Covid-19 has taken growing trends and accelerated them at exhilarating speeds. This has made it difficult for businesses to keep up with new consumer needs and best practices. Juggling social distancing and quarantine periods has been difficult enough; now organizations need to figure out how to thrive in a post-Covid world.
One such trend is that of digital and virtual sales. A study conducted by McKinsey and Co. shows that 90% of B2B decision-makers are confident that virtual sales will continue even after Covid-19 has passed. While remote/digital sales became necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, businesses should prepare to make this a part of their full-time strategy entering 2021.
Changing your B2B sales strategy is easier said than done. To help you make the transition effectively, keep the following tips in mind. They’ll help you get started on the right foot.
Transitioning to digital sales will be a challenge if your business isn’t equipped with the right tools. A carpenter will be much more productive with a table saw than a sheet of sandpaper. Your digital arsenal will need a boost if you hope to find success with virtual sales.
While even one of these tools will help, the best strategy implements multiple tools. Start with your digital sales goals and pick out the tools that will help you reach them.
A huge part of sales is the relationship-building process. How can you develop close ties with customers and partners without seeing them in person? Just like with sales pitches, you’ll need to take a different approach to really reach your clients on a deeper level.
Charles Gaudet, CEO of the business coaching and consulting firm Predictable Profits, offers the following three-step guide for building relationships digitally:
Your social media sites can be used for more than just marketing. Interacting with clients’ pages by liking, commenting, and sharing their content helps establish a digital relationship with them.
As with sales pitches, video is more effective than text or voice alone. Video calls are more personal than emails or even phone calls. While all three should be used to a degree, great success comes from making sure video is a part of your relationship-building strategy.
As important as the platform you use to contact customers is how you communicate with them. Such is true with any partnership or relationship. Prompt follow-ups, honest inquiries, and genuine care expressed through steady communication will go a long way.
These three simple steps will help you start developing relationships with your customers virtually. As you get used to the process, you can adjust it to meet the needs of your customer base and fit it to your team’s strengths.
Traditional sales tactics aren’t as effective in the virtual world. Some techniques will translate over nicely, but your general sales approach will need some tinkering to align with virtual interactions. These small adjustments are what set a successful digital sales strategy apart from the rest.
For example, in-person sales meetings often involve reading and expressing body language. Body language helps the sales rep gauge buyer interest and figure out what keeps them engaged during a presentation. Your appearance, expression, gestures, and posture also carry more weight in an in-person meeting.
Virtual meetings don’t allow for as much physical expression, so you must learn how to generate interest and attract attention using other methods. For example, a study performed by Gong.io shows that deals close 127% more quickly when video is used. Video allows you to connect with customers more effectively and use visual resources that can be of great benefit to a sales pitch.
Digital sales isn’t a fairy wonderland of endless cash flow and paying customers. There are still pitfalls and obstacles that stand in the way of success. Recognizing and anticipating these pitfalls will prevent you from getting stuck in a sales rut.
“The biggest pitfall of a digital-first sales approach is the ability to get and keep your prospects’ attention,” notes Gaudet. “With every enterprise sales organization using a digital-first strategy, inboxes are flooded with messages. To counter this challenge, companies must use an omnichannel approach to prospecting.”
An omnichannel approach means using a variety of sources to contact and connect with customers. Email, social media, and cold calls are all methods that work better together than separately.
Prospects will do their research when shopping online for products, services, or business partners. Due to their careful research, you’ll need to have your digital assets lined up and displayed to attract their attention and lure them to your company.
Your website is often the first exposure a customer will have to your brand. Your website should have educational resources, clear pricing and product/service options, as well as a certification of authority in your respective field.
Your online sales and marketing strategies will bring customers over to your website and social pages, where the content they find will influence them just as much as any sales pitch would. Take the time to review your digital assets to look for ways to strengthen them, display them better, or add to them.
Ready to give digital sales a try? Remember that your remote sales team is important and will need training for these unprecedented times. Better now than later, because this trend will sweep you in its direction eventually whether you like it or not.
The sooner you start working on your digital sales strategy, the sooner you can optimize it to shatter your sales goals in 2021.
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Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.