The sales industry is all about people, often connecting face-to-face. But COVID-19 turned all of this on its head. During lockdown, we couldn’t meet each other, travel to see our clients or even shake hands.
For many businesses, this triggered a rapid change of tactics. Digital and social selling became the urgent focus, with sales professionals needing to harness digital skills and tools to sell remotely. A huge 90% of sales shifted to a phone, videoconferencing or web sales model; according to research from McKinsey on B2B businesses across 11 countries.
And the good news is that more than half of the businesses surveyed by McKinsey’s researchers (spanning 7 sectors and 14 spend categories) felt that digital selling proved to be equally or more effective than sales models used before the pandemic struck.
B2B companies in particular are expecting this new focus on digital selling to continue to some extent into the future, as their customers increasingly prefer digital interactions over traditional sales interactions.
The challenges of remote selling
All great salespeople have the personality and ability to build great relationships. Relationships are at the heart of sales, after all. But to succeed at remote selling, sales professionals also need to have strong digital and copywriting skills so that they can communicate their personality and offer without meeting face-to-face. Hyped Marketing MD Jamie Barlow explains this further on Raconteur.net.
“This involves taking the brand and encompassing it into their own messaging, while ensuring it still sounds like them. In this way, you get noticed for not being like everyone else and that’s something all salespeople should remember. People like to buy from people, not ‘robots’ who all sound the same.”
Soft skills such as adaptability and flexibility are also crucial for remote selling. Salespeople need to be able to jump on different platforms and interpret data from a range of sources. In addition, they also need to be able to meet rigorous customer service expectations.
As many businesses have learned the hard way, getting the technology right can also be a major hurdle to digital and social selling. Choosing the right suite of virtual customer tools, and getting the tech working perfectly, can be hugely challenging.
Sales managers will also face their own issues, as they ensure that communication and collaboration within the team remains strong. Established processes and systems will need to be adapted, and it all needs to happen really quickly.
Get up to speed on Digital and Social Selling
Do your sales team needs to brush up on their digital and social selling skills? Our virtual training and development services are invaluable to businesses, especially making the shift to selling remotely in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.
Whether it’s bringing onboard new sales employees whilst at home or growing your business virtually, we can support. Get in touch for a chat about your needs – call the AvA-V team on 01565 758 000 or drop us an email at email@example.com.