With the move to a virtual sales space, sellers can face a number of obstacles they need to overcome. Here, we’ve selected a few of the top challenges of virtual selling, and discussed how to manage them.
In Rain Group’s recent study, including answers from 528 sellers and buyers from across the world, they found a number of obstacles that a majority of sellers find challenging. Where we’ve handpicked a select few and discussed possible ways to manage them:
“Gaining a buyer’s attention and keeping buyer’s engaged virtually”
91 % of the respondents in the study thought it was difficult to gain, and keep, buyers engaged in the virtual space. Which is natural, as it is more difficult to keep someone’s attention from across the screen. Where, during virtual sales meetings, sellers may have to compete with both virtual meeting fatique, notifications as well as the distractions that may come from the buyer working from home. Not to mention that keeping buyers engaged between meetings can be immensely challenging, and demand that the seller is comfortable in the virtual space and have the tools to promote engagement asynchronously.
Here, we see that keeping buyers engaged and attentive during the meeting can be facilitated by checking in with pulse questions, using video in the meetings and having a clear agenda – that makes it easier for the buyer to know how the meeting progresses. As for keeping the buyer’s attention and engagement between meetings, it can be a good idea to share material and make it easy to find and go through, check in with emails and share updates regularly. In addition to making it easy for the buyer to reach the seller with any questions they may have.
“Differentiating from other sellers”
79% of respondents ranked this as one of the top challenges of virtual selling – for good reason. This, since we see that it is increasingly difficult to differentiate oneself from competitors – in the virtual space – and especially when using digital tools with little room for branding or customization. At the same time, this is more important than ever as, according to Accenture, “businesses are no longer being compared only to direct competitors but to all other customer-facing businesses“.
In other words, it is both super important, and difficult, for sellers to differentiate themselves in today’s, virtual world. Where it may be beneficial to look at solutions that allow sellers to showcase their brand and unique offering continuously and throughout the entire digital sales process. At the same time as said tools should give the seller the opportunity to show their best side, and that brings us to the next challenge.
“Making a professional impression with buyers virtually”
Another challenge is to actually give a good and professional impression throughout the digital sales journey. A challenge that we think can be difficult to bridge, as it can be hard to show one’s best side on camera, from the home office. In addition, the virtual format needs to be adjusted to, while sellers also need to make sure that the technology is working and that the customer meeting is run smoothly and seamlessly.
To tackle this, sellers may need to look at the setup of their office space, make technical hygiene checks to ensure that hardware and software are functioning well for both them and the customer, as well as be proficient in the tool used so as to be able to help the customer in case anything happens. Furthermore, the previously mentioned agenda can do wonders for adding a professional touch to the meeting (and further help differentiate the seller from others). As can learning a few helpful skills to properly adapt to the virtual-meeting format.
Successfully navigating these challenging, and learning how to tackle them, can make for a large competitive advantage. Especially as 50 % of buyers agree that “gaining my attention and keeping me engaged virtually” highly influences their decision to make a purchase. Something that also applies to “differentiating from other sellers”, which the same number of buyers agree influences their decision to a large degree.
Rain Group did, of course, also find a number of other challenges of virtual selling, and that you can find in their report.
Want to know more about growing and closing sales in a digital and remote world? Check out our Remote Sales Hub or contact us to talk to a Remote Sales Expert.