Selling in 2020, and the Salesperson of the Future
Adapting to the pandemic
Although we have always promoted part-remote working for our sales team, the change to working practices has been a real eye opener and we’ve introduced tools and new ways of working that are hugely positive. For customer and partner engagement, our operations have become more time and cost-efficient with less travel and more capacity for voice and video meetings. So rather than one or two meetings in person, our team is engaging in five or six online sales calls per day.
We can react faster, with internal and external meetings called quickly when needed – and global relationships are improving as a result. We are of course fortunate to have been able to support the sales team and maintain customer experience levels using our own iCall Suite call monitoring, recording and callback analytics.
Long-term impact on selling behaviour
Things have changed radically over the past six months and many of these changes will be long term. Whilst we will obviously go back to more face-to-face meetings, video is going to continue to be an important part of the sales mix. Ultimately, however, the way we engage with customers in the future will be driven by their needs. Giving them that choice is powerful.
We have found that if anything, video has brought us closer together. I think large portions of the channel initially felt a little awkward about being on video calls throughout the day. However, our team is having more contact with prospects and customers with discussions being more relaxed and natural than they ever were before. It is far more difficult to wear a corporate mask when sitting in your home, with interruptions by family and pets adding further layers of informality and closeness.
This human connection is key. Video delivers greater transparency into another person’s life. You have been given access into their private home which is very different to meeting in an office, hotel lobby or café. In this new world, effective salespeople will be capitalising on how regular video calls can help to establish a rapport and cultivate lasting relationships.
However, it is vital that the technology works. If someone’s camera doesn’t work or is switched off, it can make conversations one sided or uncomfortable unless you know that person well. The expectation is that you need to be seen, and the quality of that connection needs to be good.
Have the key principles of selling changed?
The art of selling will always be the same, but many principles are amplified when selling over video. Know your customer, ensure the content is relevant and interesting and not least, start and finish on time.
The number of participants is another a key factor. Presenting over video to more than five participants can become impersonal and clumsy, so presenting styles need to be tailored accordingly.
The etiquette is also evolving. It is interesting to see that in larger meetings, when someone is doing a presentation, attendees are turning off their cameras so that the presenter can take centre stage and be the focus of attention.
And for sales supervisors, recording video discussions is a major bonus. Reviewing a recorded discussion is invaluable for training purposes. Supervisors can assess performance as well as check that customers and prospects receive a good quality experience particularly when video discussions are held over unreliable home internet connections.