Virtual selling is more than just a workaround for social distancing. It’s become apparent that in a post-pandemic environment, virtual selling provides long-term benefits.
Many sales leaders are already preparing for a future in which a normal, ongoing business practice is effective virtual selling.
We’ll look at the three key benefits of continuing to sell virtually over the long term.
- It provides a business continuity plan.
- It enables access to more stakeholders.
- It encourages decision-making momentum from customers.
Virtual Selling Is a Business Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan is a process of creating a system or plan to help your business survive and recover from crises.
A sales team equipped with virtual sales skills has two ways to strengthen your business continuity plan.
First, basing a business continuity strategy on a skill (e.g., remote selling) means you can quickly respond to a crisis. No need for additional facilities or special supply chains for emergencies.
Second, virtual selling lets you easily expand and contract with the marketplace. Your reps are not limited by their approach to the customer and travel expenses.
Virtual Selling Enables Access to More Stakeholders
Buying decisions are generally taken by a team, rather than by individuals. Sales professionals, therefore, need to bring together all the decision-makers around the product or service they are selling.
It can be difficult to bring every decision-maker into a single sales meeting, particularly when you have to deal with the various stakeholder schedules and physical locations.
A virtual approach also helps reps deal with the tight schedules of decision-makers. It makes quick meetings and fast start times possible since key stakeholders become available.
When dealing with multiple stakeholders, it’s easy for miscommunications to slow down or even threaten your sale. Mission-critical executives can often back out of in-person meetings as unexpected and unrelated challenges emerge. With the buying committee split up, poor decision making can emerge.
Virtual selling requires you to get everyone in the same virtual room anyway. By default, this facilitates communication between stakeholders. This helps each decision-maker more quickly understand the position of every other decision-maker.
Virtual Selling Encourages the Customer’s Decision-Making Momentum
The status quo is the biggest threat to a sale. Even when stakeholders are dissatisfied with their current situation, they can be reluctant to adopt a new solution.
Despite this, there’s often at least one agent of change among the stakeholders. It’s important to find them and build a relationship with them.
Having an ally among the stakeholders can be powerful. But as they bring other executives to your side, it’s critical that you keep the sales process moving. Because one dissenting voice can just as easily derail the sale.
Often, this voice of disagreement emerges after fear of reputational loss, analytic exhaustion, or internal competition has taken root. To prevent this, you need to keep a sense of urgency. Encourage the buyer, and your internal champion, to keep the decision-making process moving forward.
Information overload is an increasingly common problem that can slow momentum. As more information and choices become available, customers often fall prey to the paradox of choice.
Research from LexisNexis makes this clear. They found that 62% of respondents feel the quality of their work suffers because there is too much information to sort.
With virtual selling, sales professionals can leverage speed to overcome this problem. Sales reps can organize meetings and deliver video messages when they’re needed most, at a frequency that keeps momentum high and inactivity low.
Virtual Selling: Part of a Long-term Strategy
Previously, pursuing a sale entirely from a virtual setting was reserved for small deals and extreme circumstances. Today, sales leaders need to adapt to a new environment.
Though this change was likely always on the horizon, the recent pandemic has sped it up dramatically.
67% of the buying journey already occurs digitally, according to research from Deloitte.
Even when economic factors return to pre-crisis levels, many customers will be used to this new reality of virtual sales.
Therefore, success means moving at this intensified pace of change while acknowledging that it isn’t a passing phase.
Virtual selling is here to stay, and it’s time to adapt.
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