As we learned through our trial-and-error efforts of 2020, virtual selling channels offer growth-oriented companies the potential to transform sales performance and accelerate growth. This year our efforts must focus on honing the design of these channels and equipping them in a way that will dramatically improve the coverage, control, and cost effectiveness of our commercial models while offering buyers the speed of response and experiences they demand.
Here are five tips that will help take your virtual selling channel to another level.
1. VIRTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Strategically, sales leaders need to equip their teams with foundational infrastructure – tools that facilitate the fluid communication and collaboration, network access hardware, and sales enablement support they will need to run virtual selling effectively. A strong virtual infrastructure can drastically expand sales coverage beyond the traditional bounds of territory and functional constraints.
One thing worth consideration is that creating a strong prospect connection across virtual sales channels requires additional work and more investment. No matter how many channels you sell on, it’s vital that you create a consistent, unified customer experience across each of them.
2. FLUID COMMUNICATION
To maximize virtual selling channel efficacy, it’s essential to implement processes that inform the entire selling team with fast and transparent information about all client activity and engagement. This fluid communication model puts managers in a position to make informed decisions and support quick actions by remote sales employees – without losing visibility on what’s going on.
Planning and standardization of communication triggers is the underlying key to success here. What customer action should trigger a message to sales managers? What method of communication works best for what situation? All these elements should be established and known across the team from the onset of the sales process.
3. INCREASE YOUR ALIGNMENT WITH MARKETING
It’s never been more important to align marketing and sales functions. B2B buyers are doing more research and expect more relevance and personalization from their interactions with vendors – whether that’s with marketing or sales. Nearly all of them make purchasing decisions based on changing business needs and priorities.
In this 2021 buying environment, marketers must revisit segmentation, ideal customer personas, and journey mapping to better support sales teams in the effort toward increased personalization. This needs to be an ongoing process, as we can undoubtedly expect the environment and expectations to continue to change.
4. SALES AUTOMATION
The value of integrating sales automation into virtual channels is at an all-time high. These tools allow sales teams to automate planning, content selection, and reporting tasks to free up time to focus on maximizing engagement with customers and prospects. With the right sales technology stack, sales effectiveness and productivity can be increased two-fold or even more by providing sales teams with the right tools, information, and content at the right time.
5. ENGAGEMENT METRICS
Measuring seller activity and engagement is the ideal alternative for sales leaders who cannot meet with reps face to face. Where outcomes can be challenging to manage, the right sales technology stack makes it possible to manage behavior and activity.
In today’s environment, remote sales leaders are best served developing a quality scoring system that measures customer engagement with each individual rep. One place to start would be to determine what the ideal situation looks like in terms of customer advocacy, quality of interaction, content sharing, and other relationship health metrics. Publishing this for the team and all stakeholders will help them understand what the team’s sales leaders are looking for and will allow the use of analytics to build composite metrics that quantify and track customer engagement quality on a customer and account level.