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B2B selling has significantly shifted from an offline to an online model. Virtual selling is no more a foreign concept but simply the norm. There is no denying that remote working will stay around for a long time.

Here is a definitive guide with the best tips for B2B sales leaders to shift to virtual selling.


What is virtual selling?

The term "virtual selling" or "remote selling" describes any aspect of the sales experience that is conducted online rather than in-person with the customer.

65%

It is estimated that 65% of North American buyers work remotely more than half the time.

— LinkedIn

So virtual communication is the best method of interacting with them. Salespeople share the same preference.

91%

When asked how they would like to work in the future, 91% of salespeople indicated they do not want to return to a full-time office job.

— The Center for Sales Strategy

A long-term focus on virtual selling requires a committed strategy, skill set, and tools. Whether you are new to virtual selling or have already taken the plunge, in this guide we cover every virtual selling tip you need to know.


The challenges of remote selling

Sales meetings allow you to discuss problems & answer questions by creating an environment that makes prospects feel comfortable and cared for.

88%

Over 88% of sellers say that building relationships with buyers is difficult in a virtual environment.

— Rain Sales Training

The survey “Virtual Reality Check” was conducted to shed light on virtual meetings and remote sales opportunities. They mentioned that limited interactions, customer distractibility, multitasking, and passive presentations were the main reasons behind their lack of confidence.

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In our research, we observe that virtual presenters are aware of the importance of sustaining focus and driving decisions. But they must become equally aware of the importance of being memorable in a virtual medium. In our most recent research, we found that people remembered less than 10% of the virtual content they viewed after 48 hours.

— Dr. Carmen Simon, Chief Science Officer at Corporate Visions



Need for virtual selling in 2021

During the pandemic, virtual selling became selling. Business models changed at a rapid pace, making virtual selling the breadwinner. And there’s no going back.

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Sales leaders have realized that it is unrealistic to assume that all the practices of a live meeting can be transferred into a virtual setting seamlessly. To be competitive in the virtual world, they must prepare their sales teams with proper training.

In a Boston Consulting Group survey of 1,500 senior executives, 94% admitted to experimenting with new business models. As a result, the purchase process is more involved for the buyer.


Virtual selling best practices

Virtual Selling has become synonymous with selling because of the ongoing pandemic and social distancing regulations. It has become a crucial part of every business plan and essential to an organization's survival.

Unlike short-lived trends that disappear once the crisis is over, virtual selling will not go away with time. Virtual selling has now been embraced by many businesses because of its many benefits.

In order to remain competitive and successful, B2B companies must adopt a virtual sales model. These 9 tips will help you get it right:

1.

Set your digital sales goals

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It is first important to understand your customers, their pain points, and how you can persuade them to buy your product. It's important that your product helps them solve the problems that they are currently facing.

Your B2B sales plan must be based on a thorough understanding of the B2B market. You’ve got to identify prospects, learn their pain points, and show them how your product can be beneficial to them.

  • Identify prospects from existing leads: Qualify existing leads to choose the ones that have the potential to convert.
  • Find new leads: Research new markets to find new leads and plan unique strategies to convert them
  • Segment your leads: Create different lead groups based on various parameters and insights you’ve gathered about them
  • Company research: Your B2B buyers must be using similar products or even outdated products or services. Your product/ service could be just what they need.
  • Plan your pitch and interactions: How much time are you ready to invest in these lead groups? How many times will you call them? What’s the pitch?
  • Outline sales targets: Set sales targets based on the location and talent of your virtual sales team. Also, consider the types of leads they are assigned.
  • Plan a sales budget to achieve your goals: Do you need to spend on new recruits and training, invest in sales tools, attend trade shows, etc? List them out.

Unlike B2C customers who make purchase decisions alone, B2B customers have to consult with their colleagues, bosses, and sometimes even investors to make a purchase.

The B2B sales process takes longer, maybe months or years. Therefore, having sales targets set along with realistic time frames to achieve them becomes crucial.

Virtual selling tools you can use to plan your digital sales: Hubspot, Salesforce,Pipedrive, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, Sendinblue, Mailchimp, Mailjet

2.

Choose the best channels to reach your customers

Choosing the right tools and channels throughout your virtual selling journey can give you a competitive edge. Since everyone works from home, the days of printouts and hard copy project reports are over.

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Information is now stored in the cloud, sales tasks are automated, and most meetings take place online.

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Here is a list of some of the best virtual sales channels/ technologies that you can use.

  • Video conferencing

    Video conferencing solutions can help you hold a one-on-one or group video call with prospects or customers worldwide. Your buyer will remain engaged and you can then determine the next steps based on their body language.

    Tools: WebEx, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google meet

  • Email marketing automation

    89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. — HubSpot

    Email marketing automation involves sending triggered, timed, or targeted emails to subscribers. It enables online marketers to send personalized messages on a schedule or based on certain conditions to both prospects and customers.

