How to Close Deals in a Virtual Environment

The business world has been completely transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic - almost overnight, employees everywhere found themselves having to work remotely, settling into home offices and relying solely on cloud technology to do their jobs. For the foreseeable future, the majority of offices will have to rely on working remotely in order to minimize the risk of employees and customers getting sick. As a result of the new work from home model, solutions like G Suite, Office 365 and Zoom have become even more popular than ever before thanks to their ability to seamlessly connect employees with clients and partners.

The role of salespeople, a traditionally social job, has been one of the most significantly affected positions. The pandemic has eliminated the possibility of meeting clients face-to-face, forcing sales teams to conduct business in other ways. Rather than taking clients out for the ever popular steak dinner and drinks, the “new normal” means that sales people now have to meet with clients in a completely virtual environment. Taking things virtual has removed the ability of your salespeople to do things like accurately read body language that make selling more difficult.

The sales game has been changed completely, and there’s no end in sight. Whether you like it or not, your sales staff are going to need to weather this storm. It’s not all bad news, however. Modern workplace technology solutions make it easy for teams to collaborate and communicate with colleagues and clients, making the transition to a digital sales environment far less painful. With the right tools and strategies in place, your sales teams will be able to excel in the virtual environment and eventually transition back to face-to-face sales.

Cloud technology makes collaboration and communication easy

In order to succeed in this new virtual work environment, your team needs to be equipped with the right tools for the job. Just because your workforce isn’t in the office, doesn’t mean they can’t work with each other and maintain an open line of communication. 

Cloud workplace solutions make it easy for your remote sales teams to interact with each other without putting themselves and others at risk. Not only are cloud solutions a safer way for your employees to work from home, but they also offer enhanced flexibility to your employees. No matter where they’re located or what time they’re working, your sales staff can access important files and work in real-time with colleagues without missing a beat.

Video and audio calls can be launched in an instant with tools like Google Meet, Zoom, Slack, and others, connecting your sales staff with clients all around the world, allowing them to sell in much the same way they would in a traditional face-to-face environment. While these sales calls can be jarring at first, your salespeople will quickly adapt to the change and be able to do things like read body language and detect changes in tone to help them sell more accurately. These calls are then stored in cloud-based CRM solutions, which make it much easier for employees to access data about previous customer interactions and histories, their preferences, and so much more. With a cloud-based CRM, your staff can instantly launch and receive calls, send out follow-ups, and so much more, all from the comfort of their home office.

Office suites like G Suite and Office 365 allow your salespeople to collaborate with each other in documents, spreadsheets and presentations, making it easy for teams to create strong business proposals and pitches, and to better refine important sales presentations. Not only can your teams collaborate seamlessly, but tools like Slack and Google Meet allow for easy internal communication. Whether you’re holding regular sales meetings to celebrate successes or building morale by sharing memes, images and videos with your team, internal communication has never been easier.

Customer needs have drastically changed

The pandemic has drastically altered the budgets of companies and as a result, their needs have been completely transformed. If your company has experienced a downturn in business, you are not alone. This change in needs and spending abilities means that B2B clients simply can’t afford things like upsells at the moment, nor will their new spending habits reflect what was once considered to be “normal” - at least not for the foreseeable future.

Rather than trying to sell a bill of goods that clients can’t afford (or don’t require), now is the time to really pay attention to actual needs of customers. By analyzing requests and responding to them with genuine solutions, your team will be able to generate far more sales than they would if they were simply selling a package of pre-assembled goods and services. Not only will your sales people be able to sell more effectively this way, but they’ll earn valuable goodwill in the process.

Managers need to understand that during these unprecedented times, the “new normal” is anything but. Selling is more difficult now than perhaps ever before, and the expectations of managers should reflect that. Quotas should be relaxed or changed entirely in order to properly reflect this new atmosphere and take unnecessary pressure off your already stressed employees. Managers are also encouraged to celebrate wins of all shapes and sizes - new deals should be recognized during team meetings, and exceptional performers should be celebrated in order to keep morale high.

Now is the time for building deeper customer relationships

Rather than adding unnecessary stress to your employees by emphasizing high sales figures or run the risk of alienating clients by trying to upsell to them, you should highlight the importance of building deeper customer relationships. Your salespeople have the technology solutions and the time needed to communicate more with clients, allowing them to get a better feel for how the pandemic has affected their business, and ultimately letting them determine current client needs and their post-pandemic wants. Focusing on relationships is the best way for salespeople to spend their extra time right now - it’s an activity that costs almost nothing, but will pay off in a major way once the pandemic subsides and business returns to normal. Clients will remember the extra attention they received, and are far more likely to give your salespeople the time of day once company needs and budgets return to their pre-pandemic normal.

In order to measure how effectively employees are spending their time selling and nurturing client relationships, managers can use business insights offered by solutions like Prodoscore, which seamlessly integrates with your entire workplace tech stack to measure employee productivity in near real-time. Not only will business insights show you how effectively employees are working, but it’ll also allow you to replicate top employees and improve coaching to help you better improve revenue results. You can also use the tool to strengthen the adoption of cloud tools in this post-COVID world, ensuring that all salespeople are making use of the technology solutions available to them.

The “new normal” is here to stay for the foreseeable future, meaning that the sooner you embrace the new virtual environment, the more successful your sales teams will be. Using cloud tools to enhance collaboration and communication will improve productivity, efficiency, and employee morale by allowing them to connect with colleagues and clients seamlessly. Shifting the focus from sales volume to better understanding client needs and nurturing relationships ensures that clients will be here to stay for the long-term, and far more ready to work with you once the world returns to normal.

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