A precursory search for “virtual sales” reveals a plethora of information regarding virtual reality headsets. And honestly, VR headsets are a great metaphor for the actual phenomenon of virtual sales. I remember that just a few years ago, the concept of virtual reality was innovative and mind-blowing. It was one of those fancy pipe dreams reserved for more tech-driven countries like Japan or South Korea, though it was predicted to make way in the U.S. sometime soon.
But virtual reality in and of itself wasn’t the innovation. I had a communications professor explain it as a technology to enhance our current reality, not necessarily to alter it or create a new one altogether. Using a VR/AR headset, billboards could come to life, “Google augmented reality goggles” could explain exactly what you were looking at, and your everyday experience would be altogether streamlined by the convenience of information summoned straight to your face and applied to what was already within your vision.
Virtual sales, also a recent phenomenon, has functioned in a similar way. The advent of more virtual sales methods hasn’t replaced the salesperson completely. Contrary to popular belief, AI can’t take care of everything. Instead, virtual sales are the application of technologies that have changed the way that we sell.
The Dawning of Virtual Sales
Salesforce’s most recent “State of Sales” report revealed that salespeople’s time spent in front of a screen has increased 62% in the past three years. Consequently, the time spent connecting virtually with customers and prospects has increased by 60%. As a result, the structure of hiring and sales teams is changing too.
Virtual sales enhancements have streamlined the sales process so much, that in many cases a salesperson doesn’t necessarily need to come into an office every day. This has resulted in an unprecedented rise in remote work, now that we have the technology to stay connected and work from almost wherever we want.
While all of this makes selling more convenient, it can make tracking your team’s progress a little more tricky. Fortunately, there are several technological tools to help with that as well so that you can have the convenience of virtual sales and still maintain consistent monitoring of various metrics across the board.
The era of virtual sales really boils down to the fact that we live in a time of unprecedented digital engagement. Technology connects us quickly and easily, but that hasn’t made the ability to relate to customers obsolete. Instead, virtual sales have transformed the ways we are able to relate to customers, and for lack of better term, “manage” our relationships with them.
Managing relationships means keeping track of quite a bit of data, which is another aspect of the virtual world that is growing exponentially. Thus, it’s more important than ever that your company has a consistently accessible and functional CRM system, preferably one that can be accessed remotely with fewer extra downloads or installations
Selling virtually may cut down on your water-cooler gossip time, but it doesn’t eliminate teamwork altogether. Virtual selling connects us not only more thoroughly to our customers, but also to our team members. Cloud collaboration software such as GSuite makes teaming up for virtual sales a breeze. Cloud software also backs up all of your data so that you don’t have to. Instead of accessing multiple versions of the same documents.
Matthew Samuel of Prodoscore explains that “remote employee monitoring means that everyone is on the same page.” Virtual selling, because of its reliance on data, really does depend on every member of the team being on the same page. Tools like cloud collaboration are what make it possible to turn those pages so that the sales pipeline proceeds smoothly.
Another key to success in virtual sales is monitoring productivity so that progress can be made. Sales expert Jon Yu compares team monitoring to the personal training process. Personal trainers often have clients record what they eat, keep a log of their workouts, and even take progress photos to ensure that the method is working. Consistent monitoring, Yu explains, “is the only way to truly capture whether your process is delivering results, and why.
In a virtual age, it only makes sense to use virtual tools to track the progress of virtual sales. Software like Prodoscore can integrate with the other tools your team uses to generate a productivity score and provide a report including the time spent on various tasks. That way, if you can catch opportunities to improve just as quickly--if not more so--than in a traditional office environment.
Conquering a New Era
What are you waiting for? Don’t let the futuristic concepts of virtual selling intimidate you. Instead, use virtual tools to enhance the sales experience so that you can keep up and conquer the new technologically based era of sales.