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. Theyâ€™ll help you get started on the right foot.
Embrace New Technology
Transitioning to digital sales will be a challenge if your business isnâ€™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.
Here are the types of tools youâ€™ll need to succeed with digital-first B2B Sales — especially during and after this pandemic.
- Videoconferencing tools enable more fluid and personal interaction with customers.
- Customer relationship software keeps track of customer information and sales leads.
- Data analytics tools let you know which strategies are working and which arenâ€™t.
- Email marketing software automatically sends email messages to generate leads and close sales.
- An online sales navigator organizes the sales you make online over platforms such as LinkedIn.
- Sales presentation tools broaden the capabilities of your videoconferencing calls, increasing their effectiveness.
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.
Learn How to Build Relationships Digitally
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, youâ€™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:
1. Social Selling
Your social media sites can be used for more than just marketing. Interacting with clientsâ€™ 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.
3. Steady Communication
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 teamâ€™s strengths.
Learn How to Sell Virtually
Traditional sales tactics arenâ€™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.
What methods will you use in your digital sales strategy?
Virtual meetings donâ€™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.
Be Aware of Pitfalls
Digital sales isnâ€™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.
â€œThe biggest pitfall of a digital-first sales approach is the ability to get and keep your prospectsâ€™ attention,â€� notes Gaudet. â€œWith 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.â€�
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.
Grab Hold of Digital Assets
Prospects will do their research when shopping online for products, services, or business partners. Due to their careful research, youâ€™ll need to have your digital assets lined up and displayed to attract their attention and lure them to your company.
Your first digital sales weapon is your website.
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.
Give digital sales a try — and get good at this type of sales.
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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