July 15, 2021
Most organizations successfully transitioned to working from home during the pandemic.
As reported by Global Workplace Analytics, only 3.6% of US workers worked from home in 2018. In 2021, 25%-30% of the workforce is working multiple days from home and this trend is likely to continue.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, remote working became a necessity for sales representatives.
The big questions are, how much of the selling cycle will be conducted remotely in future and will salespeople who return to the office be more or less productive than they were at home?
It didn’t take sales representatives much time to adapt to talking with customers and prospects via Zoom, Teams, and Hangouts last year.
Fortunately, the platforms were easy to use, and getting up to speed was fairly straightforward. Despite some technical glitches and the occasional embarrassing moments, the majority of sales representatives felt they did just fine.
Now that sales representatives are used to selling remotely, it’s easy to assume that they’ve mastered it. That is not the case however..
Here are some reasons why;
While the mode of communication shouldn’t matter to the majority of sales representatives, remote selling presents new challenges.
Sales reps lose visual cues when selling remotely. Having to sell from home has made things much harder for many, especially those women in the workforce with young families. Remote selling outcomes are determined by how customers perceive sales interactions, including their virtual presence and brand mojo, their ability to connect, create rapport and build trust, and their ability to communicate value quickly. Today, just 16% of buyers say that virtual sellers are skilled at presenting ROI.
It’s likely that things will return to normal over the next few months, but don’t expect remote selling to disappear. No matter when the pandemic ends, remote selling is here to stay, its just more efficient for a majority of salespeople.
McKinsey reported that up to 80% of B2B buyers prefer remote human interaction. In addition buyers can schedule 30-minute meetings vs 60-minute in-person meetings with sellers and get more done. Selling remotely has become a necessity for anyone in sales.
Sales opportunities for sales representatives have decreased by approximately 74% since the pandemic began. This means salespeople need to get better to maximize sales from a reduced set of opportunities.
Managers must step in to provide clarity and firm guidance as reps struggle to adjust to the buyers new habits. Having a solid sales process and clear communication between sales leaders and their teams will be essential.
In a highly competitive “sea-of-sameness” from a buyer’s perspective, salespeople must differentiate in HOW they sell when selling remotely.
According to Brent Adamson, Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, “It is going to be mission-critical for reps to make the most of the moments that matter during this buying cycle.” That means building buyer empathy, sharing more compelling content, asking smarter questions, and having conversations that build trust, communicate the financial value of their solutions, and reveal the nuanced differences between their competitors.”
Taking this shift to remote selling for granted and, therefore, assuming that sales representatives are prepared is a mistake. Continuing to improve remote sales experience will lead to pipeline build and higher win-rates. Simply put, it is too important to be anything less than great in remote selling execution.