More marketing professionals are working remotely than at any point in history. In fact, given the current context, we haven’t seen anything in our lifetime close to this amount of remote selling and lead nurturing. This can bring plenty of opportunities when you have the right sales engagement strategy.
For one thing, many managers have found that their teams are much happier at home. The mental and physical health benefits of remote working are well known.
But does remote selling offer the same results as in-office sales?
First off, 77% of employees report higher productivity when working remotely. As such, remote selling has the potential to produce even greater revenue.
However, this isn’t a given. Today we’ll look at some concrete strategies you can use to promote sales engagement. But first, let’s consider some of the pitfalls you’re likely to encounter.
Why is remote working a challenge for sales engagement?
In a word, the number one issue affecting remote sales is communication. Remote working introduces more chances to drop the ball.
One form this could take is your marketing and sales teams not having the right information or materials at the right time. If you’re all in the office together, it’s easy for one team member to go and get information from another. If you’re all working from home, this can get a bit trickier. Inefficiencies like this can lead to lost opportunities.
Also, when working remotely, it’s harder for demand marketers to identify issues. For instance, if one person is seeing poor results because they’re using the wrong content, this might go unnoticed in a remote setting.
With these issues in mind, let’s take a look at the biggest ways to boost sales engagement success while working remotely.
Five essential sales engagement strategies for remote selling
Chances are if you’ve read this far it’s because you’re seeing problems with your sales figures since going remote. With that in mind, let’s get to the good stuff. Here are 5 strategies you can implement today to improve your remote sales engageement.
Centralize your resources and optimize your organization strategy
We’ll start with the most fundamental and simplest thing you can do. When working remotely, your success is highly dependent on how your sales resources are organized. These include things like:
- Sales scripts
- Case studies
- Customer personas
- White papers
- Proposal templates
A shocking number of companies have no strategy for organizing their resources for sales engagement. Remote teams then have to find them for themselves either on the business’s public-facing site.
What’s the alternative? Creating a central repository of content and sales collateral is an obvious choice when you’re all in the same office. It is even more important for remote teams.
Sales and marketing collateral should be organized in a way that fits the needs of your teams. With that said, there will be some commonalities in the way you approach this. For example:
- Content can be searchable by industry, by persona and/or by sales funnel point
- Content can be searchable by topic, and/or format
A tool like Uberflip is useful for creating and organizing a central repository of content and sales collateral so that any member of your team is able to find exactly the right piece of content for their needs at any given moment. This prevents opportunities being lost because of communications hitches.
Providing your sales team with everything they need to manage client-side communications is the key here to ensuring everything runs as smoothly as possible.
The right proposal management software will allow your clients to use electronic signatures and even pay directly from the proposal itself. This will improve close rates by making certain nothing can fall through the cracks.
Use educational videos for staff training
One of the most important elements of any sales engagement strategy is training. Remote working introduces all sorts of issues here.
One problem is that it’s a lot easier to organize a training session when everyone is in the same place at the same time. A common workaround for this is conference calls. However, these aren’t great either, as it’s hard to take in information with sub-par audio and video quality.
A better solution is to create video content to support these training calls. These can be organized into short courses, which are stored in your central repository for content.
The nice thing about this approach is the range of things you can do with this content. For instance, you can incorporate training videos into onboarding materials for staff. This helps reduce the amount of time colleagues need to dedicate to getting a new team member up to speed.
Additionally, there is the potential to repurpose these videos for customers. There’s a lot of data that backs this approach. A whopping 80% of companies who have implemented video content in their sales pipelines have seen increased revenue.
Host cross-discipline stand-ups
One of the core components of sales engagement is bridging the gap between those involved in sales and other departments such as technical and marketing teams. The important thing is to facilitate dialogue between the different parts of the business.
This happens naturally in a traditional office. It’s what you might call water cooler chat. By contrast, in a remote setting, most employees only really talk to members of their team, or people whose work overlaps with their own. If everybody is at home, it’s pretty unlikely that one of your team will reach out to a random developer for a chat on their lunch break. They’re more likely to flip on the TV or play with their kids, and rightly so.
However, tacit learning suffers as a result. This is where people involved in sales and marketing pick up little bits of product knowledge they need outside of formal training. If you are looking to enhance sales engagement, you need to replace this experience of tacit learning.
The key to this is hosting cross-discipline stand-ups. These are semi-structured meetings where people from different job functions talk through their day-to-day challenges to identify opportunities to make everybody’s life easier.
Obviously it falls apart if you have every employee on a Zoom chat trying to talk about their own experience. To get around this, we like to pick someone from each business function on a rotating basis and get them all on a Zoom call, with someone from the management team as a moderator.
Create more opportunities for learning and experimentation
Systems and key performance indicators provide the checks and balances that help every person understand their responsibilities and the expectations placed upon them. However, systems can be rigid.
Marketing and sales strategies that provided the best return on investment 12 months ago might not be as effective today. Creating space for demand marketers to experiment is important. It can be hard to create that space, especially when teams are working remotely.
For the participants to be able and willing to try something different, it’s critical to generate trust within a team. Secondly, you need to create a place and time for teammates to talk. One way you could approach this is to incentivize your teams to work smarter; this way, you have many people working on process improvement.
However, there's still a step missing.
That is, if someone figures out an effective strategy, their results will improve. The missing link is using this opportunity as a learning opportunity for your whole team.
My favorite way to do this is to organize a coaching session whenever anyone has an idea that positively impacts sales. The person responsible gets to act as the coach. This way everybody gets to hear about it.
Align content marketing with sales scripts
Sales scripts have been around as long as sales have. Getting input from your marketing department is a newer phenomenon. Essentially, there are two things to keep in mind here.
First, it’s essential that your sales scripts are in line with your content. This may sound obvious, but plenty of sales managers write scripts that have very little to do with the messaging a prospect has read up until that point.
Then you lose sales because of this disconnect.
Aligning your content with your sales scripts also provides an opportunity to improve both. These are basically different ways of your customers consuming the same information. As such, this is a great opportunity to share insights on what has worked and what hasn’t.
I find that this is a really valuable exercise for one simple reason. Your marketing and sales teams gather different types of feedback on what messaging works and what doesn’t. Your marketing team gathers this data on a large scale, while sales gets a similar kind of insight on an individual level. By offering these insights to both teams, you can easily create marketing content and sales scripts that convert considerably more customers.