While the need is clearly urgent, there is plenty of time to do it right and ensure any training offered integrates well with the other key elements of overall sales effectiveness. This should not require a lengthy delay or otherwise encumber a timely response, and it will avoid a “one-off” feel to your response while supporting full adoption of new skills that will produce improved results.
Although selling virtually is different, it’s not that different. The degree of difference from what has been good practice for your business until now varies widely based on a number of factors (what business you are in, what you sell and who you sell to, the shape your sales process is in, etc.).
In fact, there are a variety of digital technologies that should be part of your virtual selling repertoire, but technical proficiency alone will not make the sale.
Actually, you can, but it takes a more thoughtful, deliberate, and planned approach.
Let’s clear up some of the confusion about what’s new and what’s not, and identify the best way to respond to the need.
We’ve heard the following challenges from our customers in recent weeks:
Let’s take a closer look at the weaknesses that have been illuminated by this sudden shift to selling virtually.
The organization may not have a clearly articulated sales process or may not consistently use the sales process already in place. The sales process may require updates based on how customers buy today.
Sales professionals may not be demonstrating effective use of the skills and behaviors that are necessary to execute each stage of the sales process, especially when selling virtually. Any existing weaknesses have been illuminated and are showstoppers when selling virtually.
The salesforce may lack the knowledge, skills, and techniques necessary to effectively use virtual meeting platform functionality and features, as well as the broader mix of tools necessary for virtual selling (e.g., multiple
platforms, social media, file sharing, email links, etc.).
The CRM and other sales enablement technology are not being used to support and reinforce effective execution of
the sales process and methodology (e.g., lack of integration, no adaptation to current reality, or poor adoption by
sales and sales management).
Wilson Learning’s response to these challenges encourages reinforcing and adapting counselor selling skills for selling virtually. Why are these skills so crucial in the new reality?
In fact, if you already have an embedded sales methodology, introducing new core selling skills to your sales professionals may send the wrong message:
Leveraging an existing sales methodology helps organizations:
Selling virtually brings its own set of unique new challenges. It also requires a heightened level of attention, discipline, and excellence to the use of all of the selling skills that have been part of selling effectively on site. There is less margin for error and no tolerance for winging it. The same heightened requirement applies to using an updated sales process to ensure that you are adding value at each step of your customer’s buying process.
In short, salespeople are required to be better at what they may already have been pretty good at and consistently so. It is well worth taking a half step back from launching a new virtual selling program in order to reinforce and carry forward the best of what you already have in place. This will ensure that the new virtual skills your salespeople are learning are anchored on the framework of your core sales methodology and a reapplied, if not reimagined, sales process.