13 Remote Selling Best Practices for Reps and Managers

Remote Selling
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Look out, there’s a new kid in town: remote selling.

COVID-19 turned the world upside down, forcing sales teams to adapt to new work arrangements and buyer preferences, amongst a thousand other things.

These days, sales reps are just as likely to engage with prospects through the phone as they are via in-person visits—even if said reps work in field sales. Because of this, more sales professionals work remotely than ever before.

This is quite a shift when you realize that only 5% of sales and related professionals in the U.S. had access to telework arrangements in 2019.

To succeed in this new sales environment, you need a solid understanding of what remote selling is, why it’s important, the challenges associated with this form of sales, and the top remote selling best practices known today.

Don’t worry, we’re more than happy to share all of this information with you. Let’s dive in!

 

What is Remote Selling?

Remote selling, sometimes referred to as virtual selling, is the process of prospecting, engaging, and selling to potential customers from a remote location.

If, for example, a salesperson prospects for leads on LinkedIn, makes initial contact with them via email, talks with them on the phone a few times, and then closes a deal using a video conferencing tool, he’s engaged in remote sales.

It’s important to understand the difference between remote selling and field sales.

To sell remotely, one must use technology to engage prospects from a distance. Field sales is different. Those who engage in this form of selling actually visit prospects, have face-to-face conversations, and attempt to close deals in person.

In 2022, many sales professionals use both remote selling and field sales strategies.

 

Why is Remote Selling Important?

There are many advantages to remote selling.

The most important advantage has to do with buyer preferences. 92% of B2B buyers, for instance, would rather engage with sales reps via digital channels.

Why? The majority of people became comfortable with digital communication during the pandemic, when in-person meetings were off the table. Since 45% of the U.S. workforce still works remotely, at least part-time, the trend has continued.

There are other advantages to virtual selling, too, including cost and time.

Remote sales is much cheaper than field sales because companies don’t have to pay travel expenses. The cost of gas, plane tickets, hotel rooms, etc. really add up.

Remote sales is more time-efficient as well, and can help reps become more productive. A field sales rep has to travel from one prospect to the next. The time he spends in his car is time he can’t spend talking to potential customers.

A remote seller, on the other hand, can easily engage and sell to dozens of prospects in a single day—all from the comfort of his home office.

 

Top Challenges for Field Sales Teams

To be clear, we aren’t saying remote sales is better than field sales. We’re saying remote selling best practices can be a great compliment to field sales strategies.

But before you can take advantage of selling remote, you must overcome a few challenges. Here are the main things standing in your way:

 

Teams aren’t equipped with the right technology

Effective remote selling requires reliable technology.

If your sales team isn’t equipped with a strong WiFi connection, CRM software, an email and text marketing solution, and a video conferencing app, you’ll have a hard time closing deals from a distance. But the problem runs deeper than this…

Your team doesn’t just need access to technology, it needs the knowledge to use (and occasionally fix) the various tools in your company’s tech stack.

 

It’s more difficult to engage and build rapport

Virtual selling strategies make it easier to communicate with prospects, but harder to connect with them on deep levels and build rapport.

Field sales is effective, in large part, because it allows sales reps to meet with their prospects in a face-to-face manner. This naturally increases trust between reps and the people they sell to, leading to better, more meaningful relationships.

How much better and more meaningful? According to a recent survey, nearly 70% of sales pros say that selling in person is more effective than remote selling.

 

It’s harder to stay motivated

We need to consider the motivation levels of your sales team, too.

Most sales reps are outgoing, extroverted people. They enjoy connecting with others and having face-to-face conversations. When they don’t get to experience these things on a regular basis, they tend to lose steam.

Obviously, remote selling doesn’t allow for the same amount of human interaction as field sales does. This could lead to low levels of motivation if you’re not careful.

 

There are more communication channels

Wait, more communication channels… That’s a good thing, right?

Yes and no. More communication channels give reps additional ways to connect with prospects, which is good. But it also means that reps have to monitor multiple channels to close deals, which some reps may find cumbersome.

To succeed with remote selling, your field sales team needs to develop a multichannel communication strategy that includes the phone, emails and texts, and social media. This may prove challenging for some teams.

 

It’s difficult to preserve team culture

Finally, virtual selling can result in poor team culture. This is especially true if your sales reps work from home, rather than from a shared office space.

