5 Best Practices for Sales Success in a Hybrid World
After more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are welcoming employees and guests back to their offices. They’re discovering, however, the traditional all in-person ways of operating are things of the past.
Employees are reluctant to return to full days in the office, five days a week. And many companies have fully remote teams, working in different parts of the world.
“Remote and hybrid teams are going to be with us for years to come,” said Andre Black, chief product officer at Allego. “And that has to influence how we think about building a team culture and making personal connections and providing insightful, personalized coaching.”
Not only that, but for B2B sales, the desire for virtual communications extends to buyers. Buyers became accustomed to—and prefer—virtual meetings, demos, and asynchronous communication.
Like it or not, virtual selling is here to stay.
As you’ve probably experienced, however, the traditional ways of doing business don’t always transfer to a hybrid selling world. And even after months of adjusting, you might still be struggling to adapt to this digital transformation and lead your sales team into a tech-driven new world.
You aren’t alone.
Sales managers, trainers, sales enablement managers, and sales reps across all industries are encountering the same challenges:
- Onboarding and training sales reps virtually
- Creating and sharing content and information in the moment of need
- Coaching distributed sales teams and providing feedback
- Launching and rolling out new products
- Mastering virtual selling skills
With the right strategies, tactics, and solutions, however, you can overcome those obstacles and help your reps master their hybrid selling skills. Here are five best practices that organizations can apply to enable sales success.
5 Best Practices for Sales Success
1. Create Self-Guided Onboarding and Training
With virtual onboarding and training, you need an online platform that allows you to offer engaging lessons, provide continual reinforcement, measure sales reps’ success, and accommodate sellers in different regions.
By making the program self-guided, you can record and share video, interact with sellers asynchronously, and provide supporting content. You don’t have to try and get everyone in the same room for hours at a time—a method that cuts into reps’ crucial selling time and that has been proven ineffective.
Financial services firm AmeriSave used Allego to implement this type of onboarding and training system. The company transformed all the content and study aids developed for classroom use into pre-recorded videos that trainees could watch on their own time from any device. It also created quizzes that sellers could take after watching videos to ensure they retained information.
The strategy helped AmeriSave’s sellers become more confident in their skills, as well as increased their knowledge retention, proven by the number of new hires who pass the required federal exam on the first try.
2. Build a Library of Videos Created by Sellers
Sales teams need high-quality assets that are aligned to their needs, on message, and easy to find in their moment of need. One highly effective type of content is video created by sellers. These videos give top performers a chance to shine, sharing their best practices, pitches, and successes.
Not only that, but it’s the type of content sellers devour. They love hearing from other sellers—people in the field—about how they operate, their tips and tricks, and insight into issues.
Allego customer Abbott Laboratories used this strategy after it discovered less than 1% of field reps were accessing the sales content library. The global sales training team tapped sellers’ love for competition and created a contest asking their reps to explain the problems they face and how they solve them in their territory. The first one to submit a video would win a prize.
To date, 64% of their reps have shared a video of themselves talking through best practices or sharing how they’ve solved problems. And the videos have received more than 200,000 views. Plus, the organization now has a rich library of videos that reps can turn to in their moment of need.
3. Use Asynchronous Video to Coach Distributed Teams
With asynchronous video, sales reps can record their pitches and practice role playing, and sales managers can review the videos and provide in-line feedback. Add Conversation Intelligence to the process, and sales managers can automate the work.
Conversation Intelligence is an AI-powered tool that records and analyzes sales calls and makes content recommendations. The technology lets managers observe exactly how sellers interact with buyers in the field, the precise language they use, how they describe the company’s value proposition, and how they handle objections.
With these kinds of digital ride-alongs, sales managers don’t have to coordinate coaching times among people in different time zones or take away from a rep’s valuable selling time.
Plus, call recordings of top performers have a wealth of examples sales enablement managers can extract and add to the sales content library. Those, combined with video about product information, best practices, and how-to advice, create a rich library that reps can access in their moment of need.
Allego customer Baxter Healthcare uses asynchronous video in its annual certification process. It allows sales managers and coaches to explain important product messaging, share the company’s go-to-market approach, and demonstrate what good pitches look like.
Sellers watch the video on their own time, and managers can track who accesses the videos and how long they watch them. And they’re watching them. More than 60% of their reps actively engage with content in Allego.
The trainers then evaluated the learner’s performance, as well as the coach’s. The data in the reports helped guide training strategies, address individual learner concerns, and decide what the sales organization as a whole must do.
4. Include Virtual Training to Make Product Launches More Productive
Virtual, interactive, and mobile training is now a critical component of product launches. And when used well, virtual training is far more effective than spending hours in a classroom. It allows you to record a presentation in advance that learners can watch on their own time, as well as include reinforcement activities during and after each video.
In addition, you can give information to learners in smaller pieces, spaced out over time. Research shows that retention goes down as the volume of information goes up. Information at product launches and national sales meetings is shot through a fire hose, so to speak, and it’s too much for sales reps to remember.
To make your product launches more productive, shorten kickoff meetings by creating videos that reps can watch in advance from any device, enable video role playing, and allow coaches and trainers to evaluate reps’ proficiency in a virtual setting.
LifeScan’s product launches became much more productive after they incorporated informal learning, meeting pre-work, video-based role playing, and in-video coaching feedback. With the new format, subject matter experts embed PowerPoint presentations into Allego mobile videos, allowing reps to watch them wherever and whenever. Managers also ask their team to record their own version of the presentation within the app and share it for in-video feedback.
The training director also discovered that video-based role playing is more effective than when it was conducted in person. “In the past, reps said that role-plays could be avoided or not taken as seriously when done live during group workshops,” he said. “Allego added a much-needed layer of accountability, ensuring that each rep stepped up to the plate and showed their manager what they’d been practicing by recording it on video.”
5. Create and Share Content to Maintain Buyer Relationships
Providing relevant articles, white papers, and other content to buyers in between meetings is essential to maintaining relationships with them. When sellers do that, they nurture the relationship and help buyers make purchasing decisions. If they send videos that they created, though, they’ll grow the relationships even further. Plus, videos will help them stand out when other vendors are sending documents and links.
Sales teams should also consider creating private communication channels with their buyers. With digital sales rooms, for example, sellers can put all the product information, analysis, case studies, and other content in one place. It’s a personalized approach, and it makes it easier for buyers to find and keep track of information—no more searching through email inboxes.
Be sure to also monitor whether buyers consume the content. When you know what a buyer likes, you can provide more of it and adjust content that buyers don’t like. The key is to provide value to buyer relationships so deals stay on track.
To help sellers maintain buyer relationships, the Retirement Division of Ash Brokerage creates videos that its wholesalers can share with customers. Using Allego’s sales enablement platform, reps at the insurance brokerage general agency create and share agile content, some of which includes videos to help wholesalers better explain Ash Brokerage’s products.
The firm’s customers love the videos, as one told the firm: “This type of communication is awesome. I typically get wholesaler and vendor information, and it goes straight to the junk folder. Definitely opened up yours and listened.”
Ash Brokerage also tapped the power of video when sending thank-you emails. Sending short thank-you videos not only helped sellers—and the firm—stand out, but it led to repeat business. In fact, Ash Brokerage reduced the percentage of “one-case wonders” from 42% to 38% in less than a year.
Download the Sales Success Kit: Best Practices for Enabling Sales Success in a Hybrid World to learn how to lead your team in this tech-driven world.
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