Remote Selling - Why it’s here to stay, the Benefits it brings to the Client and how it Increases Sales Team Performance
The concept of remote selling has been around for many years. But it has naturally been somewhat of a nerve wracking area that few have wanted to dip their toes into.
Enter COVID-19. The global pandemic has massively - and rapidly - changed the way that buyers and sellers interact with each other, forcing sales teams to adapt quickly to the new landscape. And actually, most are finding that the water isn’t all that bad…
According to Gartner, 23% of sales teams plan to transition permanently into remote selling even in a post-COVID future, which means that sales leaders can’t afford to be looking at implementing remote processes as a temporary measure. Remote selling isn’t a quick fix; remote selling is emerging as one of the best ways to increase sales team performance, and it’s a trend that is widely expected to stick around for a long time.
Remote Sales… It’s Not Going Anywhere
It’s estimated that around 90% of all sales moved into some sort of remote selling environment during the height of the pandemic - either through the use of sales technology such as modern video conferencing software, or through slightly older phone and web-based sales models.
What’s particularly interesting is that remote sales - a tactic that many sales leaders have so far been reluctant to engage with - has in many instances proven to be just as effective, or perhaps even more so, than traditional sales techniques.
Research conducted by insights firm McKinsey suggests that, in April 2020, when many work-from-home orders were first announced, 29% of sales leaders reported that their new remote working solutions were equally as effective as the face-to-face methods they had previously been using. While a greater percentage - 31% - stated that remote selling was proving to be even more effective, helping to increase sales team performance and engage with potential buyers on a much more personal level. The bottom line? Working remotely doesn’t have an impact on key sales activities nor does it impede the 5 step sales process.
More Buyers are Demanding Remote Sales
Gartner suggests that many sales leaders now view digital interactions with clients as being twice as important as traditional interactions… but why? The reason is that customer needs - and customer expectations - are evolving at a pace that many sales leaders have been unable (or unwilling) to keep up with. And this has very little to do with the pandemic. In fact, these needs and expectations have been shifting for years.
Research by Gartner shows that buyer reliance on all four of the key buying behaviours - research, evaluation, ordering, and reordering - dropped significantly in the period 2016 - 2019 as customers have placed increasing importance on the ‘self-serve’ model. Sales leaders have, on the whole, not been particularly keen to facilitate the self-serve buying model, naturally preferring to have greater input - and retain greater control - over the buyer experience. The pandemic, however, has created more distance between buyer and seller, which is exactly what today’s buyers have been looking for.
The huge changes that have occurred as a result of the pandemic have forced sales teams to adapt in such a way that, while it may take them out of their comfort zone, actually better aligns with modern buyer needs. It’s reported that 89% of buyers are satisfied with the widespread shift to remote selling, and that nearly half prefer digital interactions to the face-to-face methods. The benefits of remote selling to the client are clear: sales teams are creating better experiences by giving buyers what they want.
Increasing Sales Team Performance
Boosting efficiency through the incorporation of digital technologies into the sales process is naturally one of the biggest ways that remote processes are helping to increase sales team performance. The shift to a remote selling landscape has forced teams to move away from processes that they know are outdated and inefficient, but which are comfortable and familiar. It’s facilitating necessary, vital changes in sales.
However, increasing sales team performance isn’t just about boosting efficiency. In fact, McKinsey research shows that more than three quarters of sales leaders believe that upskilling and retraining existing sales reps is, at the very least, ‘moderately important’ in building effective remote sales processes. With remote selling highlighting notable skills gaps across many teams, organisations are driving more resources into identifying suitable training opportunities for their staff. In turn, this new people-centric approach is successfully demonstrating to hard-working employees that they are important and valued, motivating and inspiring them to put their all into their tasks.
Moving to a remote selling solution is also providing sales leaders with new opportunities to build a truly successful team. By eradicating the need for sales reps to work from a centralised office, and meet with clients face-to-face, sales leaders looking to hire have a unique opportunity to expand their audience pool outside of the local area, accessing previously out-of-reach talent located beyond the boundaries of the immediate area. Firms wanting to increase sales team performance by onboarding inspirational and experienced new hires can’t afford to overlook remote sales.