Sales is a team sport. Yes, each individual rep must close their own deals and reach their own quotas. But this is much easier to do when company culture encourages reps to share their best strategies and motivate each other to success.

 

Key Elements for Success in Remote Sales

So, what do you think? Are you ready to try your hand at remote selling? If so, you’ll definitely want to keep these three things in mind:

 

Research

It doesn’t matter what kind of sales you’re doing—inside, outside, or virtual—you have to understand the people you’re selling to. This requires research.

So, before you email a prospect or call them on the phone, put on your detective hat and dig for information. Who do they work for? What position do they hold? What challenges do they face on a day-to-day basis? What are their goals?

If you can get a feel for your leads before you actually engage them in conversation, you’ll be much more likely to succeed with remote selling.

 

Listening

You’ve done your research and have a potential customer on the phone. What do you do now? It’s simple: ask the lead questions and listen to their answers.

Too many salespeople think they know what’s best for their prospects. Because of this, they push products and/or services that people don’t want. To avoid this scenario, just listen to what your leads tell you. Let them guide your conversations.

This will make your prospects feel heard and appreciated, while giving you the information you need to succeed with remote selling.

 

Clarity

Finally, once you’ve listened to your prospect and fully understood their pain points, present your solution with total clarity.

Nobody will buy your product and/or service if they don’t understand what it is and how it will help them. You need to explain these things in simple terms. (Note: we suggest practicing your pitch before you actually deliver it to prospects.)

A clear pitch, delivered to a prospect who actually needs the product or service offered, will help you achieve success with your virtual selling strategy.

 

Remote Selling Best Practices for Reps

We covered the key elements of success when it comes to remote selling. Now it’s time to share a few virtual selling best practices. Virtual sales reps should…

 

Focus on setup and presentation

There are a few things you need to do before you contact leads.

Make sure your remote selling setup is both reliable and pleasing to the eye. What do we mean by that? Invest in tools that will work when it counts, such as a good WiFi connection, solid computer, proven video conferencing solution, etc.

Speaking of video conferencing software, make sure the place you sell from looks professional. Pay attention to your background, make sure you have quality lighting, limit distractions, and dress appropriately during sales meetings.

 

Complete minimum daily sales activities

You can’t control who buys from you. But you can control the number of leads you dig up, calls you make, and follow ups you send every day.

Commit to a minimum number of daily sales activities. Then build your entire work schedule around them. Doing so will help you develop winning habits that will make it much more likely for you to achieve success with remote sales.

 

Be personable and engage your prospects

One of the biggest challenges that virtual sellers face is building rapport with prospects. To overcome this challenge, be as personable as possible.

No, you won’t be in the same room as the person you’re selling to. But you can still connect with them in real ways by using video conferencing software so you can see each other, sharing the occasional anecdote about your life so that you seem like a real person, and displaying a positive attitude that others want to be around.

 

Limit potential distractions

Distractions kill sales conversations. Do what you can to minimize them.

We suggest hosting your virtual sales meetings from a quiet location, silencing your computer and phone notifications for the duration of your call, and otherwise blocking out the rest of the world while you talk to prospects.

 

Use visuals to engage prospects

According to buyers, the second biggest remote selling mistake you can make is “Using no or poor visuals during online meetings.”

Visuals make it easier for buyers to understand what sales reps are talking about. They keep buyers engaged in sales conversations, too. Make sure you bring quality images, charts, graphs, and other visuals to all of your virtual sales appointments.

 

Record all meetings

Earlier we talked about the need for quality technology. Hopefully the tech you invest in will allow you to record your sales conversations.

Recording your meetings will give you something to refer back to in the future, making it much easier to remember key details about your prospects. You’ll also be able to assess your own performance and improve it the next time around.

 

Always be following up

You’ve heard the stat before: 80% of sales require five follow ups or more.

If you’re not following up with your prospects, your sales numbers will be abysmal. Take advantage of the numerous communication channels that remote selling gives you access to and call, email, text, etc. your leads on the regular.

When should you stop following up? When the prospect tells you that they aren’t interested and asks you to stop contacting them. Never before this point.

 

Keep your CRM up-to-date

Your sales department uses a CRM, right?

