Joshua Amrani runs a sales agency to help foreign, early-stage companies enter the US market via a fractional, VP-of-sales or CRO model. He’s encountered plenty of questions pertaining to remote selling and building teams that interact with people purely on a nonphysical basis. So, while this may be new to some of us, it's business as usual for him.
On making things more efficient for your remote sales business, he had the following to share:
There are hundreds of new rules in procurement and deal-approval structure that have been put in place since the pandemic of 2020. Many companies in different countries are implementing new measures in order to protect their finances. All new purchases over X amount may need board approval, for example—it just depends on the company. So, as you’re getting accustomed to these new rules, here are a couple of tips.
- Set up extra calls. Have multiple check-ins, even if they’re as short as 15 minutes long. The sales representative’s ability to fully understand what’s going on right now, from a decision-making process point of view, is crucial. Any questions you would ask your prospect on your way to get coffee or waiting in a welcome area are questions you’ll now have to purposefully set aside time for. In addition to extracting pieces of information from your client, prospect, or team member, you’ll also benefit from these moments of personal engagement to build rapport between you.
- Think outside the box. Companies are still signing six- and seven-figure deals, and many of them are being done remotely. Where people in the sales community may have preconceived notions about face-to-face touchpoints and onsite procurement meetings, one thing that’s becoming clear is that those aren’t necessary in order to close deals of a certain size. You’ll need to break those mental frameworks so that you can sell and execute in ways that you may not have thought possible in the past.
Outreach and Connecting with Stakeholders
There are a couple of ways to think about outreach from a remote perspective.
- Value proposition: We were in the longest bull market in the history of the stock market for 12 years, and that created a “growth at all costs” sort of environment. But your propositions don’t always have to reflect that. Grow your sales, increase conversions, daily active users, et cetera—that type of messaging worked well in the software world, and it resonated with our target audience. Now, though, it’s more about how much money you can save people and what costs you can help them avoid.
- Tact. It’s not just about being a human during hard times; it’s about being a human at all times. Emotional intelligence will never go out of style. You should probably not go out trying to sell a story of growth, incremental uplift, or increase in remote sales. There are ways to make your goal appealing. Even if you’re correct in saying it, “I think you’re going to fire or lay off a lot of people” isn’t a very empathetic way to lead the conversation. Instead, you could say, “A lot of organizations are restructuring right now, and that can be confusing.” There is a certain empathy required of us in order to capitalize on companies’ efforts to save cost. We have to show that we understand what customers are going through financially—and that we actually care about finding them a solution.
Communicate via video during this time to show that you have concern for people’s circumstances, awareness of their time—and that you are willing to have unique conversations with them in light of these factors. A lot of world class sales teams sell remotely using technology. View this time as a chance to surface the long term benefits of what we’re now having to do to be successful.