More salespeople are selling outside of the office than ever before, and that comes with a new challenge for managers—improving virtual sales productivity. Getting sales reps to perform and hit quotas has always been a priority for managers.
But with more reps working remotely, sales managers need to adapt and figure out how to track, measure, and improve how their reps sell.
While some reps can struggle in a remote selling environment, others thrive.
The good news for managers is that the acceleration in remote sales has had a huge impact on the tools available.
Sales tools can now help with personalized prospecting, track KPIs, and even allow sales reps to host virtual demos and close deals without ever meeting a prospect in person.
Picking the right tools and combining them with a winning sales strategy can maximize your sales reps’ productivity.
Selling isn’t like it used to be. Your sales reps are now faced with a fast-paced, high-pressure environment that requires them to search for prospects online, create nurture emails, and communicate with potential customers through a bunch of different channels.
This shift in how we sell impacts sales leaders, too.
When a sales team moves online, team leaders need to figure out how to solve the biggest obstacles to remote selling, like:
Although moving to remote sales can be difficult, sales reps need to adjust because this is what customers want. As Gartner explains, customers are now much more involved in their buying journeys. They do their online research, check out competitors, and have a budget in mind long before seeking a sales rep to talk to.
If prospects are spending more time online, sales reps need to master the art of following up and building an automated pipeline virtually. Take the traditional prospecting framework that sales teams have used for decades:
Industry: Does the potential prospect work in an industry that fits your product?
Pain points: What are their pain points, and can your product solve them?
Company: Do you have other prospects that work in the same company? What is your past sales interaction history with this company?
Persona: What problems are hindering their growth or productivity that your product can help them with? Can you tie a specific KPI (e.g. improved revenue growth) to your product if they were to invest in it?
Once a sales rep has a prospect in their sights, they need to refine their virtual sales tactics to reach out to them, get their attention, and stand out from the sales clutter online. Then start by perfecting the two most common outreach channels.
#1. Call 📞
Cold calling is still an excellent way for reps to form a relationship with a prospect. Researching a prospect's pain points, what company they work for, and their role is vital to making a good first impression.
Before picking up the phone, get to know about their industry, customer base, and product or service. If you can explain how your own product will help their company, it makes the call that much smoother.
Targeted email campaigns are still among the most effective ways of reaching out to prospects. With the right tools, sales reps can create and send out incredibly detailed prospecting emails—for instance, by using automated nurture sequences.
Sharing useful information such as tipsheets, educational resources, and ideas with potential prospects shows them that you understand their industry and the specific challenges that they’re dealing with.
Nearly 65% of a sales rep’s time is spent doing tasks that don't generate revenue, like data entry. But sales reps can automate everything from importing prospects' contact information that matches their target persona to automatically qualifying leads with the right CRM.
For example, sales reps can build custom workflows that activate a series of actions based on AND/OR conditions. If a sales rep wants to follow up with a lead when they reach a certain stage in a deal, the workflow will trigger it to be sent automatically rather than a sales rep spending time writing one manually.
It's also a great way to personalize prospecting campaigns sent to a group of leads. As the CRM can personalize emails and automatically populate names and other email elements using tags, sales reps can send out targeted campaigns to prospects that they would've otherwise spent hours following up with.
Your sales tools should also make it easy to jump on a video call or get a contract signed virtually. Investing in a calling software, electronic signature solution, or a video conferencing tool that seamlessly integrates with your deals and contracts in the CRM means your team can host virtual meetings or live product demos even when they’re not meeting with a prospect in person.
Setting up an in-house sales library that has all the relevant sales plays can be a worthwhile investment, especially when onboarding new sales hires.
An ideal sales playbook should cover all of the core parts of your team’s selling strategy.
Inside the playbook, sales reps should have access to any slide decks or webinars they can use during their initial prospecting phase, as well as fact sheets or product information to help them get a better understanding of the product. Some information that’s worth including:
What an ideal buyer persona looks like
How leads should be qualified (i.e., by industry, company structure, buying process, etc.)
Value proposition and sales methodology that should be used
Example of sales email templates, questions, and scripts
Guidelines and expectations for pricing and proposals
Information about industry sweet spots, use-cases, and winning sales plays
Think of it as a bible for your sales reps—if they need guidance or help with qualifying a prospect, the sales playbook becomes their first port of call.
