video in your sales process is particularly effective at helping your sales team lead with trust by accomplishing the Four Es.
Video can help your sales reps:
- Educate your prospects, making it easier to process information and remember what they’ve learned.
- Engage people and hold your prospects’ attention.
- Convey emotion, helping prospects feel more connected to your brand.
- Demonstrate empathy when they relate to prospects and connect to them on a human level.
This is where The Selling 7 comes into play.
These seven highly effective sales enablement videos build trust with your prospects and skyrocket your sales, making it easier than ever to improve sales team performance while significantly shortening the sales cycle.
- The 80% video. If you ask your sales team what percentage of sales questions they answer on a typical sales call are the same from prospect to prospect, they’ll likely tell you they get asked the same questions about 80% of the time. But imagine if your sales team used a video to answer all these questions in advance? The result is a shorter time your sales team needs to spend explaining these questions on a call, so that instead they can focus on your prospects’ unique challenges.
- Bio videos for email signatures. When bio videos are created and used in the right way, they are powerful tools for humanizing your business. The reason? They allow prospects to “meet” and see your sales reps or any other customer-facing employees before they interact with your business’s employees. Bio videos should explain what the person does for the company and what they love about their job, but also share a little personal information, too.
- Product and service fit videos. These videos should not only explain what your products and services do, but who your products and services are not a good fit for. Any business can say its offerings are the best for everyone (and most do). But the moment we explain to prospects why you’re not a good fit, as honestly and thoroughly as possible, you eliminate prospects you would otherwise be wasting your time with. Not only does it save your sales team from chasing bad-fit leads, but it makes your company look even more attractive and trustworthy to your right-fit customers. By acting as both a sales tool and lead filter, these can greatly increase sales productivity.
- Landing Page videos. On your website, you can think of your landing pages as any page that offers a form to prospects to fill out. It might be to “sign up for our newsletter,” “download our free guide,” or even “buy now.” When consumers land on these pages, most are wary of providing their personal information because they’re afraid their personal information might be abused. Landing page videos answer the question “What will happen if I fill out this form?” Not only do these videos increase trust in your company, but having them improves form submission by an average of 80%, making them perfect for opening the sales pipeline.
- Cost and pricing videos. If you want to create videos that build trust and help prospects become customers in a way that few of your competitors are, create videos that address the cost of your products and services. Even if your costs depend on several factors, talk about those factors and how they drive your costs up and down. Talk about the marketplace and how your products and services compare to your competitors’ costs and why. These videos can help a sales rep get past what is often the most difficult part of the conversation.
- Customer journey videos. While most businesses know to provide some sort of social proof on their websites, such as client testimonials or case studies, few companies use what we call customer journeys. These are three-stage videos that use the traditional hero’s journey — a storytelling strategy often used in film and literature — to guide people along in a way that makes the most sense. In them, your existing customers share what got them to work with you, how that experience was, and where they are today.
- “Claims we make” videos. Last but not least, your company should create a “claims we make” video that provides your prospects with proof that you are what you say you are. Anyone can make big claims about their businesses, but the most successful are the ones that can prove it.
Learn more about The Selling 7 and how to create them by taking our Pro course, Crafting “The Selling 7” videos that convert, and see lots of examples in our recent article, The Selling 7: Sales and marketing videos guaranteed to get results.
And if you’re still unsure how to create these videos in a way that helps your sales reps, schedule time with one of our advisors at IMPACT who can walk you through the process and answer all your questions.
How a better approach to virtual selling can help your sales team drive sales performance
Now that our sales interactions are largely online, it’s more important than ever to be sure your sales team knows how to master some virtual selling best practices.
Even though these tips (also from The Visual Sale) might seem simple, they are often neglected despite making a world of difference to your sales team’s ability to close deals:
- Don’t assume your prospects understand how to use video-conferencing technology. Send a quick explainer video detailing what they can expect when meeting with you and how to work the technology. It will save your sales team a ton of time getting those unfamiliar set up.
- Require all cameras to be on — no exceptions. This helps keep your prospects engaged and increases closing rates.
