How did your team perform while selling under the restrictions of the pandemic? If you responded with a shrug of the shoulders, then you are in the mainstream. Virtual selling, or at least many adaptations that accompany the practice, is likely to become permanent across industries. Going forward it is important to note that companies touting success in the practice found that coaching is a gamechanger for effective virtual selling.
The Korn Ferry consulting group conducted a virtual selling study to assess how sales organizations made the shift to virtual selling since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Not surprising was that those teams thought to be most effective came closest to achieving their revenue plans. In fact, 70% of the responding sales managers did not agree that their team was effective at virtual selling. Moreover, they found that coaching by sales management was a critical factor in pivoting to virtual selling.
Companies are still struggling, and many have not embraced this new way to sell. In a blog post, the Rain Group listed 18 challenges that sellers find most difficult. Realizing that coaching is required for effective virtual selling, you may want to note the highest ranked challenges and address them in your next coaching session.
Top virtual selling challenges
- “Gaining buyers’ attention and keeping them engaged virtually: 91%”
- “Changing buyers’ points of view on what’s possible or how to solve a problem: 89%”
- “Developing relationships with buyers virtually: 88%”
Selecting the proper tools, setting the stage with video and making a professional, well-lit background are starting points in the virtual selling environment. You and your reps must also address audio quality.
There are, of course, two sides to the virtual selling coin. Because coaching is required for effective virtual selling, you need to consider the buyers’ point of view:
- “Only 26% of buyers believe sellers are skilled at leading a thorough needs discovery virtually.”
- “34% of buyers report that sellers are skilled at showing them what’s possible or how to solve a problem.”
- “26% of buyers say sellers are competent listeners.”
Virtual meetings in whatever form they are conducted often require special skills and talents. But above all, they require practice and preparation. Knowing that coaching is required for effective virtual selling, you may want to address some of these common mistakes:
- Technology problems 89%
- Visuals: lacking or poor quality 86%
- Reps not being responsive to questions or concerns 84%
- Reps not being prepared 83%
- Lack of presentation skills on the part of the rep 80%
- Poorly written emails 80%
Even seasoned veterans of virtual selling can find this mode of selling difficult. Help your reps practice giving presentations and work with them on their writing skills. When they participate in virtual meetings fully prepared, they increase their credibility.
Coaching is Required for Effective Virtual Selling
To assist with your coaching, you can provide your team with this virtual selling checklist. It breaks down the process into the three categories of selling, meeting technology and productivity. Add it to your toolbox and remind yourself that coaching is required for effective virtual selling. Through this kind of coaching, your reps will succeed.
Photo by Jamie Templeton on Unsplash