Before the pandemic I was a huge advocate for face-to-face sales as far as building a relationship and getting the most out of each account.
I hadn’t always felt that way. In fact, early on in my career I felt strongly that you could get so much more done in the office/remote office. More calls/emails and the ability to quickly reply to calls/emails meant more business. Later, I changed my tune, especially with email, as that channel became an easy way to not just say no, but to simply avoid the conversation altogether.
So, you can imagine my anxiety with selling during COVID 19! But, now that we’re six months in, I’ve learned a lot and have actually completely changed my mind, yet again, about the power of working remotely. Here are three things I’ve learned to help with your B2B Remote Sales:
Do whatever you can to convince whoever you need to, to get some inbound marketing going. Marketing automation strategies are a complete game-changer in how we create leads and build sales relationships. In fact, The main reason we’re doing so well at Watermark while the current B2B world is so uncertain, is due to the fact that our clients who use us to build their inbound marketing strategies are doing more with us now than ever. Inbound marketing has been an essential tool for a while, but now that in-person sales meetings have all but vanished, innovative B2B companies are looking closely at alternative solutions…and through inbound marketing campaigns, they are finding results! The way I look at it is that inbound marketing has all the strength in terms of scale that you get from email campaigns but, since you’re educating your clients rather than selling to them, you achieve much better results. People don’t want to be sold, they like to do research and make educated decisions on what/where they want to buy. Inbound marketing takes your prospects all the way to the last bit of education they’re looking for in order to make their decision. This is where the salesperson steps in.
Play the Long Game
However, just because these inbound leads are warm doesn’t mean they’re a done deal. They are far along, yes, but instead of approaching them by expecting a close, approach them in a way that, like mentioned above, you’re providing them with the few final answers to complete their education of your product/service. It’s very possible to close at this point, but it’s more likely they’re in the final stages of compiling information and they’re looking to get a feel for your company. Do they trust you? Do they respect your level of knowledge? How willing are you to learn exactly what they need and provide the right solutions? I know I say this a lot, but here it is again, you have to enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy the education/coaching side of your position then the close/sale won’t be as fulfilling (or successful!). Be willing, ready, and excited to play the long game.
Content is King - Use Every Channel
I’m so far behind on LinkedIn (and all the other social media platforms!) that it’s just pitiful. Up until now, I’ve reveled in being the “Behind the Scenes” sort of salesperson. This way of thinking is old school. If you’re still conducting your sales this way, stop it!! Instead, think of all the tools you have available to you (phone, in person, social media, blogs, email) as useful channels to educate your potential clients on your industry, services/products, company, and most importantly, YOU as a teacher, coach and thought leader. Don’t stress too much on exactly how to use each channel, just start using them. Focus on the knowledge and passion you have for your industry/product/service more than the intricacies of each channel.
In-person WILL become part of our tool chest at some point, and yes, I for one will be glad to have it back. However, from here on out, I will consider it just one of the many tools that I have available, and use regularly, to educate my clients and create long-term relationships.