THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL SELLING
Five Keys to Bridging the Virtual Selling Divide
The broad adoption of virtual selling and buying has accelerated the transformation of sales, marketing, and service to a 21st Century Commercial model. 2020 taught us that virtual selling can work. As we enter 2021, the majority of B2B sales organizations have enough experience to execute most aspects of the customer journey – from demos to negotiations to customer support – in a remote and virtual setting. Sales reps are expected to hit their quota’s despite deep cuts to travel and event spending. And the recording, analyzing, and tracking videoconferencing calls has become a staple of effective sales management.
But it’s important to remember the virtual selling model is a work in progress and true transformation takes time. Even though 81% of growth leaders are using the pandemic as an opportunity to redefine the customer experience in digital and virtual channels – most of these efforts are in early days. It’s realistic to expect revenue teams will have to wait 12-24 months for these investments to bear fruit. In the meantime, they have to generate growth with what they have today. Today, most revenue teams are in the messy middle between “triaging” a virtual selling approach and true transformation. They’ve moved beyond the early days of adapting to the scale displacement of their revenue teams but have not yet achieved true digital transformation. Meanwhile customer expectations for virtual buying – in terms of speed, experience, and the quality and context of response – continue to evolve quickly.
Michael Smith, our expert in virtual selling channels, warns growth leaders to be mindful of “sophomore slump” as they evolve their selling models to adapt to this new buying reality. Based on his experiences on the front lines coaching sales teams at over a dozen sales kick offs over the past few months, his research raises “red flags” that signal sales forces are struggling to adapt to virtual selling and differentiate their approaches in ways essential to effective selling today. This data suggests the gap between virtual buying expectations and selling practices may be getting wider than most think. If so, many 2021 revenue plans will be at substantial risk unless their leaders continue to evolve to a virtual selling model. Specifically, front line sales reps and the teams that support them highlight five obstacles to selling in a virtual environment: Developing relationships, executing account plans, preparing for and conducting compelling sales calls, and advancing the sale.
Michael Smith clearly outlines what steps growth leaders can take today to address these “red flag” selling issues today to “bridge” this divide between virtual sales triage and true transformation
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