What Is Virtual Sales? 5 Best Practices to Succeed
Virtual sales is selling to a face rather than the whole person.
Often, you sell to a prospect’s headshot in virtual meetings. If a prospect is kind enough to turn on their camera, it’s a jackpot. You get to see their facial expressions and how they react to what you sell.
It helps you build rapport. Even though you can’t predict their body language, you can understand what they feel through their voice’s tone or their eyes.
Some say eyes are a window to the soul. As a virtual sales rep, you should peep through these windows and locate emotions that drive buyers’ purchases. You need a strategy to do it. And this article will provide precisely what’s needed. Let’s build the basics first.
What is virtual sales?
Virtual sales or inside sales is regular selling, except that it happens online. Salespeople and prospects connect through the internet via video calls, chat, or emails in the sales process.
Businesses leverage this in their inbound strategy, especially in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) space.
Virtual sales expedites the sales process by offering flexibility in terms of the actual selling process by not having to actually meet physically in an office setting. There’s no need to move mountains in bringing stakeholders into the same room amid their busy schedules. You can pitch to prospects over a virtual meeting, where they can ask questions and even experience your product. The awareness, interest, desire, action (AIDA) cycle expedites, encouraging potential customers to quickly take the desired actions.
63% of sales leaders believe virtual sales meetings are equally or more effective than traditional, face-to-face meetings. Although it serves businesses to their benefit, virtual sales comes with its challenges. Mike Macioci, LinkedIn’s Top Sales Management Voice, says, “In virtual selling, it can be challenging to interpret nonverbal cues or to convey them effectively. This impacts the ability to establish rapport.”
Establishing rapport is crucial in winning virtual sales. 71% of sales reps believe they could convert a prospect by building personal rapport.
Moreover, there can be various other challenges like distractions, technical problems, and limited chemistry when you adopt virtual selling. However, a winning strategy and exceptional best practices can help address them, setting you up for success.
5 Virtual Selling Best Practices
Virtual selling best practices turn virtual sales challenges into opportunities. Here are the five virtual selling best practices you must follow:
1. Outline Your Virtual Sales Strategy and Process
Spray and pray tactics live a short life. You need a strategy to consistently win in virtual sales. The strategy would inform your move, making sales processes more scalable as you pursue revenue expansion.
Covid-19 amplified the need for virtual sales, making it indispensable for modern sales teams. Below are some crucial aspects of creating a winning virtual sales strategy.
Build Your Team Consciously
A sales leader is as good as their team. When it comes to virtual sales, look for people who take time management and organization seriously. It's hard to focus while working from home. These attributes help to combat any distractions that arise.
Make sure people in your crew are confident on cameras. They need to sell it to the camera first in order to sell your products or services to the target customers. Empower them with the right sales enablement content and train them to create memorable experiences for the buyer.
Unlike conventional methods, the key to success in virtual selling is the ability of inside sales reps to wield groundbreaking technology to identify pipeline leaks, repeat successful sales strategies, and reach 10x more prospects than one could in a physical sales setting, among other benefits. Salespeople need the right tech to be the best at what they do.
Think about what your sales team needs, from prospecting to deal closure. Do more of what closes the deal rather than what gives a pretense of it. Record calls and every message that reaches your prospect. Observe and pinpoint those interactions that move deals toward closure. Make them a part of your sales playbook and ensure every rep replicates what the book says.
Several tools automate processes while delivering a better experience to clients and the sales team. We’ll look at the ideal text stack in the next section. But before going there, knowing what to base your strategy on is crucial.
Provide Accessibility and Ensure Agility
Salespeople engage with relevant content at every touchpoint. You would want to make this content easily accessible. Implement role-based access to filter confidential information and prevent unauthorized access. Sales enablement software can help you set up a repository that’s easily accessible to relevant sales reps.
With this, salespeople know what to show and tell at specific touchpoints. Accessibility provides the right sales enablement content at the right time, revving sales velocity up.
Follow The Communication Symphony
Salespeople operate back and front stage. In asynchronous communication, they hustle in the backside. Conversely, they perform at the front stage while having synchronous communication. To win, ensure every word your team utters is synced. Buyers shouldn’t feel like speaking with different people on calls, e-mails, and chats, even when different teams engage the prospect simultaneously.
