State of Sales in India- Key Trends

Source: LinkedIn State of Sales 2020: India Edition

Two years beyond, we have the world staring at an ever-growing fear of multiple Covid19 variants, impacting us and forcing us to work remotely yet again. Sales professionals, however, are well prepared than they were during the 1st wave. Sharing here an excerpt from the journey that we commenced in our endeavour to build virtual sales capability across industries.

This journey involves the example of a large conglomerate that faced an uphill challenge to transform its sales into the virtual domain. With almost 100% of its sales coming from an in-person method, joining the bandwagon of virtual adaptation was never going to be easy since the majority of the sales team was not at all exposed to online sales despite being the best in industry in terms of product/industry knowledge, sales skills, business productivity and an average experience of 10-15 years. This exactly served as the ask cut out for us.

We formulated a strategic plan for the virtual adaptation of B2B sales. Based on this plan, a virtual workshop for the entire CEO & CXO teams served as the starting point and what transpired next was a training journey for all the 250 B2B sales leaders. Here’s how the entire journey unfolded-

Our journey involved working on four key aspects:

  1. As is Status

    Analysing the current state versus the desired state. A detailed deep dive involving key role holders, stakeholders, and shadowing on client calls.

    Call Shadowing

    The process started by sales professionals shadowing a sample of their 15 sales leaders on virtual calls with clients. Shadowing was done for various sales stages and for each stage, strengths and gaps were mapped. This was followed by mapping the criticality of each sales step.

    Mapping individual strengths and gaps in each sales step

    Every individual has different learning gaps and needs. This step emphasized a ‘sharp-shooting’ approach rather than a uniform approach for all.

    Personalized Learning Journey

    The next step involved the development of a personalized Area of Development (AOD) card for the sales professionals that laid down foundations of strong B2B online selling

  2. Pre-Call Preparation

    Efficient usage of 30-45 minutes requires a far more detailed preparation than what’s required for in-person sales.

    Building Virtual Persona

    A virtual persona is a social identity that you present through your online channels – to your target audience, especially on Linkedin. Your customers are now more connected via technology than ever. When you have a solid personal brand on Linkedin, you create a strong impression even before you make the sales call.

    Data-Centric Pre-Call Preparation

    You don’t get a second chance if your first 30-45-minute call goes awry. Therefore, there’s no substitute for good preparation. Preparing with the right mindset, right contextualization, setting clear objectives with the right virtual tool selection are some of the key elements.

    Prospecting and Fixing Appointments

    The first step for turning prospects into sales is research. You need to browse through the websites of B2B companies and social media profiles. You can also dive into your CRM database to generate prospects and filter out leads that are suitable for your product or service.

    For fixing virtual meeting appointments, it’s important to understand the virtual preferences of your client. Ensure proper scheduling with details such as time, link, and agenda of the meeting.

  3. Virtual Sales Process

    The nuances of running end-to-end virtual sales calls for revisiting steps with clearly defined goals around technical readiness, right contextualization, rapport building, encouraging interaction, and follow-up steps.

    Rapport Building

    More the effort put into pre-call preparation, the better will you sail through this stage. There’s no luxury of rapport building over a cup of tea or reading body language to sense if a client is distracted, frustrated, or disinterested in an online meeting. Emotional intelligence is often a big miss.

    Nevertheless, there are a lot of alternative ways to build rapport in a virtual meeting. Using the super-powerful storytelling technique is the key. In addition, you should focus on encouraging a dialogue. Ask questions to your client to assess them better. Listen to them well and be empathetic.

    Pitch Presentation

    In-person connect undoubtedly has a larger attention span than online presentations with diversions like online fatigue, connectivity issues, external disturbances, and several other factors that make it more challenging to hook the customer. To counter these diversions, it is important to follow a problem-solving approach rather than a hard sell.

    Follow-Up Actions and Sales Closure

    Sharing minutes right after the call, covering the key discussed points and clear call-to-action are some hygiene factors relevant across sales mediums but for virtual sales, they become doubly important. You can also share relevant content to amplify your follow-up actions.

    Sales closure in a virtual setting marks the final stage where all the hard work done in the previous stages culminates into a deal. You can use videos to offer specific details about your product as a virtual closing technique.

  4. Virtual Governance

    Closure of meetings with timely and right updation in CRM with further agreed steps

    Relevant Updates in CRM

    Recording these crucial developments in the evolving relationship with your clients is the next step forward. Make all the relevant updates in your CRM to manage all of your relationships well.

Concluding Note

These are the practices that we followed for our pharmaceutical client and helped them achieve a significant 40% traction in the online market.

It’s, therefore, crucial to follow these practices that can drive you towards leveraging the virtual selling technology to its fullest and help you achieve cost-effectiveness with highly impactful communication that eventually results in higher win rates!

Traditional face-to-face interactions have given way to sales and service support by videoconferencing, webinars, phones, human chatbots, and other means. Nevertheless, the human touch still has a crucial role to play in the process of leveraging the modern technology