The rapid shift to remote work due to the pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital sales tools and virtual selling techniques. While in-person sales activities are resuming, practices optimized for virtual selling are here to stay. Sales teams equipped with the right mix of technologies and tactics can connect with prospects and close deals from anywhere. Here we explore some of the most essential tools and strategies for succeeding in virtual sales in the hybrid working world.
CRM for Centralized Data
A robust customer relationship management (CRM) system provides the digital backbone for organizing prospect data and interactions. Features like shared contacts, pipeline visibility, and activity logging enable coordination and alignment across sales teams in a remote setting.
Key elements a CRM should provide for virtual sales include:
– Cloud-based access from anywhere
– Mobile optimization with native apps
– Contact manager with deal pipeline workflows
– Shared team access with permission controls
– Activity and interaction logging
– Email integration and templates
– Meeting scheduling and calendar syncing
– Sales analytics and forecasting dashboards
– Customizable fields, views and automation
An integrated CRM environment gives distributed sales teams a 360-degree view of prospects while collaborating seamlessly.
Video Conferencing for Virtual Meetings
Reliable video conferencing is a must-have for meetings, demos, and pitches when unable to visit prospects in-person. Mobile-friendly access allows meetings from any device. Useful features include:
– Recording options – Review meetings and share videos internally.
– Screen sharing – Present slides, documents, prototypes.
– Annotation tools – Mark up shared screens together.
– Virtual backgrounds – Brand backgrounds and blurring for professional appearance.
– Breakout rooms – Split into smaller groups.
– Integrated whiteboards – Brainstorm together in real-time.
– Polls and surveys – Gather live feedback.
– Webinars and events – Host large prospect events virtually.
With engaging video platforms, remote teams can interact naturally while conveying energy and enthusiasm.
Conversation Intelligence for Insights
Conversation intelligence platforms analyze virtual sales meetings and calls using speech recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning. These tools extract key details and insights to optimize selling:
– Speech to text transcripts – Search and share meeting recordings.
– Talking points tracking – See which points resonated most with prospects based on responses.
– Meeting summaries – Quick overviews of key questions, themes and takeaways.
– Action items tracking – Log key follow-ups and tasks related to meetings.
– Sentiment analysis – Detect pain points based on wording and intonation.
– Competitive mentions – Learn when competitors get discussed by prospects.
– Talking speed metrics – Monitor conversational pacing and adjustments.
Applied strategically, conversation intelligence can unlock major performance gains for virtual sales interactions.
Email Tracking for Engagement
Email marketing remains indispensable for nurturing prospects, and tools that track email open rates and engagement are essential for optimizing outreach. Key features include:
– Open and click tracking – See who engages with emails and specific links.
– Campaign tracking – Measure results across sequenced nurture email series.
– Engagement scoring – Gauge individual prospect interest levels based on opens and actions.
– Email templates – Standard branded templates with tracking built-in.
– Automated follow-ups – Triggered emails based on recipient actions.
– Contact syncing – Automatic lists based on CRM data.
– Email analytics – Charts and dashboards to optimize messages and timing.
Email tracking provides virtual teams data to coordinate touchpoints and personalize outreach for relevance.
Social Selling Tools
Research shows that sales reps who cultivate social selling generate 45% more sales opportunities than peers. Social networks provide venues to establish authority, share helpful content, and network to generate referrals. Enabling technologies include:
– Browser extensions – Simplify finding prospects’ social profiles right from your CRM.
– LinkedIn automation – Schedule and publish targeted posts.
– Social monitoring – Listen for prospect challenges and opportunities.
– Analytics – Track content performance and engagement.
– Ad platforms – Run targeted campaigns and sponsorships.
– Conversational AI – Generate automated engagement and nurture threads.
Combined creatively, these tools help sales teams connect in the digital spaces where buyers network. The key is relevance and value-add over hard selling.
Lead Enrichment and Intent Data
Lead enrichment uses digital signals to identify high-propensity sales prospects within target segments. Related intent data reveals prospects exhibiting active research behavior:
– Firmographic data – Enrich leads with company funding, structure, technologies etc.
– Contact data – Append names, roles, emails, and other details to target accounts.
– Technographic enrichment – Profile the tech stack used by companies to guide positioning.
– Web activity tracking – Detect companies visiting key product and content pages.
– Chatbot conversations – Learn needs through conversational qualification.
– Peer intent data – Discover what contacts similar to prospects are researching.
– Predictive scores – Statistical models calculate deal likelihood based on behaviors.
When combined, these data layers help prioritize and personalize virtual outreach for relevance given prospects’ current expressed needs.
Virtual Whiteboard Collaboration
Team whiteboarding facilitates creative, visual collaboration for workshops and brainstorming when teams cannot gather in-person. Leading options include:
– Real-time co-editing – Everyone can add sticky notes, drawings, and comments together.
– Video conferencing integration – Visuals stay synced with discussions.
– Templates and shapes – Jumpstart sessions with ready frameworks.
– Screen sharing – Broadcast sketches to wider audiences.
– Design libraries – Save and re-use frameworks across sessions.
– Markup tools – Annotate slides, notes, and screenshots.
– Automated meeting summaries – Export key takeaways after each session.
Virtual whiteboarding fuels engaging collaboration and team selling scenarios in remote settings.
Sales Enablement Platforms
Sales enablement platforms provide self-service portals with collateral, videos, training modules, and other assets to equip sales teams. Users can access latest approved materials remotely:
– Searchable databases of materials – Organizes assets for easy discovery.
– Microlearning and training – Short online modules and quizzes to self-educate.
– New content notifications – Alerts notify reps when new assets get added.
– Multi-format support – Centralize videos, documents, ebooks, toolkits.
– Asset sharing – Social tools to post and discuss materials.
– Usage analytics – Track asset access and engagement.
– Feedback loops – Submit requests for new collateral.
– Personalized recommendations – Suggest relevant assets based on role, goals, and strengths.
Enablement platforms help distributed teams skill up and sell more effectively. They provide on-demand immersive learning at scale.
Conversational Intelligence and Virtual Assistants
Sales teams can use conversational AI tools to automatically qualify inbound leads and assist with common questions to focus energy on advisement over administration:
– 24/7 self-service – Chatbots answer basic product questions after hours.
– Lead qualification – Natural language dialogs assess prospect needs and fit.
– Meeting scheduling – Virtual assistants automatically schedule appointments based on calendars.
– Document sharing – Intelligently provide relevant materials to prospects upon request.
– Event registration – Chatbots can walk prospects through signing up for demos and events.
– Lead generation – Virtual assistants proactively engage net new potential targets.
Applied strategically, conversational AI becomes a tireless virtual sales team member, freeing up valuable human time.
Proposal and Contract Automation
Sales tools can streamline creating and tracking personalized proposals and contracts without administrative hurdles:
– Proposal templates – Maintain libraries of branded templates for quick customization.
– Bulk personalization – Tailor outreach across multiple prospects using mail merge.
– Version tracking – Collaborate on documents while tracking changes.
– E-signatures – Route documents for digital signatures.
– Analytics – Track viewing, sharing, and status.
– Integration – Sync approved documents into CRM records and trigger workflows.
Automating administrative components of proposals facilitates rapid creation of customized packages for prospects.
Gamification and Sales Contests
Gamification tools help motivate distributed teams through points systems and sales competitions:
– Points and badges – Award points for activities like calls scheduled, deals closed etc. with recognition badges.
– Leaderboards – Compare performance across peers on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
– Contests – Structure competitions around specific goals and behaviors.
– Rewards marketplace – Allow teams to cash points into gift cards, merch, vacations, charity donations.
– Bracket competitions – Face off reps 1:1 in tournament-style deal pitch contests.
– Milestones – Set thresholds for team points goals that unlock perks when achieved together.
– Chat streams – Foster team discussions and encouragement around goals.
Virtual selling can feel isolating. Gamification builds in social elements and motivation through friendly competition.
As hybrid and remote selling models become ingrained, combining tools purposefully creates a unified sales tech stack optimized for productivity regardless of location. Video meetings and persistent messaging enable always-on outreach. Enablement, analytics and tracking inform interactions. Conversational AI and automation handle repetitive tasks to focus energy on engagement. And gamification weaves in motivation. Together, these technologies provide a framework to thrive in the new virtual selling arena.