You can use sales engagement and collaboration tools like Nextiva to bring all communications together. However, tooling is just one part of the puzzle. The focus should be on synchronizing the brand’s messaging for all prospects throughout their journey with the brand.
Effective communication brings you closer to the buyer and virtually gives them an in-person experience.
Let Metrics Speak
Metrics like sales close rate, deals won, deals lost, sales velocity, and several others tell exclusive stories. You need to join these stories using a system to visualize reality. Don’t look at them in silos. Look at what they collectively mean. Tools such as Copper and HubSpot can help.
For example, you may have fewer “deals won” in the APAC region. However, the sales velocity in this geography is exceptionally high. This doesn’t necessarily mean the sales team isn’t putting in much to attract more customers. Instead, your ideal customer profile (ICP) might need a revamp. This would enable the sales team to go after the right people.
2. Create a Tech-Stack Sales Reps Love
Tech is as essential as your team in virtual sales. You’re connecting with the customer through technology. Building the right tech stack will help your reps elevate customer interactions at every touchpoint. Explore these tools and equip your sales team to sell effectively and efficiently.
Showing is far more effective than telling, especially in virtual software sales. You need to let prospects experience the product/service for them to be excited about it. Demo platforms help you build personalized demos for prospects based on their unique use case, pains, needs, and requirements.
Tools like Storylane takes demos one step further. Its interactive capabilities allow potential buyers to experience a product in real time. You can show the value your product can deliver, and buyers can experience the return on investment (ROI) themselves, making their decisions turn into deals faster.
Related: sevDesk achieved a conversion rate of 28%. Explore what’s in their tech stack.
For async communication via emails, think of using productivity-packed solutions such as Superhuman.
Pro tip: There are several tools available on the market. Make a choice based on how well they fit into your system and integrate with the present tech stack.
Prospecting tools provide insights needed to separate high-quality prospects from the rest. It helps the team prioritize and converge sales motion on accounts likely to convert faster.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Lusha, and Bombora are some famous names in the market when it comes to prospecting. These tools will uncover the prospect’s industry, company size, contact details, and sometimes topics of interest.
Customer Relationship Management Software
Virtual sales is all about delivering the ultimate buying experience. What you show and tell puts weight on their decision. Customer relationship software helps you put these weights throughout their journey, especially when the timing is right.
These software automates a variety of sales activities based on triggers and events. For example, when a buyer looks at the pricing page, it schedules and sends an e-mail with more details on discounts and packages.
It helps you deliver ONE experience, just as the buyers expect, as they deal with ONE company, not BDRs, SDRs, Account managers, and marketers.
You’ll find a sea of CRM software if you go out looking. Every product caters to unique needs.
Pro tip: Look for a CRM platform that’s easy to integrate and implement. Explore how easy it is to customize workflows and create and trigger events. HubSpot and Freshsales are some famous names. LeadSquared and Zoho are more suitable for startups and SMEs. However, choose the tools based on what exactly you want to do with it. Not because XYZ software is popular.
Other Tools to Succeed in Virtual Sales
Communication tools, prospecting software, demo platforms, and CRM systems are must-haves. There are other tools that are good to have. These could be your touch bearers in rising above the competition.
- Sales intelligence tools offer insights and signals to make the sales process more strategically effective. ZoomInfo, Apollo, and Gong are some of the popular names.
- Sales productivity software helps sales reps perform better in their role. For example, Dooly takes notes during calls and helps build playbooks; Lavender helps you write better emails.
- Sales analytics software shows what’s working and what isn’t. Revenue.io and InsightSquared are famous names in this category.
- Scheduling tool offers the flexibility to book meetings per the prospect’s availability. Calendly is a popular choice on the market.
- Contract management software manages a contract’s lifecycle. It helps sales teams focus on renewals and ensure compliance. Many companies go for Gatekeeper as their tool of choice.
3. Build a “Google” for Sales Reps Who Sell Virtually
It won’t need as much investment as you think. You need to create a searchable repository of content that salespeople can use. While selling virtually, a lot depends on what you show. Word-of-mouth often gets missed when it comes as a volcanic eruption in a sales pitch. You need enablement content to capture buyer’s interest and engage their many senses rather than just one–hearing.
