As a result of the pandemic and the need for social distancing, many companies have been forced to move to more remote and virtual models of selling.
For sales teams that have long had a face-to-face model, switching to selling via the Internet has been a big challenge. Reps that were used to wining and dining prospects — and winning people over based primarily on their personal charm — have had a particularly steep learning curve. Those tactics are simply no longer available. Sales teams are finding it necessary to learn new things and, in some cases, work a little bit harder than they have had to before.
Whether you love this new style of selling or you hate it, the reality is that it’s going to be with us for some time. This isn’t just a temporary stopgap measure anymore. Things are probably never going back to exactly the way that they were before.
But that’s not a bad thing.
You see, the virtual sales model has some silver lining benefits that you might not have considered. Here are three:
- Virtual reps can handle a larger sales book. When you have to travel in person to every meeting, you spend a lot of time travelling — as many sales reps are well aware. When you cut out all that travel time, plus related time for parking, getting to the meeting early, setting up, etc., your sales reps suddenly have a lot more time in their days — time they can use to conduct more virtual meetings. As a result, each salesperson becomes a lot more productive and efficient.
- Virtual reps aren’t limited to geographic territories. B2B companies have long assigned sales reps to specific geographic regions because this practice cut down on the amount of long-distance travel their reps had to do. But when you don’t need to travel, you might find that there are much better ways to divide up your prospects and customers. Maybe you have a rep that is particularly good at selling to tech firms or manufacturers or another vertical market. Maybe you have a rep that is particularly good at selling to Web-based companies or to distributors. Maybe someone is particularly good at connecting with small business owners or at wading through the layers of bureaucracy at Fortune 500 companies. Whatever the case may be, you can assign your reps to accounts where they will be the most effective.
- Virtual sales reps can live anywhere. When your sales reps had a particular geographic territory, you probably looked to hire someone who already lived in that territory. But when you are selling virtually, you can hire people who are living anywhere in the entire world. That means you have a much better chance of hiring some exceptionally skilled talent. You might also be able to recruit some hidden gems — talented salespeople who live in more rural areas with a lower cost of living who might be more than happy to work for smaller salaries than some other prospects who live in large cities. It also means that your sales reps have the freedom to move wherever they would like. (And we’ve heard that Barbados is welcoming workers who want to live in the Caribbean for 12 months!)
If you can help your sales team focus on positive benefits like these, you will make it easier for your team to embrace the changes that the current environment is forcing on them. And you’ll stand a better chance of not just surviving but thriving in this new world.
This switch to remote work is such an important and timely topic that we have an entire webinar devoted to it. Check out Enabling Remote Sales At Scale for more tips that you can put to use today.