Is Sales and Marketing Changed Forever? Remote Sales and Virtual Teams

by | Jul 2, 2022 | Sales

Is your company considering implementing a remote sales strategy?

For practically any business in today’s modern landscape, the transition to virtual selling is rewriting sales and marketing forever — and for the better!

The sales industry saw one of the biggest shifts during and after the travel ban and lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the blink of an eye, everything changed for salespeople.

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily contributed to one of the most extreme shifts the sales industry has faced — probably since 911. Even if you could travel, customers weren’t willing to meet salespeople.

The shift to virtual selling was real and fast for sales and marketing teams. From learning the art of closing deals via video calls to engaging clients on social media platforms, professionals all over the world adjusted to remote selling strategies. Organizations were forced to learn an entirely new mode of selling. It may not currently feel this way, but this transition to remote sales is positive.

If your organization can adapt, it will not only survive — but win.

Remote Sales Accelerates Sales Performance

The transition to selling virtually has two key benefits:

  • Travel time is dead time. If you can eliminate “windshield time,” you are freeing up salespeople to spend more time selling.
  • Value propositions dramatically improve when you can’t rely on personal relationships.

You can see all these benefits in one key metric: Sales Velocity.

First, every in-person sales meeting extends your sales process by days and weeks! Coordinating a Teams or Zoom meeting can be a struggle, but throw in flights and reservations and travel time, and it gets a lot worse.

Second, a virtual meeting happens fast. This means, you better have a great value proposition and be able to get to the point very fast. This means understanding your customer’s needs, demonstrating your services’ value proposition, and presenting a solution all get compressed.

This has pros and cons.

If your value proposition is tight and you can solve tangible problems, you’re going to see a lift in sales simply by improving productivity. But if your value proposition is weak or you can’t diagnose issues quickly, selling virtually is a nightmare.

All Industries Are Transitioning to Virtual Selling

This wasn’t the first time salespeople had to reinvent themselves.

I started my career in enterprise software sales in the early 2000s. I sold CRM software to mid and large-sized organizations throughout North America. Before September 11th, we traveled a lot! We visited customers to make discovery calls and present demos. We believed, falsely, that you needed to see customers in person to sell big deals.

Then, for a period of time after 911, we couldn’t travel. This forced us to embrace telesales with rudimentary screen-sharing products like WebEx. We could share our screens and talk on speaker phone.

Within weeks, we discovered customers will buy big ticket items without ever meeting a human being. This was game-changing. We could sell multiple big accounts at the same time, and reduce the number of days it took to close a deal. As a sales rep, that meant I earned a lot more commissions. And for my employer, it dramatically reduced their customer acquisition costs.

In the pandemic, what I learned 20 years earlier was being discovered in “old school” industries like pharmaceutical sales and industrial sales, which have historically relied on face-to-face selling for decades.

Sales Organizations Have to Adapt

Remote sales and virtual teams put a great deal of pressure and new expectations on sales and marketing. It’s more than just transitioning from face-to-face to Microsoft Teams. The entire sales force’s design and marketing functions shift to the new mode of virtual selling.

The key difference is treating sales as a system:

  • Demand Generation: How do customers discover your products and services, and how do they buy? This requires putting your brand in the path of search for buyers looking, as well as building your brand with referral partners that may know about a customer’s need before you do.
  • Marketing and Sales Analytics: Data drives virtual sales — from customer acquisition costs (CAC) to how quickly it takes to respond to a customer inquiry to how many days it takes to guide a customer through the sales process. Measure it all so that you can spot and solve problem areas.
  • Automate Everything: Technology increases capacity and intelligence. Using marketing automation and CRM not only improves sales performance but also improves the customer experience. Help your customers get the information they need to make wise purchase decisions.

The model of the “lone salesman” is outdated. Organizations are using the tools and the transition to virtual selling to reinvent how they connect with customers and grow their brands.

It may feel like using these tools makes your brand lose something — like personal relationships, but it’s not. Rather, if you serve your customers brilliantly and give them what they need when they want it in a remote sales system, they will like and appreciate your brand even more.

Evolve for a Competitive Advantage

The world has reopened since the pandemic, and many organizations are switching back to their old ways of selling. But challenge yourself and your team to embrace the innovations that started in 2020.

This doesn’t mean you have to remain 100% virtual. But small innovations can lead to big shifts in your sales performance. At the very least, It’s time to get really good at virtual selling.

Start with your company’s sales velocity — the speed it takes to move a customer from inquiry to purchase. If you don’t have this data yet, start measuring it. Then look for opportunities to accelerate it: Where can you reduce days in the sales process? For instance, can you transition some or all of your meetings from in-person to virtual? Can you improve your value proposition and marketing so customers “get it” faster? Can you train your salespeople to move faster?

Not only will this accelerate your sales process, but you will also see a lift in sales revenue and even have happier customers. Because unhappy customers don’t buy faster!

To discover more, book a free strategy session with a member of the Sticky Branding team. Reach out to us today.

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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