Optimize Sales Performance for the Hybrid Revolution

BY Kathy Crosett
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What we thought was temporary has now been adopted as an everyday sales practice. Businesses are saving money by selling virtually and participating in the “hybrid revolution.” They can improve employee loyalty by cutting their travel schedules and they can point to a reduced carbon footprint because their employees are working from remote locations more frequently.

The Hybrid Revolution

You may have established a few stopgap practices when COVID-​19 first appeared on the scene. Now these practices are becoming standardized, In fact, Gartner analysts tell us that we can call our current work situation a hybrid revolution. And this adjustment to the way we work will create huge changes similar to those that took place during the industrial revolution and the initial adoption of the internet.

With up to 30% of the workforce likely to be carrying out their tasks from a remote location by 2024, the change will be particularly noticeable for sales professionals. As a result, nearly 3/​4 of chief sales officers are emphasizing virtual selling skills for their reps.

The Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute at the Texas A&M University published "The Big Questions on Chief Sales Officers’ Minds" report earlier this year. They point out that revenue streams from in-​person sales still rule, but B2B e‑commerce is accounting for a growing percentage of revenue.

Partnership with Other Departments

This shift in activity means the sales department may need to work more closely with marketing professionals to track how leads come into the organization and who is responsible for moving these leads through the organization.

As a sales leader, you may need to assess how your prospective buyers prefer to do business. Our Voice of the Buyer survey panelists show exactly how much they now use technology to vet potential vendors very early in their decision-​making process.

At least 28% of buyers have conducted research on the various suppliers and vendor options. That same percentage then creates a short list of the most viable solutions before reaching out to anyone. They’re looking for specific details. For example, 40% want to see evidence of experience with customers in the prospect’s line of business. And buyers, like everyone else, want to know about your company’s reputation. Over 39% seek out customer ratings and reviews on social media.

This new trend is your signal to work hand in hand with the marketing department to ensure that the right content is posted on your site and online about your organization. If you don’t continue to post and monitor the online content about your organization, your sales reps will face challenges getting prospects to return their calls or emails.

Gartner recommends that chief sales officers “[p]artner with cross-​functional, commercial stakeholders (e.g., marketing, service and support) to build a pervasive and consistent digital experience.”

Improve Hybrid Work with More Technology and Training

With members of your sales team continuing to be part of the hybrid revolution, there may be technology challenges that you were willing to overlook during what we expected would be a temporary situation. If you’ve committed to allowing sales reps and their technical engineers to continue to work remotely, you’ll want to ensure the prospects they’re working with are experiencing high-​quality interactions.

You may need to invest in better connectivity for some employees who experience those dreaded screen freezes and call drops. Keep in mind that every video call is an opportunity to make a good impression. Part of that impression starts with branding. Are you requiring your reps to use a background image that presents the company logo? Consistency counts and using a logo is an opportunity to remind prospects visually about who you are and what you do.

And team members should practice their calls and outreach to determine who will take the lead and what the objective will be for each touchpoint. These details come more naturally during in-​person calls. By asking your team to polish up their digital outreach skills and offer a consistent experience, you’re ensuring that your reps won’t miss the opportunity to make their numbers during the hybrid revolution.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels