Daniel Willems


The Future of Sales is Virtual or Hybrid

Inside Sales is growing faster than field sales.

I believe Covid has had a lot to do with this statement. However, even back in 2013, Dave Elkington from Inside Sales shared that inside sales was growing 300% more than field sales.  The trend has only increased especially with lack of travel and work-from-home.

I have not recently seen numbers but in light of all the challenges with Covid, I expect this number has only increased. The future of sales is virtual. What does this look like for your sales teams?  

There are 4 stages of the sales process for any sales professional that has been forced to either be fully virtual or a hybrid model. Here is a brief description of the 4 stages and what they mean for sales professionals.

Social and Digital Prospecting

Goal is to get first call with ideal prospects to qualify them and move them into a sales opportunity. Like any prospecting or cadence systems, the goal is getting a first conversation with ideal customers in order to qualify them.  This is the stage where we can establish rapport, share value propositions and determine if your prospect is interested in learning more.

Virtual or Digital Selling

This refers to the selling and communicating stage of the Opportunity. In a virtual selling scenario where sales professionals are unable to schedule face-to-face meetings, sales professionals need to utilize digital communication tools like email, Zoom (or similar), ContentHubs to share information and social media to provide ongoing insights designed to help buyers research and learn.

In virtual selling situations, sales professionals need to be trained and equipped to use these tools in the best manner to connect with buyers, convince them of your solution’s value and collaborate with them to discover the best solution for them.

Digital Onboarding

Once customers make a decision to make a purchase and sign a contract, it is time to onboard them and get their team using your services. Using digital tools like zoom, onboarding tours, chat, phone conversations and others that are designed to get customers launched in the best and most efficient manner.

Digital Customer Success

Ongoing customer success requires continual communication and deeper relationship building. In situations where customer success teams are unable to provide face-to-face meetings, they are limited to emails, phones, Zoom calls and social media. It may also include chat tools for real time support.

When our teams are stuck in virtual situations, they need to rely on all the available digital communication tools to strengthen existing relationships and develop more relationships with individuals in your customer companies. This means the future of sales and customer success must include mastering digital channels as primary forms of serving our customers.

Why is Social and Digital Prospecting so Important?

Social as a tool is best used when the goal is to create a first conversation with an ideal customer. It is much more like a networking event than a sales pitch.

The RUDE Interruption Sales Attempt

I was at a networking event (pre-covid) where I was standing with 4 other people all having a conversation. It was a networking event, so the conversation was about getting to know each other, and we talked about all the construction that was happening around Atlanta that gave all of use extra traffic. Typical, generic “get to know you” type of conversation.

Then she jumped into the conversation!

A person approached our little group conversation with this statement, “I don’t mean to interrupt but….”

Obviously, she did intend interrupt us because she wanted our attention and wanted to tell us all about her and her awesome product. She proceeded to tell us who she was, where she worked and ended it with, “if you are ever in need, please give me a call” and then handed each of us her business card and then walked away.

Do you think this worked to capture a deal?

Absolutely NOT.

It did just the opposite. All of us in the group looked at each other, laughed and we all threw her card in the trash. We then went back to our conversation.

Inside or virtual sales is the future partly because of Covid but mostly because, when it’s done well, it is more cost effective and creates faster opportunities. Ledgeview Partners reported the average cost of a sales call from inside sales is $50 and from field sales is $304.

The Future of Inside and Virtual Sales is Social

Assuming the first sales goal in any cadence or sequence is to get a first conversation with an ideal customer, adding social cadences to your existing outbound cadences is the necessary next step in prospecting. Here are 4 reasons why and how this is achieved.

1.Cold email response rates are less than 2%. Hubspot reported in 2021 the response rate was continuing to drop.

2.Cold call response rates are less than 1%

3.Adding social cadences to existing prospecting cadences increases first conversations by nearly 30% per month.

4.Social engagement can be performed more frequently than calls or emails without being annoying to your buyer.

Social engagements get sales in their buyer’s eyesight and help make the sales rep familiar and a known person. Our own internal data with customers show, if a sales rep social engages with a prospect 8x per sending a connection request, the request is 3x more likely to be accepted.

And, the new contact is 90% more likely to accept a request for a first call immediately after accepting the connection request versus a cold connection request.

This is why virtual selling with social media as an added cadence is the future of sales success.

The real challenge to add social prospecting to your daily activities is twofold.

First, sales professionals need to be trained how to use social as a unique communication channel.  Sales professionals do not achieve these results by using social messages as just another method to send out email messages. Social engagement is a skill they need to develop through practice in order to maximize results. Similar to phone prospecting and live presentations, they need training and repetition to master their trade.

Second, sales professionals need the right tools for consistent daily social cadences. Just like CRM or other phone calling cadences solutions, individuals need an activity management solution to lead them.  They need a tool to help them engage with the right people, on the right days and in the right social networks to maximize their prospecting efforts which lead to more conversations with customers.

FunnelAmplified built this solution for sales professionals and teams. We provide the only social prospecting cadence solution that captures real social engagement data in order to demonstrate how social activity positively influences prospecting activities.

Want to learn more?

Here are 2 easy ways to learn more without getting sucked into any awkward sales conversations.

1.Watch a recording of Brandon’s 30-minute Sales Kickoff keynote presentation called “How to Create First Conversations with Ideal Customers Using Social Engagement”.

2.Join a free live training every Thursday. Our current free training is called, “Social Prospecting. How to Use Social Cadences to Achieve Your Sales Goals.

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