For months now, the world is collectively fighting back against the havoc caused by a microscopic monster. As we evolve with the changing circumstances and adapt with the new normal, a major paradigm shift in the way we work is underway. Conference room meetings, overseas events, in-person sales are now a thing of the past. We’ve stepped into the era of remote working and it’s likely to last longer than the pandemic.
However, this does not mean that you have to compromise with your business goals. All you need to do is quickly find alternatives to doing the same day-to-day tasks without shifting the goalpost.
Yes, you can still hit your sales goals without going in for meetings. Through this blog post, we’ll tell you how.
Laying the groundwork for productive remote collaboration
Transitioning to an entirely different work set up is never easy, especially for businesses that weren’t very remote-friendly before. Whether you fall into that category or are somewhat versed with the nitty gritties of remote work, this section will help you get the basics right and get started with the tools you need to collaborate when doing sales.
Zoom/UberConference for video conferencing
With in-person interaction completely halted, the first tool you need at your disposal is a handy video conferencing app so your sales teams can easily connect with each other as well as your prospects.
Both Zoom and UberConference are robust video conferencing apps that provide a plethora of features to facilitate seamless video meetings among teams or with clients. You can use them for a range of activities – from conducting day-to-day internal meetings to hosting webinars for your prospects or having one-on-one sessions with them.
Apart from HD video and audio calling, screen sharing, recording, and chat options, the tools enable you to set up private conference rooms and workspace to facilitate collaboration with your clients – just like you would in a meeting room or at a restaurant/ cafe you decided to meet at.
You can also easily integrate these apps with all other popular apps that you might use on a daily basis including Analytics, and CRM with Marketing Automation apps. This enhancement simplifies collaborating across platforms and channels, scheduling meetings, accessing and sharing files and data, and much more. Trust us when we say this, keeping all your fronts aligned when doing sales from home can be tricky. You want communication and data to be flowing seamlessly between you and the prospect, and you and the team.
PS. We personally prefer recording our meetings with prospects (of course, with permission). This helps us focus on the conversation during the meeting and take notes later! Since you’re now virtually hosting sales meetings and eye-contact and body language can no longer be as noticeable, this is an effective little trick.
Scrab.in for LinkedIn Lead Generation
Gone are the days when you could do on-ground research to identify your prospects and build your cold email lists or target account list. This is where you’ll need to get your hands on tools such as Scrab.in that allows you to leverage LinkedIn to generate high-quality leads for your business, thereby making lead gen a lot less overwhelming when working from home.
A simple Chrome extension makes it super easy for you to scan profiles, invite people, send unlimited customized messages to prospects, while Scrab.in saves all this useful information in a centralized way. It also allows you to import all information about these target prospects in a CSV file so you can feed it into your CRM platform and track their movement in your sales funnel.
Slack/ Microsoft Teams for internal communication
If you’ve been replying on walking up to your team mate’s desk or simply dropping messages to one another on WhatsApp, it’s time to upgrade. For better sales, you need a better and free-flowing conversation between the sales, marketing and support teams. That’s where an internal communication tool like Slack/ Microsoft Teams comes in.
The platforms allow you to create endless channels where you can communicate on a daily basis, share updates, files, and data, use audio and video calling features to update your team about prospects.
For example, you have a meeting scheduled with a prospect. While you’re completely prepared beforehand, the prospect comes up with a question that you need more collaterals on.
So when you have a dedicated channel on your team communication tool, you simply drop in a message and get the team to give you the collateral. The seamless communication here helps you tackle the sales call better and also prevents you from having to reschedule the call!
Notion/ Google Docs for centralized collaboration
Talking about collaterals.
When you’re in marketing and sales, there are thousands of documents created for different prospects. Sometimes, even in our own folders and offline, resulting in no access to the others in the team. What happens as a result is that either everyone in the team starts to make their own versions because they don’t know it already exists or they wait on a person to provide them access.
Either way, when working remotely, schedules vary. And in sales, you can’t keep waiting.
Applications such as Google Docs and Notion facilitate exactly that. These are smart tools that allow you to create, edit, share, style documents or reports and even collaborate over collaterals, and easily share them with your teammates.
While we love to use Google Docs internally, Notion is a great addition to your sales teams if you don’t already have a project management tool. It comes with a Kanban board that you can create to keep track of the progress on your prospect accounts. You can design the board in such a way that gives you an overview of the prospects in the pipeline, those you have gotten in touch with, those that scheduled a meeting and their progress in the sales cycle.
Salesflare for CRM
Moving on to keeping track of your prospects – a project management tool isn’t enough. Especially if you’re a distributed sales team (which you most likely are right now)!
Pre-, during- and after-sales conversations lead to discovering new aspects about your target account, and also discovering a lot of opportunities to grow your pipeline. But during these conversations, you might also lose out on critical information simply because you forgot to take note of it or forgot where you jotted down the meeting notes. This is where a CRM comes into the picture.
