In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way businesses purchase from and sell to one another has changed dramatically—possibly forever. B2B businesses will need to continue adjusting to the new economic realities in order to survive in the future normal.
The pandemic of COVID-19 compelled B2B buyers and sellers to embrace the digital way on a big scale. What began as a crisis reaction has evolved into the new normal, with significant consequences for the future behavior of both the buyers and the sellers.
Buyers and sellers in the business space both favor the new digital reality. In fact, McKinsey Report suggests that over three-quarters of buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-service and remote human involvement over face-to-face interactions—a view that has remained consistent even after lockdowns ceased.
Obviously, safety is a factor. However, self-serve and remote interactions have simplified the process of obtaining information, placing orders, and arranging service, and consumers have benefited from the increased speed and convenience. The benefits of cost reductions, efficiency, and firsthand knowledge of Remote Selling’s advantages, has proven that Virtual Selling is here to stay.
From a business continuity plan, Remote Selling has evolved into a strong Enablement Strategy that will drive future business growth.
In this whitepaper we will look at the why, what and how of Remote selling in some detail.
Table of Content:
- Why Remote Selling is here to stay?
- How can Businesses align their Sales Strategy in-line with Remote Selling?
- How can businesses extract maximum benefits from Remote Selling?
#1. Why Remote Selling is here to stay?
To answer this question, let us begin with some hard facts from a recent McKinsey Report:
- Over 90% of B2B decision-makers think the remote and digital model will persist in the long term
- 99 percent of B2B buyers assert that they will make a purchase via an end-to-end digital self-serve model, with the overwhelming majority very comfortable spending $50,000 or more online.
- Just 20%–30% of B2B buyers desire to engage with representatives in person at any point in their ideal/post-COVID-19 model.
- Digital self-service and remote rep contacts are expected to become the main components of the B2B go-to-market model in the future, when selling to SMBs and big businesses alike.
- Video-conference connections are essential and are chosen by four out of five B2B buyers over audio/phone.
- In the case of both existing customers and prospects, three-quarters feel the new Remote Model is as effective as or more successful than the model used prior to COVID-19
What these stats invariably prove is that Remote Selling is here to stay.
On top of this businesses have now had first-hand experience of the benefits of Remote Selling.
Remote Selling has a number of advantages over traditional in-person sales. Some of them are:
- Remote Selling provides holistic 360-degree connectivity with customer, enhancing Sales communication:
In-person sales is restricted due to the amount of time that may pass between two encounters. On the other hand, Remote Selling enables you to maintain a strategic connection with your consumers through the different methods available. This ensures that you are always in your customer’s mind.
Businesses may surround the customer 360 degrees via various communication channels by using video prospecting, email communication, voice messaging, and social media marketing.
- Remote Selling is Dynamic and Flexible:
Rather than adhering to a single, immutable strategy, a Remote Selling model places a premium on collaboration and flexibility to change. This fluidity is consistent with the dynamic nature of the customer’s purchasing experience, in which movement starts, ceases, and sometimes reverses. In today’s changing world, customer transactions no longer follow a rational route. Each customer contact is braided and infused with needs assessment, floating ideas, and value positioning. In virtual selling, agility involves flexing and using a range of skills as and when they are needed. Remote Selling enables communication to continue during critical intervals between in-person meetings. SDRs have the potential to influence the purchasing factors that affect a customer’s purchase decisions during these critical “in-between” times. Additionally, Remote Selling enables sales development professionals to take gradual efforts toward consensus building and influence the customer account’s exploration area.
- Remote Selling reduces costs, captures more data-points and increases efficiency of the Sales Process:
The shift to virtual channels has had a profound effect on the economics of selling, substantially lowering sales travel and real estate expenses. For six months during Covid 19, company executives saw firsthand how a shift to 100% Remote Selling guaranteed more free time owing to less travel and that virtual sales are less expensive. This data visibility is enhanced by the fact that each sales interaction is recorded. Since then, B2B selling companies have found that incorporating Remote Selling channels into their sales strategy may improve SDR engagement, shorten the Deal Closing Cycle, and boost productivity while also reducing costs. Overall, Remote Selling has the potential to have a significant effect on both the top- and bottom-lines of businesses, which is every business’s objective.
- Remote Selling breaks the traditional geographic boundaries to Business Expansion and enables businesses to become Global Sellers:
The ultimate goal of businesses is sustainable expansion. The capacity to grow, generate revenue, compete with competitors, and overall flourish is critical for operations to continue. Businesses must be flexible and expand both physically and technologically in order to do this successfully. To do this, businesses must seek out new markets to expand. Remote Selling does just that. It allows businesses to expand their reach into new markets via the use of different methods such as video prospecting, social selling, virtual presentations, creative storytelling, and referral selling. Businesses are no longer required to meet in person to establish relationships. Due to the pandemic’s shift in customer mentality, traditional borders have been dissolved, enabling businesses to reach out to clients globally.
These benefits put it beyond doubt that Remote Selling will stay and be the norm for businesses in the present and future times.
#2. How can Businesses align their Sales Strategy in-line with Remote Selling?
Having established that Remote Selling is here to stay, the next step for businesses has to be about how they align their sales strategy to maximize the benefits of Remote Selling.
With customers preferring to shift to Remote Channels, the onus is on Businesses to make this process as smooth and hassle-free for customers.
Here are 6 ways to enable businesses to transition to Remote Selling effectively:
1. Offering the human touch virtually:
The biggest challenge for Remote Sales Team is to authentically connect with customers digitally. By providing a human touch, that is, by giving highly personalized services and products by deeply caring for customer needs, businesses can form that virtual connect. This emphasis on delivering a human touch will be critical for businesses moving forward.
