The digitalization trend in combination with the pandemic has accelerated the changes that will be needed to adapt B2B sales organization towards virtual selling. Virtual selling is all about being able to effectively handle the sales process and the customer journey in a digital context. This demands new skills and tools suited for this specific purpose.
The latest Gartner research is showing that a majority of B2B sales organizations have started the adaption towards Virtual Selling. However, there are a number of challenges that must be mastered.
It is not only the fact that meetings need to be conducted virtually using digital tools but is also a new buyer behavior that is pushing us to drive this change. This is just like when we had to adapt to sales methods like SPIN Selling, Social Selling and Solution Selling.
In this blog post we will give the Chief Sales Officer guidance in the transformation that will be needed but also explain how new sales tools for Virtual Selling opens up for a completely new method for using data to improve the sales organization´s effectiveness over time.
For Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) it is critical to driving a structured transition program towards Virtual Selling that need to include:
The current tools and skills are not going to do the job. The tools that we use like Teams, Zoom and Meet are all made for general internal and external meetings. SPIN Selling, Social Selling and Solution Selling skills are not enough. As CSOs we can not expect the sales executives to manage this major change by themselves.
Technology and tools are critical components for enabling change. New tools for Virtual Selling will not only support the execution of virtual meetings but this new category of tools will also help the sales executives to develop new skills and implement a new process and behavior.
According to research from Mckinsey in April 2021 organizations that invest and implement modern tools and technologies to support Virtual Selling become 62% more effective. This is a huge number that will make it possible for the CSO to drive down cost for Customer Acquisition (CAC) and increase hit rate.
Some examples of the things that the Virtual Selling tools need to support are described below. This will give a better understanding of what to look for that is critical for the sales executives.
The sales executive must be able to control the user experience of the participants to make it as easy as possible for them to focus on the content and the structure of the meeting. The sales executive controls what to share in the form of screen sharing, documents and video. Also, screen sharing should be kept to a minimum ( used mainly for software demos where videos and screenshots are not enough ) since it´s easy to show confidential information by mistake and its hard to give a professional presentation through screen sharing.
The brand matters more and more in B2B. Your organization has probably spent plenty of resources into developing and defining the company brand. Your messaging platform and graphical guideline need to be used in the meeting and waiting room to deliver the correct impression to prospects and clients. There is a reason why you brand your office and your website amongst other things. Virtual meetings are now the new important place to meet and should of course be fully branded.
If you are a European company, collecting any personal data in a database located outside of Europe or owned by a company outside of Europe is against GDPR. This became even more clear after the SCHREMS II case that invalidated Privacy Shield ( US / EU data protection agreement). Read more here:
The sales executive should be able to easily create or update pitch decks or documents in the platform rather than using external tools like MS PowerPoint or Google Slides.
When a virtual meeting is conducted, all information about the meeting should directly be sent to your CRM timeline of the companies and contacts that participated. Information like meeting time, duration, recording link, participants, documents shared, topics discussed, notes, word cloud, engagement, AI analysis and more.
The quality of the experience is getting more and more important. Sharing video, screen and camera with maximum quality is a must. Sound is also expected to be top quality. Many don't realize that sitting in low audio quality meetings many hours per day created fatigue and headaches.
Be able to implement standard guidelines and best practices for different types of virtual meetings. It is also important that the tools support the sales executive to conduct the meeting in line with a predefined meeting structure.
Each meeting should be recorded without disturbing the meeting (no blinking red light, just confirmation on join meeting) and possible to easily share with the participants and saved for internal review, coaching and documentation.
The fact that meetings now will be digital opens up completely new possibilities to analyze performance and implement an agile approach for working with improvement in small steps. It has been challenging for CSO´s to analyze physical meetings performance and based on that actively work with driving change towards a more effective approach. As the CSO you should look for possibilities like these.
Being able to analyze things like these are a true game-changer to understand what makes your high-performers different:
All of the above should also be an enriched data layer over recordings for qualitative analysis of any interesting metric. These crucial data points can really give the early adopter or virtual selling a real edge over the competition.
Be able to go back and analyze the recordings of meetings to better understand what is the differences between successful meetings and not-so-good ones. Based on that drive behavior changes via active coaching of the sales team based on current behavior.
Be able to analyze the behavior of the participants and how they interact with the meeting and the content via heat mapping.
Be able to analyze the customer journey during the meetings and several meetings that are conducted during a longer sales process.
There are only a few Virtual Selling platforms available on the market. If you want to see a Virtual Selling platform in action it is possible to arrange a demonstration of Pitchflow´s platform. You can contact Pitchflow and book a demo here and experience both the platform and a Virtual Selling meeting yourself.