Salesflare is one such platform tool that completely changes the way you view CRM and greatly simplifies your sales team’s life. It drastically reduces the amount of time spent in collecting and managing customer data by automating it for you so you can focus on closing more deals and never have to worry about administrative tasks. It also reminds you to follow up with every opportunity at the right time so that no sale is lost due to any slip up. Again, since collaboration is key now, Salesflare allows your sales teams to follow every conversation each member has with a prospect, share notes, discuss feedback, work together on one customer address book and so much more – all without the hassle of having to repeatedly compile and distribute all this information.
PS. If you’re using Scrab.in to generate leads, good news! We integrate with Salesflare seamlessly to keep all your information in one place.
Reaching out to prospects
Now that you have the basic groundwork sorted and are all settled in with your new workspace, let’s get cracking on how you will need to optimize your sales process for the new normal. While your inbound marketing and sales channel continue to function with little disruption, outbound has definitely been severely hit. That’s where using email to reach out to your prospect accounts comes in.
We’ve told you how to generate leads. But imagine having to reach out to each of them manually and then follow them up as well?
Ineffective and you’re sure to miss out on a few opportunities in the process.
This is where a smart tool like the FindThatLead Email Sender comes in. It takes the guesswork out of reaching out to your cold email list by verifying your lead with an advanced algorithm. And then it lets you build a targeted campaign to reach out to different segments of your cold email list – with all the sales funnels and analytics you need to keep track of the performance as well!
Conducting remote sales meetings
Now that informal catch ups with clients over drinks, delivering your sales pitch over a cup of coffee, or even making small talk to get familiar and comfortable before starting the meeting are all futile in the new normal, you will have to come up with new tactics that not only help you deliver a powerful presentation, but also leave a charming impression.
The first step remains choosing the right tool to conduct the meeting. Since we have already spoken about it above, we are not going to dive further into it.
However, one tip here is to make sure that you are well-versed with the tool you use and understand its features in and out. If you are confident using it, you will automatically be more relaxed and assured of yourself and your sales pitch.
You might also have to help the other party set up the meeting so make sure you keep aside some time for that and other glitches that might occur during video conferencing.
Since body language has little or no role to play during remote sales meetings, you will have to be a lot more prepared before walking into a sales meeting. But here are a few rules to follow:
- Make sure your presentation slides are well crafted and rehearsed as while you share your screen, the entire focus of your prospects would be on your slides.
- Go over the presentation once internally and assign talking points to each of your teammates so that flow is seamless in the final run.
- Keep the presentation engaging and interactive so that the participants don’t get off-tracked (we’ve seen distractions around us hinder sales)
- Frequently ask questions and involve other members.
- Try not to make it a speech where you talk for half an hour and the rest of the members are on mute.
Even the minutest of glitches or disturbances are enough to ruin your momentum or distract your prospects. To block all kinds of background noise, you can use Krisp which is a noise canceling app that offers a Chrome extension as well as a Desktop extension.
While making small talk to lead the way seems slightly challenging when you are not meeting in person, do try to start every meeting on a light note to get to know the other person. Since your prospects most likely attend a million other similar meetings every day, it is important for you to stand out and make a lasting impression. Sparing a few minutes to talk about light-hearted general affairs will help both parties warm up before getting right into business mode.
Finally, between attending multiple meetings and managing endless notes remotely, yours might get lost in the chaos. So, make sure you are explicit about the next steps and conclude the meeting with a clear set of actionables that both parties agree upon.
Closing the deal
Once you have had multiple meetings with a prospect and the odds are positive, it’s time you speed things up and consistently follow up with them to close the deal at the earliest. Now that you cannot head over to their office and seal the deal over a firm handshake and some signatures over a bunch of documents, you will need to be a lot more proactive so that you do not lose out on your valuable time because of delayed follow ups or slip ups due to changed processes.
Email Sender by FindThatLead can be a genuine savior in this situation. It is an email automation software that allows you to automate follow ups with prospects in your pipeline. Not just that, you can craft targeted email campaigns to push your MQLs down your sales funnel and constantly stay connected with them.
Evaluating sales campaigns
Now that you have set up new processes and are working remotely, it is important to measure the efficacy of your sales campaigns for which you must know exactly what metrics to target. These would be related to both your sales reps as well as your campaigns.
Sales activity metrics
These directly indicate the efficiency at which your team is performing and will help you figure out the areas of improvement and give feedback to your staff.
