Empowering Technology Sales Teams

to Win More Deals in Less Time

A recap of the webinar “How to thrive in the new era of Remote Selling”

By Reagan Mendoza, Marketing Specialist at AnnexQ

Just recently, Jeremy Mendoza, Founder & CEO at AnnexQ and Director of Sales at Andea, hosted the webinar “How to thrive in the new era of Remote Selling,” coupling with special guest Keith Willis, President at CoachtoAchieve.

Remote Selling: Top Challenges

Jeremy discussed the top challenges that every sales leader has been facing for decades. He stated, with the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have become amplified, making the lives of sales leaders tougher than ever.

  • Buyers are unresponsive: Emails and phone calls alone no longer matter. Of course, if you’re engaging with your leads/buyers only by these means, you might get lost. With advancements in technologies and tools, there seem to exist numerous ways to engage, with social media topping the list.
  •  Standing apart from the competition: You or your company might offer the best products and services, but how that matters to your buyer becomes the question of the hour. As a seller, creating a remarkable sales experience, can help make you stand out and move ahead of the competition.
  •  Ineffective ‘Team selling’: Apart from the sales managers, there are product managers and tech engineers who are there to make your selling efforts easier. But often the results are not what you’d expect as a disjointed team ends up in the loss of a sale.
  •  Unable to connect at an emotional level: In today’s evolving digital world, it’s becoming difficult to connect, engage, and entice your buyers emotionally. No more hand shaking, a leisure cup of coffee, or expressing the passion or interest towards one another.
  •  Unable to maintain a consistent cadence: Cadence has become one of the biggest challenges as the sales cycle becomes lengthier and more complex. There are simply too many unnecessary meetings, and too much time passing between these meetings.

Today’s Approach

Jeremy presented an approach from the book “The Challenger Sale” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

  •  Teach:
    Educating the buyer with unique perspectives of your business seems crucial for a business.
  •  Tailor:
    Align your products and services according to the buyer’s specific needs, and at the same time, tailor the business that resonates with the varying buyer segments.
  •  Take control:
    As a seller, you have to take control of your buyer’s decision-making process to make quick and favorable decisions.

Keith followed up stating that building trust can be the most effective approach. Without building trust, a buyer to-be will not decide to opt for your products, even if they have a relationship with your brand. He highlighted that trust could bring in the sale and not just buyer engagement.

Jeremy agreed with Keith, also saying that the right content reaching the buyer at the right stage is the key to sales success. He also shared this statistic from the latest Demand Gen Survey Report that 95% of the buyers choose a solution provider that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”

How have Sales changed during the Pandemic

The host highlighted what has changed during the pandemic. He takes inferences from the McKinsey and Company Pulse survey in April 2020 that covers B2B industries, namely consumer and retail, global finance, energy, banking and finance, pharma and medical, technology, media, logistics, and travel.

  •  Spend: About half of the businesses in this survey have reduced their budgets and salaries during the COVID-19 pandemic. However optimistically, the other half have managed to retain or increase their spend.
  •  Digital: Many B2B companies have started relying upon digital interactions, and they feel that this form of interaction is 3 times as important compared to before the pandemic.
  •  Remote: Nearly 90% of the sales have moved to online or remote selling means. Among these, 65% say that remote selling seems as effective, or more effective, than the traditional sales methods.

Here, Jeremy pointed out that a few sectors, namely telecom, media, and technology, that have made a complete transition to nearly 100% remote selling.

We must embrace Remote Selling

The webinar focused on two key components of Remote Selling:

  •  Virtual meetings: Connecting live online instead of meeting on-site and in-person. This has gained attention in recent years, and more-so in recent months.
  •  Meetingless interaction or Asynchronous selling: This is a fairly new concept, which is when a seller engages with their buyer through personalized video and file sharing, rather than having scheduled meetings.

