Challenges for Sales Coaching Tools in a Virtual Sales Environment
What was once believed to be a temporary solution to the COVID-19 shutdown, virtual sales calls look like they’re here to stay. It’s high time for sales coaching tools to change from what they were before the pandemic. There is a need to update both traditional methods and try newer ones. In the following sections, you will see how the most advanced sales enablement technologies, backed by artificial intelligence (AI), are an excellent way to solve the challenges of virtual communications.
At the moment, it is essential to consider the situation of virtual selling environments in perspective. Here are some findings from Gartner’s Seller Skill Assessment, a study that interviewed more than 1,000 sales reps between September 2020 and January 2021:
- With effective coaching, salespeople can get an 8% boost in performance.
- In B2B, only 23% of sales reps say they’re just as good at selling virtually as they are in person.
- A majority (58%) of sales reps say their sales managers also coach them on virtual selling, though 93% of them say it presents significant challenges. Coaches haven’t been able to tell them what they should do differently in order to be successful in this environment.
- Only 40% report their company has a strong coaching culture among sellers.
- Managers are only held accountable for good coaching by 42% of sales reps in their companies.
- Only 39% of sales reps feel that their managers effectively coach them using technology. Organizations must have the infrastructure in place to leverage and support sales training and coaching technologies.
- Technology should mediate manager-seller coaching interactions to reduce effort and maximize impact.
The results of this study enable you to conclude that virtual sales environments require updated sales coaching tools. How can you improve your reps’ video call conversations? What skills do they need to develop? As you will see next, conversational technology leaders have determined that soft skills are crucial.
New Skills to Track and Coach for Improved Virtual Sales
Though some challenges remain, resilient sales reps were able to adapt to video interactions intuitively. Another study, this time from McKinsey, examined the behavior of sales reps in business-to-business (B2B) industries. These were some of the results:
- High-performing sales reps spent 22% more time on external interactions than low-performers, and they did not need to meet face-to-face.
- As of Covid-19, 70 to 80% of customers like to interact remotely.
- The vast majority of small deals (90%) were closed without face-to-face meetings.
- Covid-19 has paved the way for video to be a more effective way to communicate.
- Digital interactions between sales reps and prospects have gone up by 41%.
Is there one secret to improving these interactions and maintaining good practices over time in all team members alike? Your reps’ choice of background or their top color is not the key to successful video communication. A message’s language and delivery, both verbal and visual, determine its impact, just as they do in person.
To tell a powerful story and establish a positive connection, it is critical to be authentic and present when communicating in person. Still, engagement and clarity are more essential values when speaking virtually, for example. These are all necessary soft skills.
To improve your sales coaching tools and techniques, you must make sure they can accurately, efficiently track the following essential skills:
Coaching on clarity means, in part, avoiding your reps from keeping their counterparts online for too long. They can practice a quick reality check to make sure a particular video call is necessary or if they can replace it with an email or a phone call. Alternatively, they can rehearse covering as much information as possible in less time while on screen, especially when presenting in-depth, proven information.
A sales representative who engages prospects builds strong relationships by encouraging their interest. The reps are enthusiastic and motivated, grabbing customers’ attention and inviting them to discover more about the products or services. Additionally, the more engaged a counterpart is, the greater the chances of them remembering the interaction.
You can offer coaching to your sales representatives to keep potential customers engaged remotely by tailoring each message to the individual they talk to. A key message guide should include a prospect profile, why the product or service is vital to their work, and how they can answer their questions and address their concerns.
A person’s ability to show confidence is another factor that contributes to making a good impression during video calls. Since a confident representative is knowledgeable and delivers well-researched material, they are more accessible to relate to. When their approach is truly open and friendly, they are more likely to build relationships with their audiences.
The ability to demonstrate confidence is what helps prospects connect with a salesperson. Confident reps are more accessible to relate to because they know what they’re talking about while delivering well-researched material. Their style is open and relaxed and enables connection.
The only way clients will act is if the rep earned their trust. Trustworthy salespeople portray themselves as aligned with the interests of their customers. Reliable delivery reflects consistent body language, voice tone, and message. Their transparent content considers prospects’ perspectives.
When someone has authority and becomes an accurate source of information, they are deemed credible. Prospects and clients have a better chance of connecting with credible sales representatives. A credible representative combines their own in-depth knowledge and direct experience with external sources. Furthermore, they have no problem explaining their product or service in great detail.
Customers evaluate a salesperson’s authenticity according to whether they perceive them as genuine or not. The most authentic sales reps have a personal connection with their clients by talking to them like friends and showing consistency between what they believe and do. They use natural accents and inflections when delivering their message and also rely on conversational language.
Making a client feel comfortable and connected depends on how likable a representative is. It is often the friendly disposition, relatability, and approachability of a salesperson that makes them likable. Their content is relevant, and their delivery is both professional and easygoing.
You may be wondering at this point if it is possible to measure and quantify all of these skills without spending hours watching videos or evaluating calls. In this respect, manual sales coaching tools like surveys, courses, and one-to-one meetings are limited. Technology can automate and objectively calculate these critical variables, resulting in successful individualized coaching programs.
Finding Modern Sales Coaching Tools
You may find it challenging to track and coach these skills to your large or growing team, especially if you only have manual tools. Furthermore, you may feel overburdened with management responsibilities that don’t give you enough evaluation and coaching capacity. To achieve these goals at scale, you need an AI-based sales coaching tool that can take action automatically and with precision.
Quantified helps video communicators leverage soft skills. We identified trends in video communication from the present and the future, examined how video influences perceptions, and examined the communication gaps that may arise when salespeople begin to engage with prospects virtually.
Quantified’s AI technology facilitates better human connections and video-first professional sales coaching. Our proprietary QC Score measures effective communications. You can analyze skills against colleagues, benchmarks, and aspirational targets. With Quantified, you can improve sales results by capturing customer interaction data and behavioral patterns and providing automatic feedback and coaching. Request a demo now.