This content should be searchable and accessible to reps. It matters a lot where it lives. If it lives on your email chain or specific slack conversions with Marketing, expecting exceptional revenue would be too much to ask for.
This content should be at your sales crew’s fingertips. Most importantly, they should have the proper guidelines on how, when, and where to use it. Highspot’s CEO Robert Wahbe thinks sales plays are a potent way to let these guidelines be at the top of your team’s mind.
Tools like HighSpot and Seismic can help you store and manage content. Cross-functional teams can access it seamlessly as per their access permission. Enable your virtual sales team to put up their best work with the content working at its best.
4. Track The Right Metrics
Only metrics tell the true story. What you can track is more often what you crack. It is, given that you make a conscious effort toward it. Make your key performance indicators (KPIs) a shared truth among your team members. Let them see what’s lifting those bars on your dashboard.
Businesses grow when metrics are on track. However, you must track the right ones to ensure growth is sustainable.
Below are some key metrics software sellers track to ensure sustainable growth.
- Annual or monthly recurring revenue measures the total value of all contracts in a year or month. It helps forecast a company’s growth in the long run.
- Quota attainment assesses the number of deals a salesperson closes compared to the actual quota assigned. It evaluates the impact of coaching and training on sales reps.
- Average revenue per user (ARPU) is the average revenue a subscriber brings in for a company. A higher ARPU means the company doesn’t need to offer discounts to attract customers.
- Win rate measures the total deals won in the total number of deals monitored in a specific timeline. It tells about salespersons’ performance.
- Conversion rate evaluates how many qualified leads turned into closed-won deals.
- Sales cycle length is the average time it takes for a prospect to move from the opportunity stage to the closed-won stage.
- Average deal size estimates the average dollar amount of each closed deal.
- Average profit margin measures the net income coming in per deal.
- Deal slippage counts the number of deals that were committed but failed to close in the forecasted time frame.
- Churn rate measures the accounts that cancel or don’t renew your subscription.
- Pipeline coverage refers to opportunities in the sales pipeline needed to reach sales targets.
Track these metrics on sales analytics software and let data be the judge to state the reality of your virtual sales program.
5. Train Your Virtual Sales Team
Training is crucial as it builds the foundation of a salesperson’s success and is a gateway to more incentives. Let your team listen to as many demos as they can during onboarding. Set up a pitch practice session. If you want to be more creative, arrange a roleplay.
Ayesha Dillon, Vice President of Business Development at Fiat Growth, advises setting up regularly scheduled pitch practice sessions with the sales manager. It helps new hires speed as quickly as possible.
You can ask your sales team to shadow sales leaders in the organization or set up a mentor/mentee system. This helps new salespeople to ramp up quickly, especially when they have a go-to person. Train sales reps consistently.
Pro tip: Arrange micro-training sessions to focus on one or two skills weekly. Be patient with your sales crew and avoid expecting too much too quickly.
Sales is challenging, and training is even more challenging as it’s constantly monitored. Give your team sufficient time to ramp up.
Making the Most of E-Meeting
“It was a pleasure e-meeting you.” We use it often. But interestingly, the pleasure is all ours! Virtual selling doesn’t need us to hop all over the city from meeting to meeting. We can sell from the comfort of our homes or offices. Following the above best practices and aligning with the strategy can let us shine in virtual sales.
Let’s make virtual sales more natural to ourselves. Discover how to increase sales close rate when meeting the prospect through a screen.
Q1. What is an example of a virtual sale?
Selling software virtually across the globe from the comforts of an office setting or home-setting is an example of virtual sales.
Q2. What are the advantages of virtual sales?
Virtual sales save time and costs incurred in traveling for business meetings. It makes the sales process more flexible while supporting scalability.
Q3. How do I create a virtual sales team?
Start with identifying the right people and building a virtual sales strategy. Train them. Get them up to speed and provide the right technology to help them perform better. Set clear expectations for them and monitor their progress while providing continuous feedback. Follow the best practices mentioned in this article to create and manage a high-performing virtual sales team.
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