Innovations for a Fully Remote Sales Process
Sellers know it is informal communication that can be the difference between winning or losing a deal. When forced to remove traditional in-person meetings within the sales process, how can sellers create and maintain meaningful customer relationships naturally fostered by these in-person interactions?
A recent virtual panel event, featuring Erica Schultz, President of Field Operations at Confluence, Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth Evangelist at Salesforce, and Loren Alhadeff, Chief Revenue Officer at DocuSign, offered an intriguing glimpse into the difficulties and potential for innovation in a fully remote sales process. All of the panelists agreed that deepening customer relationship is one of the main struggles that sellers are facing in today’s remote environment. After all, it’s the informal conversations had during a walk to the conference room, grabbing drinks after a long day of pitching, and showing clients a headquarters full of competent workers and a strong culture, that can really seal the deal. After a year of limited in-person client access, the panelists came up with three innovative ideas for sellers to reduce or remove the digital divide between themselves and clients to more successfully close deals.
- Develop a Champion - Okay, so this one is a no-brainer for experienced sellers, but the real reminder here is that refining a customer champion is more important than ever. There may be twenty or more members of the customer’s team dialed into a pitch call, most likely with their cameras off and disengaged. Locate your product’s champion early and foster that relationship with direct and frequent communication. As a sales operations leader or sales manager, make sure that your reps know how to identify a customer champion, even when body language may be unreadable.
- Seller Buy-In of Product Value – Some clients require serious wining and dining to be sold on your offering. With restaurants closed and travel restricted, that isn’t quite so easy to accommodate these days. Because of this, the true value of your product or service must become the focal point of your sales process. To enable this value to shine, sellers must fully understand and believe in the offering. Ensure that your sellers have complete buy-in to the benefits of your services, and they can sell that much easier.
- Enable Sellers to Use Data – As a veteran Gartner thought leader, Bova noted that 66% of a seller’s time is spent on non-selling activities. This, of course, is not by choice or design. A seller wants to be selling, but inefficient sales processes and a simple lack of knowledge cause massive amounts of wasted time. By investing in technologies that enable your sellers to streamline their selling activities, you can increase time spent on worthwhile tasks, which leads to more deals closed. A byproduct of implementing SPM technologies is that a seller has access to real data about their leads, increasing the utility they can provide to both current and future customers.
In summation, educate your sellers on the importance of a customer champion, show them the true value of what they are selling, and provide them with an opportunity to get their hands on actionable data. It is these three things that leaders in the SPM space believe can elevate the way in which they must conduct their business. Do not passively accept the challenges brought from this unprecedented year - rather, face them with a willingness to evolve.
Hannah Sackett is a senior consultant with the Sales Performance Management team and a Sales Software Architect.