- Reduce the amount of text used in presentation slides. If you have a lot of reading material for your prospects, send it ahead of time. But keep the text on your virtual sales appointment to a minimum to reduce distractions.
- Turn on and off sharing mode when using slide decks to keep the interaction with your prospects face-to-face.
- Write down names of who you're meeting with in advance of the call. Especially when meeting in groups, it’s important to keep track of who’s who.
- Call on the attendees by name. Not only is writing down the names of the call attendees important to keep people straight, but by calling on people by name, you keep everyone engaged and paying attention.
- Smile — a lot. When your sales team members smile more on camera, it makes them more approachable and trustworthy.
- Face a light source so prospects can see you clearly.
- Sit up straight or stand. This helps keep you sharp and focused and helps your message come across more clearly.
- Be definitive in your purpose and be clear about what you’re covering and how.
- Always remain in control of the sales call. This means you keep an authoritative stance over the call and lead the way.
Managers interested in improving sales performance should share both their sales reps’ successes and failures. We recommend recording sales calls so you can continue training your sales team and help everyone learn from each other. By watching sales leaders talk to prospective customers, a sales rep can grow and continue to succeed while being mindful of whether or not their own approach is working.
It’s also important to train your sales team on how to adopt and use a powerful CRM to properly keep track of and report on their sales. We are big fans of HubSpot since it’s a powerful tool — especially for sales.
Sales managers can find more tips for getting your sales team on board in our How to Get Sales Reps to Use the HubSpot CRM article or schedule time with one of our advisors to learn even more about how these platforms can help your team increase sales performance.
Lean into self-service tools on your website to improve sales performance all hours of the day
Not only do your buyers want to research their options and make purchasing decisions on their own, but they also want to do so quickly and in a way that’s personalized and friction-free. As a result, they’re more open to using bots and artificial intelligence to answer their questions and direct them along the buyer’s journey.
As long as their problems are addressed quickly and accurately.
The answer? Self-service tools, which are tools or interfaces on a website that allow users to find answers to their questions and configure their own buying experience.
If offering control of the sales process to your buyers sounds like a really frightening idea, you’re certainly not alone. We get questions all the time about whether our B2B or B2C clients should implement these tools, and our answer is always yes because using them on your website can be a game-changer for your bottom line and ROI.
If you think about it, you’ll be providing your prospective customers with a simple way to buy from you that most of them want, yet few of your competitors are willing to provide. This means there is an opportunity before you to pull ahead of your competition and meet the needs of your customers better than anyone else in your industry by helping your prospects take the wheel.
Self-service tools that B2B and B2C companies often use include:
- Product or service selectors
- Custom product or service builders
- Pricing calculators
- Chatbots or other conversational marketing tools
- Automated scheduling technologies
There is a range of ways these tools work, depending on which one you’d like to provide and how. For example, if you’re adding a pricing calculator or chatbot to your website, it might be as simple as adding a plugin. If you’re looking for something more comprehensive, you might need to have someone configure the tool for you. This will all depend on what your buyers need and how you decide to give it to them.
To learn more about how to implement these tools in your sales process, watch our free course, Self-selection and the Touchless Buying Experience. Our advisors can also lead you in the right direction, so reach out to them as well, and set up a time to chat.
Build a fool-proof virtual sales strategy for your business
Improving sales performance can seem daunting, but it is achievable if you take the right approach.
The information and examples we share with you here come from the award-winning inbound marketing framework we teach our clients called They Ask, You Answer, and from The Visual Sale, the groundbreaking book about using video in the sales process.
Here at IMPACT, we strive to help businesses like yours build the best inbound marketing strategies on the planet, and a large portion of our clients’ success comes from the They Ask, You Answer approach to virtual selling.
Hundreds of our IMPACT clients have used these steps to help their sales teams realize incredible results.
To implement They Ask, You Answer in your business, here are a few helpful resources:
Our strategic sales coaching and hands-on training for your marketing and sales teams will help you improve your video strategy and scale your business. Set up a time to talk to one of our advisors, and we’ll show you how to alleviate your virtual selling challenges so you can finally do what you set out to: Help your business grow even when your prospects are behind their screens.
Wondering where to begin?