Research Reveals Best Strategy For Virtual Sales Meetings

by | 2 minute read

Technology has made it possible for salespeople to conduct meetings with someone in an entirely different part of the world. Virtual sales meetings are increasingly common, and reps are adjusting to the new normal of remotely connecting with prospects.

A challenge with virtual meetings is being remarkable and memorable while being physically absent from the room. Which approach is most effective: Voice only? PowerPoint? Audience participation?  Corporate Visions’ Tim Riesterer discusses findings from a recent study [PDF] done in collaboration with the International Journal of Sales Transformation. The study focused on the effectiveness of four approaches to virtual meetings:

  • Listen-only
  • Listen and watch only (PowerPoint, Web cam, etc.)
  • Listen, watch and take notes
  • Listen and draw as directed

One measured outcome was attitude/disposition, which included the audience’s perception of uniqueness, trusted advisor status, how compelling the call was, and how likely it was to produce a meeting. “Across these areas, the listen and draw approach consistently performed the best,” Riester reports. “Interestingly, the listen only approach held its own against the others and consistently outperformed the listen and watch approach, which regularly finished last by a wide margin.” The findings show that reps’ vocal leaderships, along with audience engagement, can boost the audience’s positive perception of the meeting and its content.

This idea is also supported by another measured outcome: how well the audience could recall and retell what it heard. The results showed that again, the “listen and watch” approach lagged behind the others. Both strategies that encouraged interaction with the audience were most effective.

The study shows that salespeople need to get contacts beyond passive on their phone or web-based calls,” Riester writes. “To stand out in these environments, reps need more than a verbal-only approach, which leads to less engagement and recall of your message.” Reps will likely have to adjust their virtual meeting strategies, as currently, 87% of reps engage prospects or customers with visuals either rarely or not at all on their calls.

There’s major opportunity to boost the effectiveness of virtual meetings by encouraging audience interaction. The research clearly shows the positive impact of engagement. As Riester stresses, “The research shows that getting your audience participating in some way – whether by taking notes or drawing a simple, concrete visual as directed – can give you an edge over less experiential approaches.”

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.