    Tools: Sendinblue, Mailchimp, Mailjet

The $492 billion global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional eCommerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025.

Accenture Newsroom, 2022

In 2022, US social commerce sales are expected to reach $45.74 billion, with more than half of the country’s adults making a purchase on social media.

Insider Intelligence, 2022

Facebook is the top social commerce platform in the US, boasting 56.1 million buyers in 2021. Instagram follows second with 32.4 million.

Insider Intelligence, 2022

LinkedIn is 3x more trustworthy than other social networks.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Accenture’s 2022 study predicts that the global social commerce industry growth would be primarily driven by Gen Z (1997 – 2012) and Millennial (1981 – 1996) social media users, accounting for 62% of global social commerce spending by 2025.

They are the decision-makers of the future if not already! And so, it’s important that they know your brand and trust it. So how do you reach them?

Approximately 87 million millennials are on LinkedIn.

Adweek

59.9% of LinkedIn’s users are between 25 and 34 years old.

Hootsuite

LinkedIn is the most widely used social media platform among the Fortune 500.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

94% of B2B marketers benefit from Content Marketing on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

80% of all B2B leads from social media, come from LinkedIn.

The Sales Burn-out Survival Guide

Through social selling, salespeople can contact existing and prospective customers through their social networks.

Sales Navigator, LinkedIn’s social selling platform, empowers sales professionals to effectively target, understand, and engage their buyers.

With this approach, B2B sales reps can target new prospects and strengthen their relationships with existing clients. On the other hand, your LinkedIn profile allows prospects to decide your credibility and ability to meet their needs. So, it’s a win-win situation for both.


The pandemic showed how much people use social platforms as the entry point for everything they do online. The steady rise in time spent on social media reflects how essential these platforms are in our daily life. They’re reshaping how people buy and sell, which provides platforms and brands with new opportunities for user experiences and revenue streams.

— Robin Murdoch, global Software & Platforms industry lead at Accenture.


Social selling channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Social media management tools: SocialPilot, HootSuite, ShareIt, Buzzsumo

3.

Automate your sales process

Sales Automation Software for B2B businesses automates repetitive, tedious, and often overlooked tasks. This allows deals to move forward smoothly. As a result, it optimizes efforts, improves productivity, and increases sales performance.

451%

Businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

— Annuitas Group

You must move through an elaborate sales funnel to sell to B2B clients. B2B customers usually take months to convert from being attracted to becoming customers. By automating the process, conversion rates can rise more quickly.

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With email automation, you can send targeted emails to clients when they sign up for your newsletter or like your Facebook page.

Instead of mass-producing impersonal experiences, automation allows you to scale personalization. This frees up your salespeople to focus more on strategy, creativity, and engagement.

Prospecting and qualifying leads require a lot of time and energy from your sales teams.

40%

Over 40% of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).

— HubSpot

Using an AI-driven sales platform, your B2B sales teams can spend more time interacting with qualified leads. They search a million websites, gather information, and then forward only the most useful contacts to sales. It increases lead generation and improves prospecting.

30%

AI cuts your customer service costs by about 30% while ensuring instant communication with customers.

— Chatbots Magazine

Therefore, AI chatbots are a common part of customer service these days.

They can answer common questions and retrieve customer contact information that can be used by a representative to get in touch with them. As an example, you could add a feature that pops up during the reading of an article and ask the reader if they enjoyed it.

Tools to automate your sales process: Salesforce InfusionSoft, HubSpot, Marketing Optimizer, Pardot, Marketo

4.

Create an engagement plan

Sales engagement refers to the interaction between a salesperson and their potential customers during the selling process.

Beyond product demos, case studies, and marketing collaterals, B2B buyers expect to see user reviews, vendor representatives, and free trials/accounts as the next most critical sources of information.

The graphic below illustrates the disconnect between what customers care about and what B2B companies talk about in their marketing.

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In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.

Gartner Group

87% of buyers want [the ability] to self-serve part or all of their buying journey.

TrustRadius

80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement.

B2B PRSense

90% of C-suite executives only respond selectively to those they trust.

LinkedIn Sales Report

77% of buyers want unique, targeted content at each stage of their research.

Pardot

70%-80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service

Mckinsey

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By leveraging data, sales leaders can make informed decisions about when and how to engage customers.

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If your organization makes use of a sales engagement platform, the sales strategy will be based on data, allowing you to monitor the results of your efforts. Using various channels, such as email, direct mail, phone, and social media, you can develop and implement an effective engagement strategy.

