It’s been trying times all around. At Clari, we thrive on getting to know our prospects’ and customers' challenges on a human level. Just because business has pivoted to a virtual world, doesn’t mean you can’t still foster those human relationships with the right remote selling techniques.
For many teams, deal creation volume and responses to outreaches have decreased. However, data suggests businesses have an opportunity to attract and engage prospects in new ways. There's an increase in website traffic, buyer-initiated conversations, and marketing email open rate. Customers are still looking to engage, but in a different way than before.
We’ve discovered that virtual sales strategies need to adjust to reflect the current buying reality. Think education, not promotion.
Mastering virtual selling means focusing on the prospect experience throughout the sales cycle. With economic shifts, it’s more important than ever to be able to measure your pipeline health and accurately forecast where your quarter is going so that you can focus your sales efforts. Here are five strategies to help your sales team foster more connected sales and demo calls so they can thrive in a virtual selling environment.
Virtual Selling, Defined
Many sales pros can fall into the trap of thinking about and acting on what is important to them —their quota, their commission, their needs—and not the customers’, especially in uncertain times like right now. But in order to make human connections over the digital divide, you need to put thought into every layer of your meeting. That’s why our list of virtual selling best practices starts with your own set up and routines.
1. Establish routines and space that foster focus
Working from home can offer an effective way to maximize your time, but it’s easy to get distracted by daily life. Here are three ways you can create an environment that mimics your workspace in your home office.
- Separate yourself. Dishes in the sink, kids or pets playing, laundry calling your name—the home can be quite distracting. Imagine that your desk is at the physical office. Try building physical ways to help you focus.
- Create a routine and to stick to it. Too many of us fall into the trap of rolling out of bed onto our laptop and working until someone reminds us to eat. But that’s a sure fire way to burnout. Start at a specific time, schedule meetings like you would (but with more availability), and take breaks.
- Ensure you have all the remote selling tools. Additional monitors, webcam, microphone, etc. will all help you build the right environment to maximize your productivity.
- Measure your pipeline health and re-classify. This organizational step is a digital one. When separated from your team it can be challenging to keep up with changing priorities as your company pivots. To help you best focus your time and make 1:1’s more productive with your manager, measure your pipeline health and re-classify accounts in order to highlight the ones that need extra attention.
2. Show prospects and clients you value their time
Time management is more important now than ever. Even though working from home cuts out the commute, many workers are now finding it hard to separate their work life balance since work and life happen in the same place. On top of this, quick office chats have now turned into Zoom meetings that make it hard for people to find focus time.
Allowing some downtime between meetings is considerate to your customers and prospects. Gestures such as "I want to provide you the 10 minutes before your next meeting, so I'd like to cover these elements prior to ending to call.” By prioritizing succinct meetings and putting their time first, you set yourself up to stand out from the crowd. For example, you could change the length of your meetings to the following:
- 60 minutes → 50 minutes
- 30 minutes → 25 minutes
3. Video and demos matter more
Presentation matters. You want to communicate professionalism and ensure your clients and prospects can see you as a thought leader. You want people to hop off your sales call saying, “Wow, this team is remarkably good! That was the most effective use of my time and attention in an online meeting that I’ve ever experienced.”
Here are seven ways to accomplish that.
- Dress to Impress. It’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day at home. One routine that has helped our team get into a professional zone is getting dressed for work in the morning—even if it’s just waist up.
- Find the flattering light. Sitting in front of a window offers the best light. If you can’t do this, ask your company to provide lights you can put in front of you or on both sides of your screen.
- Leverage the right camera angle. Your best bet is a camera slightly above your eye line. This tilts your head up automatically. It’s also more ergonomic.
- Mind your eyes. Look at the camera as much as possible to simulate eye contact with your prospect. Turn off self-view in Zoom, so you aren’t tempted to look at yourself, and put the participant window as near as possible to your camera.
