At present, the pandemic has affected the everyday lives of people across the globe. The quarantine has forced people to stay indoors, this has encouraged many companies to operate remotely. Businesses are putting efforts into improving their remote operations to maintain business continuity. Covid-19 has affected all industries including marketing and sales. B2B selling has changed and companies are trying to adapt to these changes.
According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, on the changing B2B sales amidst the current crises, customers are now preferring digital interactions over traditional interactions. They are relying more on live chat to research suppliers and ordering through mobile apps. The report further determined that 96% of B2B sales teams have shifted to remote selling. Almost 65% of B2B decision-makers say that remote selling is more effective now than ever before.
Companies are now embracing the new work culture that allows virtual sales to keep the business functioning. The transition to remote selling will require some changes in the operations of your sales team. Sales teams need to embrace sales technology to improve productivity and efficiency. Remote selling is going to continue, even though many companies are now opening their offices. As the nature of this crisis is unpredictable, working remotely is the new normal. So, let’s find out how B2B companies can help their sales team be more successful in remote selling.
Find out more about how the B2B selling is changing. Take a look at our blog on How Has B2B Changed during Covid-19? And How Can We Adapt To These Changes
How has the work culture changed during this pandemic?
Remote selling has brought about a change in work culture. According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work Report, remote workers are 29% happier in their jobs compared to on-site workers. Many companies who were not doing remote selling before Covid-19, are realizing that working at home makes employees productive and happy. Employees can be more relaxed with these flexible work policies.
The change in work culture has made the remote sales teams happy and productive, but it has also put pressure on them to keep up with the changing times. They have to get accustomed to using various tools for virtual selling. Sales team members should also collaborate and communicate with each other to work together. In this situation, the manager is the person who can ensure that the sales team is trained and is communicating regularly. Managers need to oversee this entire process to make their teams more efficient.
Here are some ways for how managers can help sales teams adapt to remote selling.
Best Practices That Remote Sales Teams Can Adopt
For a remote team to function effectively, communication is the most important part. According to HubSpot’s 2019 Remote Work Report, 29% of remote workers say that communicating with other team members is a big challenge. It is not possible to get all team members available at the same time unless it’s a virtual meeting. You can rely on asynchronous communication to have clear communication with your team.
When you have asynchronous communication, team members don’t feel the pressure to always be available or give any rushed answers. Each team member might be working on their own tasks and would not always have the time to give immediate responses. In situations where the response is not immediately required, the team can communicate through tools like emails, Google Docs, on Slack, or whichever tool you prefer to use. This can help you have more productive and thorough discussions. The team member can respond to any question thoughtfully instead of a rushed response. It can also be a good way to keep a record of your conversations.
Create a Schedule
Although we discussed the importance of asynchronous communication, you also need to make sure you have a schedule in place for virtual meetings. You can set a fixed meeting schedule to discuss business on a daily basis. This can allow the team to discuss daily tasks, progress, ideas, etc. It can promote trust between team members and allow them to be more efficient.
Along with virtual team meetings you can also do one-on-one meetings with each team member. This is just to connect with them and check in with them on how they are coping. This can be a challenge if you have many team members and you might not be able to give all of the time every week. You can work out a schedule where you can make sure to communicate with two team members a week. This will help you connect with your team and your team will appreciate the effort you make to communicate with them. This can especially be helpful for those sales reps who are hesitant about remote work and thrive on human interactions.
Training the Team
As the customers are preferring digital interactions more, it is important to stay relevant to them. Traditionally, in B2B sales customers prefer face-to-face interactions. You can still provide them a face-to-face interaction through virtual meetings. Now customers are using their mobile apps more to research products, therefore you need to find ways to communicate with them on these preferred channels.
According to McKinsey & Company, companies that provide a great digital experience have two times more chance of becoming the primary supplier. Sales teams need to learn about various tools that can easily help them connect with their customers. This can help them engage with their customers better and answer any queries.
Sales teams should also be trained to recognize high-value accounts and invest in them. In the times where everything is uncertain, it is important to avoid any waste of resources, whether it's time or money. Train your sales team to understand the importance of quality over quantity. This will enable them to spend resources only on high-value customers and potential opportunities.
Set Clear Goals
In order to lead the team effectively, you need to make sure that you set clear goals for them. Because of remote work sometimes there can be miscommunication, which can impact your work negatively. When you are setting goals for the team, make sure that the goals are clear and can be measured through KPIs. The team has to have a clear idea of what they are working toward. Once you communicate your goals through KPIs there will be no room for misinterpretation. This can also help the sales team to measure the data. This data can be discussed among team members. With these discussions, you can find out which areas need more work and how certain sales processes can be optimized.
The new remote culture is different for each company. To find out what works best for your team you can take feedback from your team members to see which methods are working for them. Once you allow open discussion, team members can discuss their issues. These issues can be about them finding it hard to communicate or if they need more technical training, etc. Resolving these issues can help them be more productive and satisfied. This will help boost the overall performance of your team, and ultimately lead your business to success.
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