You can expect a great sales engagement platform to have these features:

  • Workflow features such as:
    • Email and call sequences

    • Email scheduling

    • Outreach templates, and

    • CMS integration with email

  • Use of analytics to track metrics like:
    • Sales team performance

    • Open rates

    • Views of content

    • Content engagement activity, and

    • Sales activity

  • Click-to-call and call types will enable reps to be more productive since the time consumed on dialing numbers will be reduced
  • Prospecting and Account-based selling are two of the most valuable features in Contacts. These enable sales representatives to make sure that they are making the best decisions

Virtual selling tools to create an engagement plan:HubSpot Sales Hub, Mailshake, Clearbit, Klenty, SalesLoft, PipelineDeals

5.

Virtual meeting checklists for sales teams

In order to convert prospects into sales, you need a well-planned and executed virtual sales meeting. A successful sale depends on meticulous attention to detail.

Mckinsey states that the amount of revenue generated from video-related interactions has jumped by 69%since April 2020. Together, eCommerce and videoconferencing now account for 43% of all B2B revenue, more than any other channel.

Customers also made it clear that, given the choice, they prefer video to the phone.

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Virtual presentations can frustrate your buyer if the audio or video is poor or if the sales rep is unfamiliar with control manipulations.

In a good presentation, there is a visual component known as Visual Cognitive Dissonance:

  • Visual: When content resonates strongly and visually tells a story

  • Cognitive: Where each slide makes sense only after the speaker explains it

  • Dissonance: When you feel compelled to know more about what the slide conveys

It’s all about getting the attention of your buyer, something they can remember post the call. To boost your buyer’s memory, B2B sales reps can use repetition thoughtfully and associate visuals with them, too.

6.

Creating an engaging B2B sales presentation

Interactive B2B sales presentations help prospects retain information and stay engaged during the meeting by capturing their attention.

65%

Prospects retain 65% of information if you provide visual support for your message. In contrast, they remember only 10% of presentations without visuals.

— Brain Rules

B2B buyers are increasingly comfortable turning to digital and online channels to meet their purchasing needs.

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To influence buying behavior, your virtual presentation must connect to them emotionally. After all, you may be in a virtual environment, but you are still connecting with a human and not a bot.

With the right language, presentation style, animations, and relevant message, you can make a winning presentation and close deals. Presentations can be made interactive and dynamic with sales enablement platforms.

Here are some tips to make your virtual meeting effective:

  • Be sure to wear business attire

You will be filmed, so dress accordingly. Garments with solid colors are better than those with patterns. If you are moving around or making a noise with your hands while wearing accessories, it can be quite distracting.

  • Keep background noise to a minimum

Run the meeting in a quiet room. Using a headset with a microphone can reduce background noise if you have to be in a loud space. When compared to other inbuilt options, using a headset is usually the most efficient way to get high-quality audio.

  • Connect to the internet

Get a stable internet connection. This will ensure there are no audio issues to hinder the attendees' experience.

  • Ensure that the audio works properly

This ensures your speakers and mic are properly functioning before the starting of the meeting and avoids an awkward “Can you hear me?”

  • Provide a clear meeting title

The meeting title should clearly describe what the agenda will be, as well as the length of the meeting.

  • Prepare to start on time

Start five minutes early to give all the prospects time to join in. When the meeting starts, the host should let the attendees know if recording and sharing of the content will occur afterward.

Virtual selling tools to create an engaging B2B sales presentation: CustomShow, Prezi, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Zoho

7.

Customize your follow-up

Your virtual sales strategy will be more successful if you have a follow-up plan. The B2B sales process does not end when your sales agent ends the video call.

At least 5 follow-ups are needed in 80% of sales, but only 8% of sales reps actually do this.

Invesp

50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first.

Spotio

The average Lead to Close length is 102 days

Salesforce

Many leads come to you through referrals, search engines, social media, networking events, or emails. You need to interact with them further and increase sales.

By establishing a sales follow-up system, you can track and move leads through your sales cycle.

A sales and marketing automation software can help you cut back on the time it takes manually following up on each customer. Since it's automated, you can achieve a level of consistency that would otherwise be impossible.

If your nurture emails are tied to your CRM, you can track how prospects interact with them. This will improve your score as prospects take the desired action. You can then prioritize which contacts you should follow up personally with, increasing your sales opportunities.

Sales and marketing automation software to integrate to your B2B eCommerce platform: Salesforce InfusionSoft, HubSpot, Marketing Optimizer, Sendinblue, Mailchimp, Mailjet

8.

Track metrics with CRM and Sales Enablement integration

If your sales team has the right tool and resources to convert leads, they can close more deals and drive revenue for your business.

Improving sales processes, creating high-quality sales content, and automating simple tasks can help you attain this.

76%

Approximately 76% of companies report sales growth of 6-20% because of sales enablement. Also, organizations with sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on their forecasted deals.

— Aviso

Using sales analytics tools, teams and managers can gain visibility into sales activities, find high and low performers, or forecast future sales.