Number of leads created
- Number of calls made
- Number of emails sent
- Number of follow ups
- Number of social media connections
- Number of logged visits
- Number of conversations
- Number of discovery call summaries
- Number of meetings scheduled
- Discovery call to meeting rate
- Number of demos/ sales pitches
- Number of proposals sent
- Close ratio
- Number of referral requests
- Number of attempted referrals
These help you assess your pipeline and figure out the areas of optimization with regards to nurturing a prospect. Remember, these can be segmented basis individuals or teams depending upon the goal of the evaluation.
- Average length of sales cycle
- Average contract value
- Total open and closed opportunities in a given period
- Weighted value of sales.
Lead generation metrics
These help you understand the leads flowing into the pipeline and how well they are being responded to.
- Opportunities added to the pipeline
- Average lead response time
- Percentage of sales qualified leads
- Percentage of leads dropped
Channel specific metrics
You must also specifically track the performance of various social media and communication channels in driving sales for your business. You can generate UTM tracking codes to accurately attribute channel-specific metrics in your analytics tool. Other metrics to monitor could be email open, response, and engagement rates, engagement on Twitter, LinkedIn, opportunities generated from social media, prospects who converted, engagement on virtual events, and so on.
These are the metrics that directly translate into revenue and hence you unarguably need to track and report them. Conversion metrics include
Percentage of opportunities closed
- Percentage of leads won
- Percentage of leads lost
- Average number of conversations conducted for both lost and won conversations
These metrics are especially useful in helping you understand the productivity of your sales reps. Tracking these will help you figure out the problem areas you need to solve to help your teams reach their targets efficiently.
- Percentage of time spent on making sales vs percentage of time spent on manual and administrative works like data entry
- Number of tools used daily
- Leads followed up with and the follow-up frequency
And so on.
Creating sales reports
Finally, while summarizing your sales activities for the quarter or year, you will need to keep a few things in mind so you are able to accurately gauge the performance of your sales teams.
Define your objectives
You collect tonnes of data over a period of time and you cannot possibly add all of it in the sales report. Think about sharing the report with a stakeholder who isn’t able to see the progress you’ve made over time, and eventually comes to thinking that you didn’t do enough!
So to get started with, you need to define the objectives for your sales report. Here’s what you need to answer before you even start getting data together:
Who’s going to read the report?
What are the KPIs that define success to them?
What kind of actionables are they seeking from the report?
What aspects of the sales functioning are they/ are they not versed with?
What is the time period for which you’re creating the report?
Are there any changes in your pre- and post- remote work adoption sales processes?
Pro tip: If there are multiple teams and stakeholders who will be going through the report, create different versions of it to make it relevant to them.
Gather enough data
Since data is the cornerstone of any sales report, spend considerable time collecting and organizing data from credible sources. If you do not have a single source of truth, make sure your data is verified and correctly represented. You don’t want to confuse the various stakeholders, so make sure the report is as clear, especially outlining the KPIs, goals, time period, and sales in depth. Later, you may need such data for automation purposes so it needs to be clear and accurate. When doing data labeling for ML and an AI model creation, this is a must-to-do step.
If there’s anything that is deduced and not backed by concrete data in the report, make sure you leave a note for the same.
Rely heavily on visuals
The people analyzing the report are most likely not going to have a lot of time to go through every data point in detail. You want to make sure that grasping the key takeaways is as easy as possible. Therefore, use graphs and relevant illustrations as much as possible to highlight every important figure, trend, or takeaway. This will make your report easy to read, analyze, and comprehend.
You need to account for outliers and unexpected or misleading figures as your data could be full of them. Make sure to add proper context with every data point or trend you are highlighting as to the plausible reasoning behind the numbers. This will help avoid misinterpretation of data, incorrect decision-making, and also add a lot of credibility to your report.
Automate the process using CRM
We spoke about the endless benefits of relying on a good CRM to power up your sales. You can add another one to that list – automation of sales reports. A CRM can automate this mundane, possibly excruciating task for you and help you quickly generate customized and in-depth sales reports at the click of a button. You can select the time period and data you want to feature in the report and quickly get your hands on a comprehensive report as per your specification. This not only saves a huge amount of time and effort of your team, but also helps you generate real-time reports at any instant.
If you’re creating a sales report for the first time, you can use these editable templates from Piktochart.
Those were some (read: plenty) useful tools and practical tips that are worth their weight in gold to get your sales team up and about, growth hacking deals even as they work from home!
While you work out your roadmap to success in a post-pandemic world, one thing to remember is that reaching out to the right accounts, and proactively communicating with prospects, leads, and opportunities is the key to driving revenue growth now.
Without any in-person interaction, it is imperative that you stay on the top of your game and make every effort to stay connected and consistently reach out to your target prospects. The spray and pray technique won’t work any more!
What are some tips and techniques you’ve implemented to growth hack your sales as you work from home?
Vanhishikha Bhargava is a Content Marketer at FindThatLead, a growth hacking solution that enables businesses to growth hack lead generation and their sales with smart automations and more.