The B2C world has been rubbing off on B2B for quite some time… learn more

Unlike some occupations that require in-person presence, the role of sales has been moving toward online solutions for a while.

Even without a global pandemic, we live in a world where you can go online, buy anything from a car to fresh produce, and expect same day delivery right at your front door..

It was only a matter of time before B2B buyers started to exhibit the same behaviours as B2C.

The current situation just expedited the need to evolve if we want to continue to do business.

There is a heightened fight for customers now more than ever…

Great web conferencing platforms are within everyone’s reach but do not make the mistake of thinking that technology is all you need.

Attention and engagement are hard enough to get in a face-to-face meeting.

It’s even harder online especially if you are reduced to being a thumbnail image on a conferencing app.

With limited attention, comes less engagement

Closing complex, high-value deals require you to influence the decision-making part of your buyer’s brain.

Getting maximum engagement is now a basic requirement. 

But how can salespeople evolve faster without facing the risk of failure, pro-longed buying decisions and cold deals?

These top tips to sharpen your online sales skills will fast track you to close deals online faster by eliminating risks.

Tip 1. Establish an online blueprint

To be able to sell online you need to work out what your strategy is and importantly to stick to it.

Having a structured sales funnel is crucial, especially in a virtual environment.

Every salesman needs a plan for what they should be accomplishing each day, e.g. who should they be contacting, when, and with what goal in mind?

Should they use email or phone?

Other means are also available without the exception of cold callings such as LinkedIn and networking platforms. Either way, each salesman must have goals, an activity plan, and a coach to keep him or her focused.

Your sales channels must also be included

  • Are your services and products relevant to be sold online or do you have a physical store?
  • Are you clear on what your “call to action” would be for these channels?
  • Do you know what actions are required to move closer to the buying decision?

The first order of business should be to quickly determine which category each opportunity falls into their pipeline.

Given the market uncertainty, salespeople are naturally prioritizing driving an active pipeline to closure over building a new pipeline.

Quickly identifying opportunities that can still be driven to closure will ensure their time is spent on where it can move the needle the most in this environment.

Also consider on how you manage the stages of the sales process:

In a virtual sales environment, these critical processes are much more difficult unless the process is clear to everyone and your work-from-home tools are set up to support your reps.

Another tip to sharpen your online sales skills…

Tip 2: There is an old saying, “What gets measured gets done.”

If you are at home, your sales team is at home, and your customers are at home, how do you measure what needs to get done?

If you have Microsoft Dynamics 365 , you have built-in charts and dashboards to help you.

You also may have Power BI, which gives you incredible reporting and measurement capability.

Measure and inspect what you expect and provide feedback to your team regularly.

Tip 3: Provide value from the first minute

It’s never been more important to start a meeting by delivering value.

Steer clear from questions such as “what’s keeping you up at night” as they are sure to cause eye-rolling, or worse—losing interest completely. 

Buyers hear comments like these everyday – don’t be like your competitor.

Instead, lead with the unique perspective you have from dealing with dozens of companies like the one you’re speaking with.

Discovery is important, but only after you’ve established value.

Start the meeting with a fresh idea or unique challenge you’ve identified through working in your prospect’s industry.

Doing so will:

  • Deliver value from the start so people will see the benefit of paying attention
  • Frame the discussion in an area where you offer unique value
  • Create a safe space for prospects to admit they have a problem

Tip 4. Gain and retain their attention

According to a survey done by Corporate Visions, out of 300 B2B salespeople, 42% of sellers try to “reduce irritation” by keeping the conversation verbal only.

And 46 percent of sellers add only minimal irritation, asking prospects to use a web link to virtually walk through a sales deck.

The problem is, by not asking your audience to do anything, you are making it easier for them to tune out.

By adding some irritation can often lead to a more productive conversation

Asking a prospect to write down some words or draw a picture increases message effectiveness, seller credibility and information recall.

Buyers will only remember about 10% of what you said 48 hours later.

So, it’s more about identifying your most important “10% message,” and designing your sales deck so your prospects will stay engaged and remember your message when it’s time to buy.

 Tip5: Build the right story and tell it the right way

A presentation that was designed to be delivered in person simply won’t work in an online web conference.

To break through distractions and hold your audience’s attention, you need to build a presentation that’s both engaging and memorable.

Storytelling is a highly effective way of relaying your message effectively!

Remember to:

  1. Make it personal – this enables the buyer to build empathy towards the seller and they become part of the story. Read my previous blog
  2. Adapt your story, using science-backed techniques to build interaction and rapport with your buyers.  
The Power of Storytelling

During online meetings, participants tend to multi-task, which results in very little interaction, making it more difficult to build relationships.

I hope that these top 5 tips to sharpen your online sales skills will benefit you as we embark on the new normal that is here to stay.

Learn more about Virtual Selling Systems.

Your sales coach at TAFSE

Munene Nel

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