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B2B prospects expect a higher level of personalization, a better value proposition, and a wide range of sales channels to suit their needs. Effective personalization requires knowing who you are targeting and adding value at every touchpoint.

By segmenting your prospects based on their title, industry, value proposition, and pain points, you can create unique sales engagement plans.

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If your organization makes use of a sales engagement platform, the sales strategy will be based on data, allowing you to monitor the results of your efforts. Using various channels, such as email, direct mail, phone, and social media, you can develop and implement an effective engagement strategy.

You can expect a great sales engagement platform to have these features:

  • Workflow features such as:
    • Email and call sequences

    • Email scheduling

    • Outreach templates, and

    • CMS integration with email

  • Use of analytics to track metrics like:
    • Sales team performance

    • Open rates

    • Views of content

    • Content engagement activity, and

    • Sales activity

  • Click-to-call and call types will enable reps to be more productive since the time consumed on dialing numbers will be reduced
  • Prospecting and Account-based selling are two of the most valuable features in Contacts. These enable sales representatives to make sure that they are making the best decisions

Using a sales analytics software, users can uncover insights from the CRM data and predict future sales performance. It helps companies implement more predictable sales strategies and improve their sales processes.

Some sales analytics systems are integrated with sales force automation, while others substitute for both CRM and analytics software.

Virtual selling tools you can use to track metrics: Salesforce, Pipedrive, HubSpot, InfusionSoft

9.

Train your remote sales team at regular intervals to make data-driven decisions


Sales enablement is a challenging blend of art and science that requires an extensive understanding of your internal customer.Organizations taking a holistic view of enablement – focusing on building great reps instead of conducting simple knowledge transfer – produce win-win results all around.

— Peter Ostrow, VP, Research Director, Forrester


The more your B2B buyers incline towards virtual shifts, your sales strategy too must adapt quickly and smartly. SDRs must be able to use existing and new technologies that enable effective virtual selling.

Gartner states that sellers must have these 3 virtual selling competencies to be successful in 2021.

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Digital dexterity is the combination of a seller’s ambition and ability to effectively apply technology to improve business outcomes.

Data literacy is a seller’s ability to read, write and communicate sales data in context.

Virtual customer engagement is the virtual-first selling behavior to effectively engage customers in both live and asynchronous virtual customer interactions.

Gartner states,

  • 74% of CSOs report they have recently or are currently updating their seller competency profiles for virtual selling, and
  • 61% of CSOs are already investing in new technology to enable virtual selling.

Note that a virtual selling and buying process is here to stay. And so, your B2B sales team must be trained to ease into the digital selling shift.

Engaging virtually using video or social media platforms, and using marketing & sales automation means more upskilling for your sales team.

87%

87% of business leaders say their top business priority is bridging the Skill Gap through customized training and L&D programs.

— Gartner, McKinsey reports

Your team can stay up to date by,

  • Sharing recent industry blogs, news, and reports

  • Sales training videos and webinars

  • Private online courses on company portals

  • Conducting workshops by industry leaders

  • Partner with other online learning platforms

In the Google Skillshop, for example, you can find a variety of courses related to Google's platforms, including courses on Google Analytics and Google Adwords. Furthermore, you can receive industry-recognized accreditations through their exams.

Online training programs such as Lynda (LinkedIn Learning) also provide outstanding resources for learning about digital marketing, ranging from the basics to advanced technical aspects

In the wake of new job creation, employees may become tempted to leave. Providing them with opportunities to learn and grow within your company will make them more inclined to stay. It also allows you to avoid spending additional money on recruiting and onboarding.

Online learning tools to upskill your sales team: Google Skillshop, Lynda (LinkedIn Learning), EdX Certifications, Future Learn


The future of B2B sales is hybrid

In 2022, a hybrid sales model seems to be more prevalent.


Today’s B2B customers are very clear about what they want from suppliers: more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience. They want the right mix of in-person interactions, remote contact via phone or video, and eCommerce self-service across the purchasing journey.

— McKinsey, The future of B2B sales is hybrid, 2022


While B2B customers have become accustomed to buying online, sales teams have also grown comfortable with the remote-first model.

A hybrid model, however, offers the right balance to sales teams who can reach out to busy or disengaged customers online, build trust with them to finally win them over, and close deals in an “in-person meeting”.

And, virtual selling will remain mainstream for a long time.

Sales leaders can continue a smooth transition to virtual selling by tracking metrics and communicating regularly with their virtual teams. Meanwhile, it is important that organizations learn to adapt to selling with the hybrid model as it allows you to build rapport with your customer in an omnipresent way.

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Jovita Mendonca
Content Marketing Manager, ewiz commerce

Jovita Elveera heads content marketing at ewiz commerce, an AI-powered eCommerce platform. As a software engineer, marketer, editor, and writer, she is responsible for communicating the insights and research around the emerging trends in artificial intelligence in eCommerce and frequently writes about it.