Five Tips for Selling Software Virtually During A Pandemic
Gartner recently distributed the Q1 addition of its publication, The Chief Sales Officer (CSO). Released just prior to the spread of COVID-19, it was eerily prescient, detailing the uncertainty many executives felt over what they perceived was a coming recession.
It noted top CSOs ensure their “organization’s ability to respond to disruptions,” adding instead of aggressive tactics to bring sales costs down, focus should be placed on opportunities that are easy to execute and have immediate impact.
While the analysts hadn’t anticipated a pandemic, we’re now contemplating these very things in software sales. Tradeshows and physical presentations are on-hold. Flights are canceled and employees are homebound. Those in-person opportunities, long-considered vital for explaining and demoing complex products, bonding and closing sales, are suddenly gone.
Though in-person isn’t currently an option, cloud-based virtual IT labs can help organizations heed Gartner’s advice. With an ability to easily reach any prospect, anywhere via the internet, exact software can be demoed in real-world scenarios, used in proof of concepts (PoC) and incorporated into customer training.
As a result, interpersonal gaps can be easily closed, sales cycles accelerated due to efficiency savings, and costs can be dramatically lowered by eliminating such things as travel and related expenses.
Virtual Tips for Remote Results
Cloud-based virtual IT labs can enable your newly remote sales teams to mitigate the highly disruptive challenges we’re facing and have an immediate impact – if done correctly. The following tips will help sales users to easily execute and produce, just when companies need it most.
- Easy Does It: User-friendliness means greater engagement and adoption. Make sure your virtual IT labs are not only simple, but they’re integrated with your sales tools into a single centralized platform. The more people have to look for resources, the more likely they are to give up.
- Hands On: A static PowerPoint or video presentation alone won’t cut it. Learning by doing is one of the best ways to retain information, so give prospects hands-on experiences with the exact software you’re selling via the cloud. In fact, allow prospects to play in realistic setups and PoCs after a This reinforces your presentation and shows you have confidence in your product.
- Get Real & Creative: The environments you build with virtual labs should reflect real-world instances a prospect can expect to encounter on the job – and your real tools should help them. Further, to generate excitement and draw the prospect further in, consider incorporating such things as games with problem-solving challenges.
- Real-time Visibility & Engagement: A big issue with PoCs is the “black box” conundrum; a lack of visibility into what users experience or if they’re even trying your software at all. Look for solutions that offer real-time insight. That way you can know who’s trialing your software, what they like, what’s being missed or if they’re stalled – and your sales team can act on it. The ability to integrate this with Salesforce integration is even sweeter.
- Give Them a Show: OK, so those trade shows, conferences and user groups can’t take the place of face-to-face. But, you can conduct your own, virtually, and for much less cost. Just be certain you can demo products and highlight presentations in powerful, real-world ways. Be sure you can scale. And, keep in mind that participants will be turned off if they have to deploy a slew of apps to participate or the online performance is subpar.
Once this pandemic passes, the positive impact of remote work is going to have a lot of leaders wondering if it should be the new norm or at least utilized more in a blended capacity than in the past. Nothing can replace face-to-face, especially in sales, but make no mistake, the greater efficiencies and cost savings will be hard to ignore.
Even so, virtual IT labs and in-person aren’t exclusive propositions. They can be used in tandem for the best of all worlds, enabling organizations to meet the wishes of customers. And in doing so, sales teams will always be prepared to overcome disruptions and produce under virtually any circumstances.