Cisco Canada Blog

Virtual Sales Vantage Point: Four lessons to help embrace the future of virtual sales

July 28, 2021

When it comes to the future of virtual selling, the crystal ball has never been cloudier.

Given the rate of change that we’ve seen over the last year, it’s difficult to say what’s to come. What skills will be in demand over the next few years? What industries will come out on top? When might we have to pivot again?

While you can’t predict the future, you can prepare for it. Here are a few lessons from the past 15 unpredictable months to help sales teams succeed in the future — whatever that might look like.

Don’t get too comfortable

If this last year has taught us anything, it’s not to be tied down with processes and ways of working. We often found the most success when we were listening and reacting to our customers’ needs, working quickly to find out-of-the box solutions for them.

Now, as many organizations are starting to return to in-person work, they’re once again faced with uncertainty about what this hybrid world could look like. There’s an opportunity for sales leaders to act as valuable partners through this time of change, listening closely to understand the challenges of customers, and reacting quickly to support them as they look to create a better, more resilient workforce.

Short stories shorten sales cycles

People are distracted. From extra work, to family duties, to a global pandemic — getting the attention of a prospective customer is more challenging than ever. So, how can you improve your odds? Tell stories that stick. Listing off product features and functionalities can only go so far. Instead, wrapping these benefits into a concise, outcome driven story that will make it much more memorable for the customer.

Meet your team where they are

The speed of digital transformation needs to be embraced by sales teams just as much as it has been by customers. That’s why it’s just as crucial to apply this understanding within your team. While it would be great to be in the same room, we have so many tools at our advantage to ensure that our teams are set up for success exactly where they are: at home.

Some ways you can engage and support your team remotely include:

  • Hosting weekly check-ins with your team to discuss highs and lows of the week, in addition to upcoming deals;
  • Creating a group space where you can crowdsource questions and answers; and
  • Keeping the camera on for internal team catch ups. This encourages face-to-face conversations so that you can get the full picture — like facial expressions and body language — of how your team is really feeling.

Train for the new normal

To fully embrace the future of virtual selling, you need to be well versed in the new ways of working, reaching customers and quantifying your sales processes. How do you go about doing this? Train for the new normal.

From ensuring teams understand how to take advantage of integrated systems and tools, to how they can leverage data and insights to personalize and more meaningfully connect with potential and existing customers, training for this new era of virtual selling is crucial. As more customers are taking a digital-first approach to purchasing and sales teams are increasingly crunched for time, understanding what tools are at your disposal — and how to use them — will be key in finding, connecting and building long-lasting relationships with customers.

There has been a lot of change within the last year. Across nearly every industry, teams have needed to adapt, adjust and overcome to embrace the new normal. We now have a huge opportunity to do things better and more effectively than ever before, embracing the future of virtual selling one step at a time.

Read more about how to future-proof your virtual selling with Cisco at the Virtual Sales Vantage Point blog series.

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