Selling in a new world: Growing revenue streams with remote selling
What is remote selling?
Remote selling or virtual selling is the practice of selling synchronously from a remote location over the phone/video meetings or even over live chat. This could include consumer devices & products, software, or services like consulting, etc.
Even though we’re all making a fast transition to remote selling since the start of the pandemic, it’s a practice that’s been around for a long time and has improved along with the advancement of virtual contact centers.
Why are virtual sales important in the new normal?
98% of sales leaders report their businesses will be disrupted by the pandemic by over five sales quarters as they adapt to uncertainty, changing buyer behavior, and new ways of working according to research by the Revenue Enablement Institute.
Remote selling is more than just a workaround for social distancing. It’s become clear that virtual selling offers long-term benefits in a post-Covid19 world. Many businesses are already preparing for a future where effective virtual selling is a normal, ongoing business practice. A business continuity plan is a process of creating a system or plan for your brand to survive crises and recover. A remote sales team equipped with virtual sales skills strengthens your business continuity plan in three ways.
- Basing your business continuity plan around a skill (e.g., virtual selling) so that you can respond to a crisis fast. There’s no need for extra infrastructure or special emergency supply chains.
- Remote selling allows you to expand and contract with the marketplace easily. Your agents are not limited by their approach to the customer and travel expenses.
- Virtual solutions are less demanding of the customer. There is almost no need for logistical planning or complex scheduling.
Virtual selling is a practice that can be implemented fast. However, this requires buy-in from the sales professionals. After a disruption, the factor that clearly distinguishes those companies that recover quickly, and even profitably, from those that falter is corporate culture.
Sales teams need to understand the why behind their virtual selling training. They need to understand that these remote sales skills are part of a long-term plan to protect the business and their careers.
The ability to increase sales efforts without increasing travel is no small benefit. Annual, global, business travel spending is roughly $1.5 trillion, according to the Global Business Travel Association. That represents 55% of airline revenues. That’s $1.5 trillion that companies could have spent on new salespeople, new training, and new tools.
The ultimate guide to outsourcing sales
Virtual selling is not only less demanding of your resources, but it’s also less demanding of the customer’s resources. During an economic slowdown, in-person meetings can be difficult for stakeholders who are forced to do business with fewer resources. With a virtual approach, the remote sales reps can work with the customer’s constantly changing availability and deadlines.
You want to remove as many barriers to sales as possible during a crisis.
How is remote selling beneficial for your business?
There are several benefits that businesses may enjoy from remote selling. Some of these include:
Once you get rid of the time involved in traveling to meetings with your prospects and having in-person conversations, you’ll be able to free up some of your valuable time when running a remote business. You may also use your extra time to reach out to more customers, qualify leads, or perfect your company’s sales numbers. The more refined your selling pitch, the more likely you’ll be to generate leads, close more deals, and nurture prospects who are deciding whether to purchase your offerings.
One of the benefits of remote selling is that you can save money that you’d otherwise be spending on infrastructure, office equipment, and office rent. But that doesn’t mean remote selling can be done without any expenses at all. You’d still have to choose the best work-from-home platform to manage the efficiency and productivity of your remote sales teams.
When it comes to remote selling, it’s possible to reach out not just to your local community, but also to other prospects from different parts of the world. The only thing you need is a stable internet connection. Besides that, it’s much easier to scale your business and grow your sales when you’re using the best technology. Use tools, like CRM software, that can help you automate any repetitive manual tasks, keep your external and internal communication organized, and manage your company’s sales pipeline.
A safe work environment, with socially distant jobs (preferably from home), is what attracts employees now. With access to talent across the globe, remote selling can prove to be a revenue generator for your business, with regular upskilling of staff.
“Once you implement remote selling for your business, it can help motivate your remote sales team and improve team morale.”
Having the freedom to pick their work environments and being able to set their schedules can increase their overall productivity as a team and reduce stress levels.
Some people are more productive in a home office compared to traditional workplaces. Although managing your remote sales team can be complicated. If handled well, with the right tech and tools, it can benefit your business greatly.
