In unprecedented and uncharted times, comes a need to be agile, to move with the times, to “pivot” your strategy to client engagement–
Many organisations with sales teams have their biggest resource sitting off the road, waiting for direction and a way forward. Many are proactively seeking to have these well-trained sales professionals who are competent in face to face or group engagement, switch straight across to a virtual offering.
This desire is even stronger for organisations who measure the “success” of their sales team by activity (we might need to take that conversation offline I think, as if I share my views on this, I might lose a few of you now!).
Having completed some work recently in organisations that have already attempted to move this way (a couple well before the threat of COVID 19), I thought I would raise a few considerations for sales leader. It is not as simple as one replacing the other– it’s not a “click of the fingers”.
Some food for thought…
Come up with a non-face to face strategy– not just a “virtual one”! You need to equip your team with both capability and options to engage. Everyone seems ready to jump straight to “virtual” meaning Zoom, or Teams, Webex or Veeva Live, Skype, Facetime or even Augmented/Virtual reality etc., however, this is only one element of the strategy.
Email and the good old phone are useful tools. Changing your strategy to adapt to the virtual environment is crucial, and your team must be equipped in this space.
Let’s be honest– not every client is going to agree to a “virtual” sales call or group meeting, just because you want one.
Be VERY cognisant of what is going on in the customer’s world! Especially now! Think of it from their perspective.
If there is no value in WHY you want time with them, you will be quickly removed from the “engage” list in your clients’ business. So, if your marketing campaigns and sales direction still focus on message delivery and “noise”, you may well be sitting on the sidelines very quickly.
There must be value for the customer to engage with your team. Long term, if you miss this crucial point, the results could be terminal for your ongoing engagement and even your ability to reengage if and when things return to normal (is there a new normal?).
Training is the key to success!! Experience in this space has taught us that you will get ONE chance if you are lucky to engage this way. If you do it poorly, you will not get another. So, before you jump, think things through.
The upside is that if done well – you will create opportunities! Plan it and get help to support your team. Don’t sit in your sales leadership virtual ivory tower (or lounge room as it now may be) just expecting your team to be able to execute.
Poor execution due to limited capability in all areas of your “non-face to face” engagement is a recipe for short and long term challenges. While it may surprise you– not everyone knows how to write a well-constructed email, or make an appropriate phone call, or plan and execute a virtual call.
So, with that in mind here is what youneed to think about in any transition, in terms of your team’s development:
- A mindset to change– Overcoming negativity or concern. There WILL be members of your team with call reluctance on the phone and in the virtual space.
- Resilience– they will get knocked back!
- How to write an email that creates an opportunity for a virtual call– it must suggest value.
- Phone manner– both the gatekeeper and eventually, the targeted client need to be considered here.
- Understand the clients business– WHO will facilitate you making a virtual or phone-based call?
- Leveraging client relationships
- Platform training– your team, must be GREAT and practised before they make a virtual call. If they are not, TRAIN THEM to be strong here.
- The virtual sales call training (the execution)
- Environment prep
- The YOU prep (mindset and BL)
- Setting expectations with the client (time, expectations, agendas, interruptions)
- How to engage
- Body language, tone, intent and agenda– creating the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)
- Creating a two-sided interaction with the limitations of a virtual call
- Lag and active listening
- Managing interruptions
- Staging and visuals– as crucial as ever, but MUST be used differently
- Creating an opportunity
- The “Group” virtual call (application of all the above)
Let us know if we can help you navigate this for your most valuable asset– your people. Our virtual or online offering to support you is a mere “FaceTime discussion” away.
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