Employers in most industries are figuring out how to maintain operations while employees work from home. This applies even more to your sales teams. So how can you create or maintain effective virtual sales teams while waiting for business to thrive again?
Building a Digital World
We are now on the accelerated path to a digital future for all companies, large and small. This shift includes a move to remote work or telework for most employees. It also means a shift on the consumer side to more digital and online interactions and sales, and less face-to-face contact.
These dual and sudden shifts have disrupted most occupations, including sales. Here’s how companies are adjusting to those shifts:
For Sales Teams
Your sales team members were likely used to plenty of in-person interaction, whether it was in the office with colleagues and leaders or with prospects/customers. They were likely not set up to work from home frequently. And now this is probably the plan for the long term.
To make the switch easier and more productive for your sales teams, ensure they have the infrastructure and tools to get their jobs done at home.
This can mean the following:
- laptops or tablets for home use
- software updates or different software tools than those used in the office
- internet speed / technology upgrades
- video conferencing technologies (often a subscription)
- scheduling regular manager check-ins to replace lost face-to-face time
- a review of how to communicate with customers primarily via email instead of in-person
If you’re not sure where to start, asking your sales team about their digital pain points can lead you in the right direction.
Making digital interactions and purchases is the new normal, happening right now with astonishing rapidity. Even industries like car dealerships where in-person purchases have shifted to more digital interactions and sales. It’s true for anyone trying to find and purchase a home as well.
But this will likely lead to a larger long-term shift. Will customers willingly go back to extended in-person haggling at a car dealership when they have experienced the ease of buying a car with just a few clicks? In many cases (and in many other industries), the answer is probably not.
Three Ways to Make Virtual Sales Teams Work Smoothly
With the hours saved on your daily commute, you might have some time now to set your company up for the future.
Therefore, put it to good use. It takes time and effort to build a successful virtual sales team. There’s no time like the present to get started and get set up for success.
1. Reevaluate your sales process
As your sales team works remotely and increasingly relies on digital tools, old ways of sharing sales knowledge and processes are more difficult. Casual hallway conversations and quick catchups before meetings aren’t happening.
Zoom-type meetings are probably the norm for your team now. But, they are scheduled and often not as organic as they used to be. This means it’s more important than ever to put processes in writing and standardize them so best practices are shared with every sales team member.
This is the perfect time to create an internal sales playbook, if you haven’t already. A sales playbook provides the written guidelines for your sales team to operate by in communicating with prospects and working through your sales processes.
It’s also a good time to review the state of your sales infrastructure (strategy, processes, people and technology) to make sure it’s not holding you back. And investing in training and coaching for your sales team can be a way to use any period of quiet to build important skills. These can certainly be done over scheduled online meetings.
Taking a critical eye to your sales infrastructure and training will set you up for success in the future. Once the economy returns to a steadier pace, you will already be ready to drive even more sales growth.
2. Digital ease and simplicity
Were you previously relying on face-to-face contact to hit most of your sales goals? Has your digital sales process been neglected? Now is the time to invest in making that digital experience easy and simple for your customers.
Customers will have become accustomed to doing things virtually that they once did in person. If you’re still not maximizing digital efforts when the economy comes back, you’ll be left behind those who planned ahead.
3. Build relationships with existing customers
This isn’t a time to stop searching for new business – you’ll still need those sales to grow. But it’s also a good time to strengthen your relationships with your existing customers. By taking a little time for non-sales activities that show them you’re there for them, those customers will be more likely to resume their business with you.
Communication is a great place to start. Send monthly emails to your customers with friendly updates and information – share case studies or blog content, highlight how you’re helping those in your community, and remind them of what you offer. It’s most effective when these updates aren’t pushing sales, but just checking in and offering a friendly reminder of what you do.
And keep in mind the power of social media for these updates. Check in with your marketing team about their current digital marketing plan and see where you can work together to keep existing customers thinking of your company.
Digital Times Call for Virtual Sales Teams
With careful planning and a thoughtful use of time right now, your sales organization can grow stronger and ready for whatever the future may bring.
360 Consulting Can Help
We work well with companies in all industries ranging from small to mid-size enterprises that have large sales teams and multiple managers. And finally, we understand that every sales team has unique challenges and needs a custom solution to address them.
To expedite meeting and exceeding your sales goals, it might be time to call in reinforcements. Call us today to find out how we help sales teams break sales records.