With the impact of Covid-19 around the world, businesses everywhere have been forced to adapt quickly. This virus is far too deadly to go about ‘business as usual.’ Instead, the ‘new normal’ we are all living and working in has forced companies to ensure staff are working from home (WFH).
Working from home means that sales teams that would normally be in an office, either on inbound or outbound calls, are all remote. Managers no longer see staff working. Colleagues interact via remote platforms and apps. Likewise, field sales teams are all operating from home too.
For most sales teams, the transition to remote selling hasn’t been easy. According to the Revenue Enablement Institute, 98% of sales executives are still adapting to this new reality and looking for ways to make remote selling work.
If you are a sales team struggling with this, read on for some tips and tricks to crush your quota while selling remotely.
Remote selling: Can businesses benefit from this?
Most businesses have been forced to switch to remote working, to keep everyone safe and reduce the spread of Coronavirus. Yet, there are also plenty of those who have made this choice willingly several years ago. For example, our team at Reply has been fully remote since day one - i.e. for more than 5 years.
Aside from being extremely cost-effective, remote work - and sales in particular - has many other benefits that we’ve discovered over the years. The most important is the time saving benefits of getting started on work, rather than commuting, and the starting work.
With field sales, the best most people could do is four solid hour-long meetings a day (provided that you have a perfectly planned day, and at most, a 1-hour drive to each location, with no disruptions along the way).
Selling remotely, you can have up to eight meetings per day and even find some time to prospect for new opportunities or respond to a couple of emails in between the calls. And all of that while staying in the comfort of your home, without stressing over traffic.
Not to forget that time is money! Remote selling can not just help you cut the travel costs but also increase your output by freeing up several extra hours a day to focus on revenue-generating tasks.
- On top of that, virtual, remote selling allows you to:
- Scale your sales without the need to grow your team
- Easily engage your prospects across multiple channels
- Automate and streamline most of the processes
And the best part is that there are still many ways to offer exceptional sales experience, even if you can’t meet your prospects in person or shake hands upon signing a deal.
How to crush your quota while selling remotely
As if selling amidst the uncertainty caused by the global crisis wasn’t enough of a challenge, remote sales made it a lot harder for most businesses to keep their head above water.
The change affected all aspects of the sales process, starting with lead generation and up to closing. As a result, all interactions with your prospects have been moved online.
Let’s take a closer look at the key steps of a sales process and how they evolved to accommodate remote sales teams.
Considering that all offline events or handout materials, including business cards, have become a big no-no, the digital prospecting channels have grown significantly in 2020, according to McKinsey research.
Although of course, virtual prospecting isn’t new as many related activities already take place online - on your website/blog, social media, search (SEO), etc. And that comes as no surprise as almost 90% of consumers (and 95% of B2B buyers) research companies online before making a purchase.
If you’ve relied primarily on offline channels to keep your pipeline full, now is the time to switch to digital lead sources. Those might include your website and content you post there, virtual events, online ads, social media and relevant communities, etc.
Aside from lead generation, prospecting also involves a lot of research which is usually performed online as well - using email finders, B2B databases, social media, etc. After all, a prospect’s LinkedIn profile can tell you more about a person than a physical business card.
While remote selling doesn’t include any physical contact with the prospect, it offers a great opportunity to connect with the prospects across multiple channels, hassle-free and maintain strong relationships with them.
Now more than ever, sales teams should be adept at using social media, email, and phone calls to offer more value to your prospects and build personal, warm relationships with them and keep them engaged. After all, it usually takes some back-and-forth and follow-ups to agree on the terms and actually sign a deal. Remote selling is simply taking that online, where it’s safer for the foreseeable future.
So, rather than relying on phone calls or emails consider using video conferencing to conduct virtual demos and walk the prospects through your product in real time with instant screen sharing instead of simply sharing pitch decks with the prospect. You can also add personalized videos to your outreach emails to increase trust and engagement with your audience early on.
When it comes to closing a deal, there’s one more drawback of remote sales: you can’t sign the contract here. It often takes several follow-ups to close a deal.
Remote sales also make it easier for some prospects to ghost you after the call, even though they might seem to be ready to convert. After all, it’s always harder to read the person’s mind when communicating virtually - an in-person meeting can give you a much better idea of what they really think.
Here are some tactics to increase your chances to close a deal when selling remotely:
- Jump on a call (preferably over video conferencing) every time you need to handle any objections rather than doing that over email.
- Ask for feedback often during the call to anticipate and address any doubts right away.
- Always agree on the next step and schedule it before leaving the call.
Also, sending physical contracts over email doesn’t make the remote closing process any easier or shorter. That is why I would highly recommend using document management and e-signature platforms like PandaDoc or Docusign to speed up the process.
On a side note, right now might not be the best time for hard sales tactics and aggressive closing as half of B2B buyers have put their purchases on hold. While it might be tempting to try and close as many deals as possible and generate revenue for your business, you should be respectful of their choice and focus on building relationships with your prospects instead.
Getting started with remote selling
Following the listed tips in your sales strategy should help you get on track with remote selling. However, there’s one more challenge you might face while working remotely.
To make the most out of your remote sales efforts, you need to stay productive. Here are some best practices that might come in handy:
- Pay attention to your setup, including both virtual toolset and physical work environment. Not all can afford a proper home office, but having a convenient and distraction-free place to focus on your work is a must-have.
- Build and follow solid processes. This includes the company’s sales processes as well as your personal routine. It’s much easier to work autonomously when you have a clear understanding of what to do and how to do it.
- Stay in sync with the team and report regularly. You might consider limiting the number of KPIs or lowering your quota, however, being accountable is very important when working remotely.
Lastly, make sure to find inner motivation to stay productive. Having material incentives is nice but self-driven sales pros tend to perform better.
As soon as you have the means for doing your work, a solid process to follow, a team to support you, and enough motivation to do your best, remote selling should generate as many successful sales conversions as in-person.
About the author
This was a guest article by Rimma Sytnik, a Senior Digital Marketer at Reply.io with over 4 years of experience. Reply is a Sales engagement platform which automates email search, LinkedIn outreach, personal emails and calls. It eliminates routine work and lets your sales team focus on what really matters - closing deals.