Make sure your customer relationship management solution is always up-to-date. When you contact a prospect, input the information into your CRM. When they respond to you, input the information into your CRM. When the prospect downloads one of your sales materials… you get the idea.

 

Remote Selling Best Practices for Managers

Are you in a management position? Then you have different responsibilities and goals when it comes to virtual selling. Here’s what you need to do to be successful:

 

Define sales activities

You need to define the sales activities you want your reps to engage in. If you don’t they may waste time on activities that don’t move the needle for your company.

Remote selling activities include prospecting, contacting leads, hosting product demonstrations, following up with potential customers, checking in on current customers, posting on social media platforms, and running reports.

 

Enable reps with content

As a sales manager, it’s your job to prepare your reps for sales meetings.

One of the best ways to do this is to give them access to top-level content. That way they can share said content with their leads and entice them to buy.

Here are a few content ideas to get you started: product demo videos, ebooks and white papers that explain the challenges your product solves, slide decks that cover product features and benefits, and positive customer testimonials.

 

Track sales activity and performance

Has your department found success with remote selling? You won’t know until you track sales activity and performance for your team. This is so important!

You need to make sure that your reps are putting in the work. If they are, you need to make sure that the work they’re putting in is actually benefiting your company. The only way to do this is to monitor your team on a regular basis.

 

Coach team members

Once you track your team, you’ll know how to coach them to greater success.

Do they need to find better leads? Or make more sales calls? Or follow up in a more consistent and effective manner? Maybe you need to share a few of the remote selling best practices above to elevate their performance.

We can’t tell you how to coach your reps. All we can do is encourage you to take your role as sales manager seriously and help your reps achieve their potential.

 

Nurture team culture

We’ll say it again: sales is a team sport.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to foster collaboration and good vibes inside your sales department. You could, for example…

  • Host Sales Meetings: Gather all of your reps together (virtually, of course) and share department-wide updates so everyone is on the same page.
  • Hold Sales Contests: Create friendly competition by letting reps compete for awards, or even just bragging rights, in exchange for peak performance.
  • Celebrate Every Win: Your reps work hard. Celebrate their successes as a team to build comradery and motivate reps to greater heights.

 

Invest in remote sales technology

Finally, make sure you invest in the tools your reps need for remote selling.

Some of the most important tools include a CRM software like Pipedrive, a video conferencing solution like Zoom, a meeting scheduler like Calendly, a quality microphone, and a team chat app like Slack.

We also suggest investing in a sales engagement platform like SPOTIO.

SPOTIO was specifically designed for field sales teams who want to take advantage of remote selling opportunities. As such, it’s equipped with everything your team needs. Lead generation capabilities? Check. Task automation features? Check. Multichannel communication tools? Check!

To learn more about SPOTIO, sign up for a free demo today!

 

Benefits of Remote Selling

We’ve already talked about why remote selling is important. But before we sign off, we want to list a few specific benefits of this sales strategy.

Once you dive into the wide world of virtual sales, you’ll be able to:

  • Keep Pace With Buyer Preferences: As mentioned previously, a majority of customers prefer to interact with sales reps via digital channels. Give your target audience what they want and invest in remote selling best practices.
  • Minimize the Costs of Closing Deals: Field sales is effective, but expensive. You can minimize these expenses by engaging with prospects through the phone, email, text message, and social media—instead of in-person visits.
  • Connect With More Potential Customers: When you sell remotely, you aren’t limited by physical distance. This means you can sell to someone in the UK just as easily as someone in San Francisco, CA.
  • Boost Rep Productivity Levels: When reps spend less time in their cars, they can spend more time engaging with potential customers. This is obviously a more productive way to spend one’s on-the-clock hours.

 

Succeed With Remote Sales

Remote sales is growing in popularity—with good reason.

Many customers prefer this methodology and it lowers costs for companies, while boosting individual rep productivity to never-before-seen heights.

That’s not to say that remote selling is better than field sales. We believe the two should be used in tandem. This will allow you to enjoy all the advantages of virtual sales and benefit from the relationship-building qualities of in-person visits.

Just remember, to succeed with remote sales, you need to implement the remote selling tips we listed above. Do that and you’re sure to find success.

Speaking of success, have you tried SPOTIO yet? Our industry-leading platform will empower your virtual and field sales teams, thanks to an easy-to-navigate interface and powerful features. Check out this demo today to see what SPOTIO can do.