We already know that prospects are doing more research and moving down their buying journeys faster. Social selling allows reps to meet prospects while they’re on that journey when they start deciding which product is a good fit. Sales reps can use networks like LinkedIn or targeted Facebook groups to warm up leads and show that they’re an expert in their field, ultimately building trust within their online audience. Start by:
Creating lead lists on using LinkedIn Sales Navigator: This tool helps sales reps narrow down ideal client profiles based on geography, industry, function, and company size. Your preferences will show up whenever you visit a prospect’s profile and LinkedIn will automatically show lead recommendations based on the profile criteria you set.
Connect with prospects using InMail: InMail has a three times higher response rate than regular email, so writing short, effective messages over LinkedIn can help get your prospect’s attention. Some InMail integrations, like DuxSoup, will scan your Sales Navigator list and download prospect details, such as their name, title, company, and a link to their profile, so you can craft a more personalized message when it's time to reach out.
Saving prospect and company profiles on your target lists: Using Sales Navigator, you can track prospect updates, wins, and mentions to help you figure out when is the right time to connect.
Social platforms are also the perfect place to communicate your value proposition. It’s the best way to cement yourself as a trusted adviser in the prospect’s industry and that you understand their problems. Jason Lemkin, the Founder of SaaStr, uses a similar approach on his Twitter feed. Instead of focusing on himself, he posts podcasts and blogs that leaders can use to improve their businesses.
Adding visuals or video proposals in outreach emails is a great way to stand out and catch a prospect's attention. It can help boost sales, too—more than 80% say that video has directly benefited revenue. You can use video in prospecting emails to:
Build and foster relationships
Customize outreach and change content to suit a buyer persona
Create a 1-to-1 interaction with a prospect on your first touch
Wistia’s sales reps use this exact approach to reach out to prospects trialing their product but have yet to sign up. Listen to Pete von Burchard, Wistia’s vice-president of sales and customer success, break down how his sales reps use video inside their emails to build trust and relationships with new prospects:
Adding other visuals, like interactive polls or even a synced-in calendar booking with a clear CTA, are also tactics sales reps can use to make their pitches stand out.
Building detailed dashboards allows your reps to track their sales activities in real-time and give them tips on what territories or prospects they should focus on.
An AI tool can take the guesswork out of virtual prospecting and break down how a prospect engages with emails while spotting when their buying behavior changes. It'll then report these insights to the rep, allowing them to strike when the (prospecting) iron is hot.
These datasets can be used in other ways as well. For example, BI combines KPIs from outside datasets, like a rep’s Google Calendar or LinkedIn account to track movements. KPIs like monthly recurring revenue (MRR), customer lifetime value (CLV), and qualified leads are broken down into detailed dashboards to help make smarter decisions about opportunities and win/loss rates.
Just because you are selling virtually doesn’t mean you should be doing it alone.
Instead of being the sole seller on your call, team-selling brings in more experts from your company to inject authority and knowledge in demos and follow-up calls. Here’s what a typical team-selling scenario could look like:
Call #1 with a sales rep: That’s you. The main sales rep who has (until this point) handled the deal and set up the demo call
Call #2 with a presales or solution engineer: If you are selling software or a technical product, the second call could have one of your engineers running through any questions and doing a detailed solution demo
Call #3 with a senior sales leader: During the final stages of the deal, a senior sales leader will handle closing and contract signings. Before that, they’ll provide the prospect with additional support and instill confidence that the deal they’re making is the right one, ensuring they understand that the product is a good fit and it’ll help them solve problems
Call #4 with customer success / onboarding specialists: The ink on the contract is dry, but customer success teams will make sure the newly onboarded customer is comfortable with their new product and answer any teething questions they have about features or services.
Team-based selling allows your company to nurture prospects using different authority figures within your company. It's also a great way to introduce different departments to a potential new customer. It shows them that your entire team is really invested in helping them solve their problem or achieve a goal.
Whether you love it or loathe it—selling to prospects virtually is the new norm for sales reps.
It's not unusual for sales teams to close huge deals and sign contracts without ever meeting their new customer in person. And it's all possible because of newer, trustworthy sales technology that allows reps to connect, nurture, and close deals using tools like video, email, and analytics.
For your sales team to succeed, your reps need to stay focused and productive. Providing them with information like sales playbooks and selling strategies gives them a head start, but succeeding with virtual sales will all come down to your toolkit. Freshsales checks all the boxes when it comes to virtual selling. By utilizing AI software and automated prospecting, Freshsales can help your sales reps stay productive when they work remotely and, most importantly, close more deals.
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