In 2020, sales organizations navigating the COVID-19 pandemic underwent a seismic shift in how they engaged customers, led teams, and managed performance. Offices were closed to staffers, home became the sales cube and sales presentations and customer meetings were moved to the videoconferencing “table.”
For sales reps, the transformation has meant that, while it was once common to meet prospects and customers in person, most relationship building now happens virtually, over video. One study from RAIN Group found that 88 percent of reps find this new way of developing relationships to be challenging. And even for those who are accustomed to virtual sales, the very real phenomenon of Zoom fatigue means the competition for the buyer’s attention is higher than ever as tech-tired customers juggle browser tabs, Slack notifications, and their newly merged home and work lives.
For sales leaders, the crux of the challenge is in team management, motivation, support, and development. Before the pandemic, leaders could “walk the floor” observing reps and hold daily huddles to motivate and monitor reps and address any needs or concerns. Today, it’s become much more difficult to keep a finger on the pulse of how the sales team as a whole is performing — what conversations with prospects sound like, where underperforming reps are getting stuck, and what’s driving top team members’ success.
While the myriad tools developed to manage the selling process are powerful supports, it’s much more difficult to find similar support for managing the human element. Fortunately, however, we know that the foundation of that human element is communication and connection. Sure, following the perfect sales process and checking off all the boxes are part of the deal, but in a value-based sale, it really comes down to how you communicate and connect with your customer on the other side of the camera.
Our newest e-book, The Definitive Guide to Virtual Sales Success, is designed to help reps and sales leaders overcome those virtual communication challenges. In it, we share proven tips and strategies to empower sales reps to build stronger virtual relationships and to empower leaders to coach from a distance with precision and personalization, not guesswork.
We’re sharing a sneak peek at the insights here, and we encourage you to download the full guide to learn how sales teams can evolve communications, processes, and technology for winning performance — from anywhere.
The 4 Key Principles for Winning Virtual Sales Conversations
The guide outlines four communication strategies for mastering virtual sales conversations Sales leaders would be wise to prioritize these skills in their coaching.
- Put your audience first. No two prospects or selling scenarios are the same, and in virtual sales, conversations are much shorter than they were in person. So, the sales team must learn everything they can about prospects and their needs before the call. Further, reps must actively listen and pivot as needed based on audience feedback.
- Engage your prospects with nonverbal communication. 70% of our impact comes from nonverbal signals. The right body language can indicate that reps are present, focused, and eager to be in those conversations with prospects. This can be a challenge onscreen where distractions abound.
- Build authentic rapport over video. There’s no quicker way to turn off your prospect than by being overly scripted or going through the motions during a sales meeting. Unfortunately, this is a particularly easy trap to fall into on screen where, compared to in-person get togethers, everything feels just a little canned and impersonal.
- Set yourself up for success. All the authenticity and engagement you can muster will fall flat if tech issues are constantly interrupting your conversation. Create a virtual communication setup that will support — rather than undermine — your confidence and credibility.
Coaching Communication Skills from Afar
At its core, the key to overcoming these virtual sales challenges lies in ensuring reps have the communication skills they need to build strong relationships with prospects.
For team leaders, the primary obstacle to helping reps develop those skills is finding ways to monitor performance — and identify coaching opportunities — when reps are scattered across the city and beyond. Short of dialing in to each and every sales call or listening to hours and hours of recordings (a prospect so time consuming it would require forsaking every other core responsibility in the process), how can sales leaders gain objective, data-driven insights on who’s connecting and communicating effectively with customers and who’s not? And perhaps more importantly, how can they tie those communication performance insights to development for their team, revenue, quota attainment and customer satisfaction?
In this guide, we show sales leaders how to identify the specific communication skills that are making top sales reps successful — and then coach lower-performing reps develop the same skills.
Perfecting Skills and Closing Deals
Quantified’s communication performance platform helps sales organizations and their leaders enhance their virtual communication effectiveness through at-a-glance evaluations of current communication skills — and custom action plans to improve key development opportunities. With these insights, the platform helps reps connect more effectively with customers and, ultimately, bring in more revenue — all in the flow of work and without the added time requirements of participating in another training class.
To learn more about the keys to virtual sales success for both leaders and their teams — and how the Quantified platform can support your organization’s growth — download The Definitive Guide to Virtual Sales Success today.