One example of a Meetingless Interaction

  •  Seller records offline video: Screen-sharing the proposal or the pitch deck enables you to walk the viewer (here buyers) through the proposal document.
  •  Video is shared with the buyer: Once shared with the buyer, the pitch material gets circulated among the buyer’s stakeholders or decision-makers. This completely eradicates the need to meet each of them in-person.
  •  Buyer provides instant feedback: The buyer goes through the proposal at her leisure and shares the feedback with you once reviewed. The feedback can be in the form of an email for example. In response, you can quickly make the necessary revisions and resend the final proposal to move the deal along.

Remote Selling as it relates to Time

Assuming the participants of the meetings would be you (the seller), first contact (initiator), the champion respondents, and the decider, Jeremy began to explain how remote selling relates to time and place, which decides the synchrony of the interactions.

Imagine the usual and traditional mode of sales cycles; what you go through would be both on-site and virtual meetings. On-site meetings happen at the same time and same place, thus becoming synchronous.

Virtual meetings happen simultaneously and yet in a different place, still making this interaction synchronous, however the challenge of coordinating the participants to connect at the same time remain. The following diagram (concepts derived from Jacco van der Kooij of Winning by Design), helps to depict this scenario:

The primary difference between the remote selling that took place before COVID-19 and the current situation is that now all meetings are typically done virtually.

The shift in what we are seeing today, and what we’d predict for the future-post COVID-19 pandemic, is that remote selling can start with virtual meetings in synchrony. Later, they can proceed with asynchronous meetings, wherein each of the participants can go through the discussion offline or at their convenience.

There is no need for each participant to be a part of a virtual meeting, taking place at the same time. This reduces the duration of the sales cycle in comparison to the conventional sales cycle which involves only synchronous interaction, along with increased win rates.

Remote Selling Best Practices

Keith listed his suggestions on remote selling best practices:

  • Stage#1 Virtual meetings: Handy tools with appropriate features help make virtual meetings more engaging. Even when using a quality tool, it’s important to have a back-up plan. Every proper plan can save time and effort.
  •  Stage#2 Building rapport: It is crucial to analyze the social style, professional conduct, likes/dislikes, thoughts, and a lot more on the personas.
  •  Stage#3 Meeting-less interaction: Thinking of how multiple pieces go together with meeting-less interaction, the best practices involve using effective tools, social intelligence, agenda, mapping the communication process, and planning for every micro aspect of the meeting, including videos, images, and documents shared.

Increasing Team Knowledge

Keith then presented his list of training solutions that companies can adopt to embrace remote selling and increase team knowledge:

  • Formal training
  • Informal training
  • Knowledge-sharing strategy
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Wargaming
  • PEST & SWOT analysis

Online Tools

Jeremy shared various tools that he has used to help increase conversion rates, from prospecting to submitting proposals, to getting contracts signed:

  • For prospecting: Outreach, ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, MailChimp to name a few.
  • For calendar scheduling: Calendly, Hubspot, Doodle.
  • For proposals: Qwilr, Proposify, DocuSign.

From the opportunity phase to buyer commitment:

  • For virtual meetings: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting.
  • For screen-share with the voiceover: Loom, Bomb Bomb, Vidyard.
  • For content management and collaboration:  AnnexQ

Impact of Video

A research survey conducted by Zoom on Qualtrics found that more than 82% say there is a greater sense of trust, and 91% say there is greater engagement with videos.

Jeremy offered a quick tip of recording a 5-8 minute video with a side-by-side headshot, creating a personal experience for all the stakeholders.

Quotes from the Experts

Before going into a Q&A session, Jeremy concluded by sharing the following quotes:

Organizations that will succeed going forward will be those that materially simplify the purchase process for customers” – Brent Adamson, Distinguished Vice President, Advisory, Gartner.

In the new economy, the most effective sales professionals will be masterful at project management and facilitating the process of building trust between two organizations…” – Tom Searcy, CEO of Hunt Big Sales, Author of Whale Hunting.

If CRM is the only technology enabler you’re currently using, your competitors are likely leaving you in the dust” – Max Altshuler, CEO of Sales Hacker, Best-selling Author.- Hacking Sales.

Click here to register for our next live web event: How ‘Video Selling’ can be the most powerful tool in your arsenal

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