- Turn on “do not disturb.” Ensure that Slack pop-ups and notifications don’t interrupt your conversations. Your client deserves your full attention.
- Stop screen sharing whenever possible. Say you’ve finished a demo, and jumped into a question and answer agenda. Stop screen sharing so you can monitor facial cues and body language.
- Be creative with your presentations. If your Zoom is enabled with backgrounds, for example, you can elevate your sales presentations and demos. Think like a weatherman in front of a green screen—you can sequence backgrounds, or record a demo as a background image, to create a different type of visual interest and presentation style that can stand out.
4. Preparation leads to remarkable online meetings
Without the benefit of face to face meetings, it’s more important than ever that we think through how we are going to best use the time our prospects and customers give us. When meeting in person, you naturally will have small talk and make more personal connections. Limited to a virtual meeting however, you’ll want to think through what value you are delivering and what you are trying to accomplish in that call. That way you can purposefully sprinkle in those opportunities for deeper connections.
Here are some tips for pre, during, post-meeting communication:
Tips for kickoff:
Thank your guests for joining, and genuinely ask them how they are doing. It’s tempting over Zoom to launch right into presenting, but give the meetings some personable air with small talk. Many folks who are used to the hum of an office environment will love the opportunity to simply chat.
Set the purpose of the call and ask your guests for confirmation of alignment at the beginning of every call. This is an especially effective virtual selling best practice now that workers are hopping from one digital meeting to the next, it’s helpful to reiterate the topic and get everyone aligned on goals.
Tips for the meeting:
Try to limit the amount of slides and screen sharing you use in order to prioritize conversation. When presenting in person, prospects can look between you, the slides, and one another. With just the slide on the screen to stare at you can easily lose their attention.
Try to connect with everyone by interacting with them. It’s all too easy for participants to zone out during virtual meetings. Find ways to involve them individually with probing questions.
Further reading: 7 ideas for successful sales online calls from Gong and Hubspot
Tips for closing:
Say thank you! Making people feel appreciated goes a long way. Especially now when communication is digital and we aren’t getting those real-life manners as often. Taking the time to show genuine gratitude makes a big impression.
Set next steps—like setting your next meeting—and send next steps along with documents mentioned in a follow up email. While this is always a best practice, it’s critical when your prospect is hopping off your call onto the next one—and the next one and so on. Setting the next meeting right there and following up with notes ensures nothing slips through the cracks. Having meetings set on the calendar also helps you and leadership measure pipeline health and accurately forecast which accounts are on track.
5. Take breaks, without guilt
You’re in a groove, knocking out customer calls, hitting your goals, and all a sudden it's 5 p.m., you haven’t eaten lunch, and you’ve remained glued to your chair for 8 hours.
Studies show that breaks can actually significantly improve productivity levels and a person's ability to focus. Step away and give yourself a new space to breathe, get outside, or exercise. It allows your brain time to recharge and relax. When you’re in the office, you might have a standing desk, get up to go to meetings in boardrooms, go on a coffee walk, and take your lunch with coworkers. When you’re at home and all your meetings are on your screen, it’s harder to recoup that extra time away from your monitor.
Your mental health and wellness are important, especially during stressful timeframes. Ensuring that you balance your work and life help you focus and be more productive.
Need more? Watch Clari from Home
With these five strategies, you’re well on your way to thriving in your new digital sales relationships. But if you’re looking for more, our revenue experts are sharing their tips for getting the most out of Clari in a virtual environment in our video series, “Clari from Home.”
- Deal Updates, Micromanagement Free with Diana Cappello, Sales Engineering Manager
- Clari from Home: De-Risking in the Time of Coronavirus with Michael Kenney, Director of Sales
- Managing Renewals and Churn, Spreadsheet Free with Jessica Starr, Director of Customer Success Operations
- Identify At-Risk Deals Before They Slip with Vernon Bubb, Managing Director, EMEA
- Save Time Inspecting Deals on the Fly with Kyle Rutter, Senior Sales Director