2. Focus on delivering transparency, speed and proficiency:
The 3 most important factors that customers seek in Remote mediums are Transparency, Speed and Proficiency. How businesses rise to meet the challenge of delivering on these criterions will go a long way in determining the success in Remote Selling.
3. E-commerce Optimization:
Integrating e-commerce sales channels and incentivizing them to merge with other channels is another aspect where businesses need to work on consciously. This helps in making the sales experience easy and convenient for the customers.
4. Take care of top buyer frustrations:
Businesses must invest in good quality infrastructure and prioritize fixing top buyer frustrations. These include long ordering processes, difficulty finding products and technical glitches in the company website.
5. Support from Remote Selling Experts:
Businesses must seek support from experts who have expertise in Remote Selling. Outsourcing Sales to such experts could be a great option for businesses in todays skill-deficit market. These experts have expert knowhow of the new age sales skills like video prospecting, Social Selling, Referral selling, Virtual Presentations and Digital Storytelling.
6. Realign GTM Strategies:
The GTM strategies for businesses have to shift big-time to adjust to the new reality. The focus remains on delivering high quality customer experience, but the means to deliver them has shifted from out-bound to in-bound. Accordingly, businesses have to re-adjust and Re-align GTM strategies to deliver high quality customer experience.
These ways of enablement of the Sales Teams have to be the top priorities for businesses in the current business climate. This will hold them steady in the present times and help businesses grow sustainably in the future.
#3. How can businesses extract maximum benefits from Remote Selling?
In the first section of this white-paper we established that remote selling is here to stay. In the second section we tried to decipher how the transition to Remote Selling can be enabled. In this final section we would focus on how can businesses extract maximum benefit out of Remote Selling.
For maximizing the benefits of Remote Selling, businesses need to focus on developing long term plan to gain maturity in specific Remote Selling competencies. Virtual Sales Training has to be a prime focus for developing these competencies.
The competencies that businesses must focus on to maximize the benefit of remote selling are:
I. Social Selling
Social Selling is a lead generation method in which salespeople interact directly with prospects through social media platforms. Whether you use LinkedIn to prospect for new business or Twitter to build relationships in your industry, social selling abilities are an invaluable addition to your sales arsenal.
Not only can social media help you track your rivals but they document what your customers do and say, giving vital insight into issues that you would overlook with any other method. Social Selling obviates the need for sales to make product pitches. You’re starting discussions about your product and services, which may naturally lead to sales dialogues. Social selling is an excellent method to organically interact with your customers and is therefore a critical Remote Selling Skill that businesses must develop to maximize its benefits.
It is critical in the world of Remote selling to have a visible personality connected with the product or brand in some way. There is no more effective method to communicate your unique selling points than via video.
In this Remote Selling Technique, a sales development representative will film and deliver a short, personalized video to a prospect as part of their video prospecting strategy. While the majority of prospecting videos are sent through email, they may also be shared via text or as a message on LinkedIn or other social media sites. The objective is to replace unattractive, plain text emails with something more visually appealing and engaging.
These films should be brief and direct, since they are one of your first points of contact with prospective customers. Numerous advantages of video prospecting include standing out in the inbox, distinguishing oneself, and humanizing the sales process.
Video prospecting is another of the Remote Selling technique that businesses must develop in order to leverage optimally its benefits.
III. Virtual Presentation
While virtual communication technologies such as Zoom enable remote employees to collaborate, they are not always the ideal venue for delivering engaging presentations. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to read nonverbal cues from your audience across video and audio – and you may be unaware that you’ve lost them. Thus, successfully presenting through video requires extra preparation.
Mastering virtual presentations takes practice and is critical for companies to engage genuinely with customers in today’s digital era and leveraging the maximum benefit out of it.
Virtual Storytelling is a critical communication skill in today’s sales environment. Persuasive Storytelling’s objective is to influence the listeners’ thinking or behavior. This may be accomplished in three ways:
- Inspire: Your objective is to pique your audience’s interest in your story or to reinforce their pre-existing opinions and convictions about a connected story.
- Convince: Your objective is to sway audience members’ opinions or persuade them to adopt your own.
- Encourage active participation: After hearing your speech, you want your audience to take some kind of action, such as buying a product, engaging in an activity, or volunteering with an organization.
Developing a Digital Storytelling mentality within the Sales Team will aid in acquiring new customers and also help in maximizing Remote Selling benefits.
V. Referral Selling
The practice of asking current customers to suggest your product to another business or customer is referred to as referral selling. In referral selling, you start a sales conversation by leveraging your connection with the client and the customer’s relationship with the other business. These sales lead often convert at a far higher rate than sales leads produced via more traditional lead generating methods. As a result, referral selling may be a very effective strategy for increasing your sales funnel and order closure rate.
Maximizing the benefits of referral selling helps businesses to gain high-quality customers with much less effort than generating more leads via inbound marketing approach.
Effective use of these Remote Selling tools is essential in today’s dynamic sales environment. Thus, businesses must focus on developing this muscle to stand in good stead for sustaining business growth.
Latest research shows that Remote selling is preferred by both the buyers and the sellers. There is no doubt that Remote Selling is here to stay. In such a scenario, businesses have to focus all their energies in creating a strategy that is aligned to fully leverage the benefits of Remote Selling. For this, businesses have to develop a customer-first mentality and ensure that the Virtual platform is hassle-free and easy to use.
Building trust via virtual means will be the most critical factor in determining the success of businesses in the future. Virtual Sales Training and developing the right competencies in Video-prospecting, Social Selling, Virtual presentations, Digital Story-telling and Referral selling will have to be the go-to mantra for businesses moving forward.
The quick acceptance of the new reality and agility that businesses show in decision making will be the deciding factor in determining sustainable organizational growth.