Outsourcing remote selling for your brand
Outsourcing your virtual sales initiatives to a third-party provider would involve the outsourcer running sales operations, training, and upskilling your team; at a comparatively low cost.
Things to look out for in your outsourcing partner
Outsourcing remote sales is a perfect example of delegating. It can save you significant time and give you the ability to focus on management activities and improve other areas of your startup.
- If you are just starting a company and don’t have any experience in sales, turning to a virtual sales expert partner might be the way to go. The hiring and training are taken care of for you, which helps avoid operational inefficiencies. You can also take note of what works best in the sales process and what type of training will be required if you hire an in-house team later on.
- Not only is a virtual team cheaper, but the risk is also lower. The cost impact of hiring and retaining an in-house team is not a concern, since if there is a problem with your virtual sales team, you can easily switch providers.
- Administrative costs, training costs, and management costs are lower for a virtual team. You also don’t have to spend time and money on employee retention.
- Avoid the traditional costs connected with an in-house team by using a virtual sales team instead. Not only do you save on employee set-up, but you also benefit immediately from the skills of seasoned professionals rather than spending time training new sales reps.
We have built a checklist of the things you need to look out for while choosing your outsourcing partner. Check it out here.
Best practices of remote selling
Provide domain-specific knowledge of the product/service to agents
Your outsourcing partner should acquire all related information and specific knowledge about the product or service that they intend to sell. There should be an information powerhouse and agents must have the skills to effectively answer any question or concern addressed by the customers. Spend time training agents to thoroughly understand the product or service and to feel competent selling it.
Gather specific knowledge of the customers
Businesses that personalize their interactions and have a good understanding of the customer are more effective than those who do not.
Ensure that your team is well prepared with call center software that displays the entire history of the customer when a call is placed or received.
Categorize the customer
Quickly and accurately categorize the customer type and adapt to their sales approach to fit the specific need of the customer. Ensure that your agents are well trained and how to adapt their sales approach based on the type of customer.
Adapting to a customer’s social and communication style will facilitate trust and the building of a relationship. Train agents to recognize their style of interacting, how to recognize a customer’s specific style of interacting, and how to adjust their style to fit the customers.
Quickly build rapport
Effective remote selling businesses not only sell a product, but they also sell a relationship. A great remote selling team should quickly build trust and establish an excellent relationship with the customer. Build an alliance with the customer and convey the message that they will be working in collaboration to solve their problem or find them the best product.
Businesses that would like to excel at adaptive selling should offer their name, build a personalized relationship, and tailor their conversation to the needs of the customer. This will increase the comfort level of the customer and will facilitate trust. They should also use the information they have about the customer to customize the interaction and sell the most appropriate product. Encouraging your agents to offer more personalized information during their customer interactions starts with equipping them with the right tools.
Empathize with the customer
Brands should understand and identify with the customer’s needs and communicate empathy for that individual. This will facilitate effective problem-solving, selling, and up-selling. Train remote sales reps to be able to think about the situation from the perspective of the customer. This will help the agents understand the needs of the customer. The more information they have about the customer, the easier this process will be.
Take control early and keep control
Train agents to use acquired knowledge about the customer to anticipate their needs and lead them in the most favorable direction. They should always be confident and competent and never let the customer steer the conversation.
Businesses should always be one step ahead of the customer, proactive, and capitalize on opportunities to up-sell. Ensure that your team has access to relevant information about all products. This includes all features, potential service issues, costs, compatibility issues, etc. They should use this information, as well as the information about the customer to anticipate the customer’s needs.
Effectively identify and define sales situations
Train your agents using recordings of previous interactions with agents that exemplify this process. Also, be sure to continually monitor for effective listening behaviors and the classification of sales situations. Provide immediate feedback to the salesperson so that they can learn from their mistakes.
Utilize the team member’s expertise and experience when executing an action plan. Help your sales agents to sell more by making more calls in less time.
You’ll be investing money into something you could have a remote team handle for you. About one-third of companies outsource some part of sales and marketing, so it’s not a new concept.