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Sales Tech Adoption Key to Keeping Pace with Virtual Selling Trends

LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2021 [North America Edition] has highlighted how sales organizations leverage sales technology stack and data science for Virtual selling, Remote working, Zoom calls and managing the canceled business trips.

LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2021 [North America Edition] has highlighted how sales organizations leverage sales technology stack and data science for Virtual selling, Remote working, Zoom calls and managing the canceled business trips.

LinkedIn has released its “State of Sales 2021” report featuring the latest trends in sales technology and how sales organizations leverage data science capabilities for virtual selling. During the COVID-19, a majority of the sales organizations switched to newer virtual selling practices to stay in touch with their team members, partners and buyers. But, even then, most sellers wouldn’t have fathomed the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic would impact sales in remote working conditions. The latest report based on LinkedIn platform data and survey of 400 buyers and 400 sellers (from North America) provides key insights into the key trends in virtual selling and how it could further consolidate as we head into uncertain times where staying indoors permanently would be an essential synergy to stay healthy and alive.

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So, here’s what we could infer from reviewing the findings of LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2021 in the virtual selling space.

Use Sales Technology to Scale Virtual Selling Practices

The early days of the pandemic proved to be a game-changer for sales technology users.

In any sales interaction, buyer’s trust in your sales practices plays a very important role.

Today, face-to-face interactions are no longer possible between a buyer and a seller. With a majority of sales conversations moving entirely to the virtual space, the value of trustworthiness is at an all-time high.

In fact, a very high percentage of buyers prefer to deal with salespeople that they can trust. Trust and transparency rank very high in the virtual selling landscape where 89% of the buyers that were surveyed by LinkedIn stated they would buy from a seller that they can judge as a ‘trusted advisor’.

Using sales technology to influence selling interactions can play an important role in building trust, with an everlasting effect.

The report specifically highlights the role of sales technology tools like Google and Chorus. These tools have proved to be a lifeline for virtual selling professionals.

According to LinkedIn, sales professionals acknowledge the growing influence of sales technology in their virtual selling practices. 77 percent of these professionals say their organizations are either planning to invest in sales intelligence tools.

Almost an equal percentage of sellers who use sales technology stacks (54%) stated that sales tools “helped them build stronger relationships with buyers”, and “helped them close more deals.”

More Data, More Intelligence: Understanding the Barriers in Virtual Selling

LinkedIn’s survey found out virtual selling is good for sellers and even better for buyers.  

Despite knowing the advantages of embracing virtual selling as a full-time practice, sales professionals stated that they are unable to fully adopt a “Buyer-first” approach.

Reason: their sale organizations are creating barriers for sellers when it comes to putting buyers first in the virtual selling cycle. When virtual selling is the ‘only selling’ medium possible, we are witnessing a rampant rise in the adoption of video tools and even more telesales services. With these tools come a flurry of data-powered analytics and intelligence that most sales professionals are yet to be trained in.

Buyers, of course, may not understand the data side of the selling process, but it hurts sales teams badly if they stay aloof of the impact data and intelligence have on their sales cycles.

LinkedIn found out only 39% of sales professionals stating their sales org delivers the buyer first behavior of providing free and easy access to product reviews “all the time.” So, sales organizations need to train sales managers cope with the new demands of remote selling processes and help them gravitate toward buyer’s preference by adding new sales technologies to establish new benchmarks in Sales process optimization, Sales Forecasting and Call Analytics.

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50% of the sellers are convinced that instituting new hiring practices would help their sales organizations scale the challenges in virtual selling process.

Focus on Killer Deals, But Don’t Kill the Deal

How you use sales technology and tools is one thing, and how you behave with your buyers virtually is another. We can correlate this with the way sellers envision their pitch during a sales conversation to build trust and establish transparency.

LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2021 Report identified a number of malpractices originating from bad behavior, misinformation, and poor training orientation. These can be called as “immediate deal killers.”

To put things in better context, here’s what bad behavior looks like in your sales deal:

  1. Delivering misleading information about a product, its price, etc.
  2. Not understanding buyer’s company and its needs
  3. Not understanding their own product or service
  4. Not understanding their competitors’ products and service
  5. Showing affiliation to a brand that buyer may not like
  6. Cold-calling and emailing repeatedly

Top sales professionals use sales technology and intelligence tools to not only improve their own understanding of buyer behavior but also stay clear of ‘bad behavior’ and ‘misinformation’ to build trust in a virtual selling conversation, whether it’s via email, telecall, chat, social media or on video.

Top 5 Factors that Influence Buyer Behavior in Virtual Selling

Since we discussed bad behaviors that sales professionals should stay away from, it’s logically the next step to also identify the best ways to impress buyer in a sales deal. A good corporate branding could help sales professionals land more deals compared to just focusing on pricing and behavior.

Here’s what LinkedIn thinks about the top factors that buyers seek in a sales professional in the remote sales cycle.

Branding: Nearly half of the buyers surveyed by LinkedIn have checked if the sales professional is part of a company that is known to have a strong professional branding.

Pricing: 47 percent of the buyers deal only with sales professionals who offered favorable pricing.

Knowledge Management: 44% of the buyers are influenced by the sales professional that is informed about the buyer’s company and business needs.

Impression: 43% revealed favorable impression is a huge factor.

Professional Networking/ Recommendations: 33% of the buyers engaged in sales deal if the seller s referred or recommended to the buyer by someone in their professional network, like LinkedIn.
Sales has always been a tough art to master and practice. But, with platforms like LinkedIn, it becomes impressively easy and invigorating to not only understand how virtual selling works in real-life scenarios but also to adapt to new trends and synergies within Sales.

Read Also: AiThority Interview with Dan Hellerman, VP of Digital Ads at Terminus

Here is a list of top Sales technology tools you can use for your virtual selling operation

  1. Gong
  2. Chorus
  3. Hubspot for sales
  4. Salesforce Sales Cloud / CRM
  5. Zoom
  6. Outreach
  7. Zendesk
  8. Docusign
  9. Seismic
  10. Highspot

[To share your insights, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

 

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