Creating a Viable Remote Sales Model
Sales executives across the country and around the world are now coming to terms with a sobering reality: Critical, face-to-face meetings with decision-makers have greatly diminished and in some cases disappeared, and they show no signs of returning soon.
What’s the strategy going forward? What can we do to not only continue to prospect but replace those lost meetings?
There’s a “new normal” for sure, one that still prioritizes personal outreach to prospective buyers but in a completely different way.
It’s time to embrace a viable remote sales model and create a behavioral plan that supports that model and can be executed daily.
Here are 3 simple steps to getting started:
1. Move beyond your old assumptions.
The “new normal” we’re in is one in which many of our old assumptions about how to launch and sustain business relationships will simply no longer stand.
It’s frustrating, and there’s a temptation to sit idly by right now and wait for things to get back the “old normal”. That’s a big mistake. The “old normal” might not come back -- at least not for awhile. Why? Despite the initial frustration, companies are realizing the immense practicality and cost-saving benefits of tele-meetings over business travel, and they’re getting a lot of practice -- more than we ever expected -- in perfecting how to do it. And, as health concerns continue to linger in the coming months, business travel and personal interactions will likely be slow to resume.
So, assume things have changed for the long-haul, embrace that change, and prepare to exit your comfort zone.
For example, assume that there will need to be an increased number of personalized touches, many of them digital, before your sellers can connect with a single decision-maker on a voice-to-voice call and that each and every one of those touches need to provide business value that aligns with the prospect's world.
Assume that you will have to find a way to stand out quickly and dramatically from a crowd of sales teams who are in the same situation you are in (more on this below). Assume that holding sellers accountable to fully applying themselves by working longer, smarter, and more focused on prospect issues and opportunities are more important than ever. Establishing credibility with prospects is key.
At this point, it really doesn’t matter whether your reps are used to having an SDR do the up-front work. Now is the time they need to hold themselves accountable to do whatever it takes, providing it’s professional and ethical, to fill and maintain a full pipeline of qualified sales opportunities. It’s truly a time that requires all hands on deck.
Many field sales reps we work with are used to getting, rather than generating, leads. The ones who prosper in 2020 – and beyond – will be those who understand that now is the time to take personal responsibility for the entire sales process, including initial contact. This may require a real shift in mindset.
2. Find your customers’ compelling reasons to buy and create alignment.
Each segment of any market you are pursuing can be defined by the distinct business’ challenges and opportunities they face. Identify those difficulties experienced by decision-makers that leave them frustrated, uncertain, distressed, worried, anxious, concerned, or angry. Identify them, and you can begin closing the gap between where the buyer is now and where he or she wants to be.
Forget about features. Do the homework necessary to identify the specific pain points that exist or will exist for each prospect based on what’s currently happening in their world. Craft a message that carries a powerful emotional impact, and then create collateral that you can use effectively in virtual platforms like LinkedIn to start a discussion about that pain.
3. Understand the difference between “assertive” & “aggressive”.
They say desperate times call for desperate measures, and too many sales teams are taking this to heart right now.
Your prospects are facing a deluge of aggressive, desperate salespeople who are disrespectful of their time and generally assaulting them with calls.
Disrupt the notion of what people expect from the typical sales call. Demonstrate right off the bat that you have insights into their world and ideas that they might find of value avoid the “transactional trap” of jumping right into a tired sales pitch.
Consider the following initial approach:
“Bob, my name is Bill Taylor and I work with manufacturing companies to help them identify and pursue new markets. May I discuss this with you for a moment?”
“Many of the leaders I speak with in manufacturing recognize that Covid-19 is a game-changer and they’re looking for ideas focused on how to revise their go to market strategy.”
“I’m calling you today to see if you are having similar thoughts and would you be willing to discuss this with me for a few minutes?”
We can’t be perceived as better until we are perceived as different.
Be different from the typical “feature” focused salesperson by being prepared to engage in a conversation that is relevant to your prospect and couched in the current business climate.
Your face to face meetings may have been cancelled, but your personal and company-wide sales goals certainly haven't.
If you’re ready to start prospering during the tough times that are currently separating the order takers from the sales professionals, give us a call.