How Sales Enablement Can Improve Virtual Selling
This article originally appeared on Sales & Marketing Management.
Virtual selling was once the response to a socially distanced world, but now it has transformed how B2B sellers will connect with customers moving forward. According to a Bain & Company survey, 92% of B2B buyers prefer virtual sales interactions, with 79% of sellers also realizing its effectiveness. These stats make it clear that virtual selling is here to stay.
Although the world is gradually opening up to pre-pandemic levels, virtual selling will continue to play a pivotal role in sales organizations, whether they have fully remote, in-person or hybrid work environments. But with its wide adoption comes a new skill set to learn.
The Challenges of Virtual Selling
There’s a misconception that virtual selling consists of taking what worked for in-person buyer interactions and applying it to digital spaces. That can be easier said than done. In a study conducted by RAIN Group, sellers revealed just how challenging virtual selling can be. Among the top challenges were gaining and keeping buyers’ attention virtually (91%) and developing virtual relationships with buyers (88%).
The truth is that virtual sales and the components that come with it, such as meetings, demos, launching new products, sharing content and onboarding, and training sales reps, require an entirely new skill set. Sales teams must be equipped with tools to successfully close deals regardless of location. That’s where sales enablement comes in.
The Role Sales Enablement Plays in Virtual Selling
Sales enablement ensures sales teams have the skills, knowledge, and content they need to win new customers, especially as they navigate the digital buyer experience. The capabilities of sales enablement platforms—sales training, product launches, messaging, digital sales rooms, virtual coaching, content creation and sharing, and collaboration—empower sales reps to take on buyer interactions in the virtual age.
Here are a few ways sales enablement can help equip sales teams for virtual selling success:
Encourage Self-Guided Onboarding and Training
As more companies embrace hybrid work environments, the way new hires onboard and train on virtual selling tactics must be reimagined. Onboarding and training now have to accommodate sellers and buyers that operate on different schedules and in various locations. Introducing self-guided onboarding and training allows dispersed reps to learn how to engage hybrid buyers at their own pace when it’s most convenient.
Implement a Learning Library for Knowledge Reinforcement
Dispersed teams should be able to easily find high-quality assets aligned to their needs, making a central repository to store all the sales content essential in the era of virtual selling.
A learning library that aligns with the sales process allows reps to find the right collateral at their moment of need. When reps realize how easy it is to find and share relevant content, they’ll be motivated to use the library.
For instance, reps will want guidance on overcoming roadblocks, such as a particularly challenging objection they didn’t know how to handle, during the sales cycle. Have top-performing reps record a video explaining problems they’ve encountered during the sales cycle and how they overcame them. You can preserve their knowledge in the learning library for peers to learn from.
Incorporating Asynchronous Video into Coaching
Because virtual selling allows sales reps to work independently, ensuring distributed teams stay connected becomes imperative, especially regarding coaching matters. Asynchronous video — videos that can be viewed when convenient instead of on a schedule—helps sales coaches by letting reps record pitches and send them to managers for review. Managers can then review the pitch and provide feedback in the form of their own video.
Sales managers can also record videos demonstrating effective sales conversations, handling objections and rapport-building techniques to show their teams “what good looks like.” This helps ensure sales teams stay on the same page and receive the same coaching regardless of location.
Strengthening Buyer Engagement
The move to virtual selling doesn’t just impact sellers but buyers, too. Sellers are now tasked with finding new ways to build engagement with buyers so that they can still close deals regardless of location. Before a virtual sales call with a buyer, sales reps can use digital sales rooms to share content that will be covered during the meeting. Reps can send a personalized video explaining the sales content they’re sharing, giving buyers more context to what they’re receiving and adding a human element that familiarizes them with the sales team before the call.
Another way to strengthen buyer engagement is to make virtual meetings collaborative. Virtual selling allows reps to leverage different forms of multimedia to make the meeting interactive and engaging. To make the meeting relevant to buyers and add more value, incorporate multimedia like pre-recorded video based on the stage buyers are in.
Virtual selling has called on sales organizations to change their approach and adapt to digital sales interactions. Sales enablement can help organizations take on virtual selling by equipping teams with the tools for self-guided onboarding and training, creating a learning library, incorporating asynchronous video for coaching and improving buyer engagement. With sales enablement, sales teams can quickly build the skills they need to successfully close deals no matter where they are.
Download Smarter Virtual Selling: 7 New Best Practices for Hybrid Sales Teams and learn how to enhance every stage of the sales cycle with new tactics of virtual selling.