Getting virtual sales right matters if you are looking at improving coverage and effectiveness of your sales go to market while ensuring speed and experiences for your customers.

Making Virtual Sales Work

Virtual sales models are far more than just a trend, and certainly more than field sales reps working remotely. Gain new insights into what’s needed to build a highly effective virtual sales motion.

In my previous posts, I discussed the evolution of selling and the rise of virtual sales and in this issue I will focus on what it takes to make a virtual sales model work.

What is Virtual Selling?

Virtual selling is the combination of technologies and processes by which virtual sellers engage with potential buyers using both synchronous and asynchronous communications. A properly designed, equipped and enabled virtual sales team will improve the coverage and effectiveness of your sales Go-to-Market (GTM) while giving buyers the experiences and speed of response that they demand.

Equip the team with the right virtual sales technology

Firstly, investments are needed in technology solutions that enable sellers to (1) engage and collaborate virtually, (2) do it at scale and (3) adopt a data-driven selling approach.

Today’s self-sufficient buyers expect immediate access to information and want sales interactions on their own terms, whether it’s research on the web or a demonstration through screen sharing and/or video. Sellers need capabilities for managing sustained sales engagements with multiple stakeholders virtually. To achieve this, organizations need technology solutions that:

  • Allow customers to engage when and how they want while ensuring a seamless brand experience with content optimized for each channel such as Web, Chat, Social, Email, Phone, Online Meetings, and Live Video.
  • Allow sellers to move customers along the purchasing journey and make buying decisions using video and virtual experiences that substitute for face to face like Online Screen sharing or Virtual Demos.
  • Allow real-time orchestration of company resources to identify, match and schedule the right people at the right time including Digital Team Collaboration Spaces, Digital Sales Rooms, and Experts on Demand.

In addition to these capabilities of real-time virtual engagement, sellers also need tools that allow asynchronous engagements to efficiently distribute information at scale to buyers outside of real-time meetings. Technology solutions that:

  • Create scale of reach by enabling campaigns to engage on a personal level with hundreds of prospects, operating autonomously 24 hours a day, and creating triggers for the sellers to step in at the right time.
  • Enable videos to be easily embedded in communications to personalize and drive up impact.

A virtual sales motion needs to leverage data insights to allow the virtual sellers to optimize their time and maximize effectiveness. Well before Covid-19, the ‘spray and pray’ tactics were already largely ineffective. Organizations serious about building a virtual sales motion are investing in powerful data analytics and digital selling tools that:

  • Empower sellers to connect with more customers, understand where decision makers are in their buying journey in order to have smarter conversations based on real-time contextual propensity data, and recommending the right content, plays and actions with the best chance of success.

Enable the team around the Sales Process

Secondly, for a virtual sales motion to have high impact, it needs to operate around a clearly defined Sales Process with clear roles, responsibilities and enablement for all members of the interdisciplinary team.

The old profile of a winning field salesperson as the hero individualist is NOT realistic in a virtual motion where sellers have evolved to become co-equal members of a larger value-adding and cross-functional team of specialists. Virtual selling requires fast transparent horizontal information flows between team members about customer activities and engagements in order to support quick actions, as well as having the right resources brought into play at the right time seamlessly and virtually. To achieve a faster response to customer needs with higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness since differing tasks in the sales process are performed by specialists such as online demos.

The future of virtual selling

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the fast-forward button on virtual sales adoption and forcing businesses across the world to double down on digital sales tools and conduct sales remotely everywhere. This sudden shift of the balance between field and virtual sales is unlikely to return to where it was before. In my upcoming posts, I will discuss viewpoints on how virtual sales may evolve in the future and how organizations should embrace this sales motion.

You can browse my previous post relating to the evolution of selling and the rise of virtual sales or check out our most recent posts on Cisco Viewpoints.

Connect with me and my team on LinkedIn:

Neil Archer
Angela Coronica
Paul Wittich
Samuel Poh