The idea of virtual selling isn’t new, but it scaled up exponentially in the last couple of years. An article by Spotio pointed out that 80% of B2B customers prefer virtual selling for a seamless buying experience. In our "Virtual Selling trends” webinar, the speakers explore the various trends around virtual selling, discuss their experiences addressing almost 100% digital sales cycles, share best practices for creating digital engagements in sales processes, talk about product-led growth, and more.
Our CEO, Jinal Jhaveri, moderated the discussion where he was joined by Jorge Soto, Head of Content & Community – Reprise, Bryan Elsesser, Vice President, Sales – SAASTR, Alexa Grabell, Founder & CEO – Pocus, and Evan Patterson, Content & Community Evangelist– Troops. We summarized the key points from the webinar below.
You can watch the webinar on-demand and skip to these parts of the presentation:
06:19 – How have organizations adjusted their approaches to address "completely digital" sales cycles?
18:03 – What tools are teams using to facilitate more digital engagements?
30:39 – What are some exciting ways teams have created digital engagement in sales processes?
35:04 – What role does Product Led Growth play in the new normal of virtual selling?
Jhaveri kicked off the discussion by asking the speakers how their teams have adjusted to the 100% digital way of work and sales cycles. To this, Elsesser stated that he believes the leadership needs to be more empathetic and flexible in their approach. He pointed out that a lot has shifted in the workplace, and the coming years will see many changes cropping up. People have realized that the ability to self-start and self-learn is highly significant in the current scenario.
He also added that one of the most critical changes he has noticed is how remote offices work. “I am not talking about these home offices that people work from. I am talking about building a highly collaborative and inclusive culture. I am talking about what the leadership does to ensure everyone is collaborating within the organization,” he said.
Grabell chimed in and opined that her team has realized that they need to be more data-driven. She talks about how they have recognized the need to ensure they reach out to the right person at the right time with the right content.
Soto joined the discussion to emphasize the increasing importance of mental health and empathy in the workplace. He spoke about how the focus is really on how the leadership teams are encouraging, motivating, and inspiring their employees. Soto also talks about the need to boost the training processes internally to adapt to the changing selling trends in the industry.
Patterson then chimes in about how being a digital native has helped him in his career today. He pointed out that many new roles have popped up today, citing an example of a remote culture specialist whose primary role is to ensure a positive culture in a remote organization. He goes on to express that the organizations now focus more on internal employees and internal marketing to help fuel virtual selling.
Jhaveri agreed and pointed out how different selling to digital natives is. To this, Elsesser adds that today, there is a lot of friction between the sales process and what the buyers want. He suggests that organizations should work towards removing that friction and ensuring a smoother buying experience with highly customer-centric processes.
When Jhaveri asked about the tools the speakers found especially beneficial for digital engagements, Soto mentioned the Enable Us Digital Sales Room offering, Pocus’ Product-Led Sales platform, SAASTR’s events, and Slack.
Patterson chimed in about how highly data-led tools are all the rage now. Knowing how many people have interacted with your content and how they are interacting is excellent, he said, sharing an anecdote.
Jhaveri then added how multiple Slack Communities have mushroomed in the last couple of years and shared how one of Enable Us’ first customers came in from a Slack Community. Slack Communities have become one of the most used platforms to connect with peers and learn from them.
Grabell agreed and shared how online communities have been beneficial in building and maintaining excellent relationships in a virtual setting. “The goal isn’t ‘Let’s just get everyone on the Slack channel and see what happens.’ it is about sharing experiences and synthesizing best practices, and sharing that with the broader community,” she said.
Jhaveri then asked Elsesser about the unique ways he has seen digital engagements being created by the sales folks. He also shares an example where he was offered Zoom lunch in exchange for a meeting. To this, Elsesser added that things are different today compared to two years ago. “It’s very fluid how rapidly it's changing. For example, if you are going for an enterprise or mid-market customer, doing anything that could be considered mass-produced is a NO. At SAASTR, our SDRs aim to have excellent conversations — quality over quantity,” he said. “Having a good set of tools to keep you organized and stay connected is also really important along with enabling highly-customized experiences,” he added, reiterating the importance of customization.
When asked about the role of Product-Led-Growth (PLG) in virtual selling, Grabell emphasized how being product-driven has become 100% necessary. She talks about how organizations need to let the product do the talking. She said, “If you are a PLG business and have many self-service users signing up for your products, your sales teams must be mining those leads and understanding how they engage with your products.” She then talks about how sales teams do not have to be aggressively salesy anymore and instead focus on deriving more value. “Selling the value of a product and helping your prospects and customers derive real value are two different things, and virtual selling and PLG let you do that,” she opined.
Per Grabell, sales today is more about guiding, educating, and consulting versus aggressively selling the product. When you learn about your customers and empathize with them, you get the opportunity to get feedback that can then be used to develop your product.
Patterson chimed in and talked about the importance of genuinely building authentic relationships, getting people interested in your product, and combining human networking and PLG to sell seamlessly.
Jhaveri shared his views on how PLG is more about letting the customers or prospects see the product's benefits than a salesperson telling them what it does. “I think it helps you build trust like nothing else. The salesperson becomes an enabler or a concierge who helps the customer derive more value from the product,” he said.
The webinar ended with questions from the audience about enterprise selling vs. PLG, best practices in virtual selling, and more. Click here to watch the webinar on-demand.