The pandemic upended life as we knew it and changed everything. But the ways in which we were able to swiftly move our personal and business lives online demonstrated that those changes were a long time coming. We’re used to living online and experiencing virtual selling now, and the majority of people want to stick to it. According to a 2020 McKinsey & Company survey, only 20% of customers hope to return to in-person sales.
As the pandemic continued, some early ideas of what life after the pandemic would look like became obsolete. Those who thought that remote selling or videoconferencing would fade away with the pandemic need to reconsider the “new normal” and fall in line with what the general populace is thinking: Remote selling is here to stay.
Greg Linnemanstons, President of Weidert Group, recently spoke at the Manufacturing First Expo and Conference to discuss the lessons learned from the pandemic about buyer behavior and what sales teams need in order to achieve success. There’s no going back to the way things were, so embracing the lessons learned and using those lessons to implement a hybrid sales strategy is vital to remain sales leaders.
If you weren’t able to catch Greg’s presentation, you have another opportunity to join a meetup and see these concepts discussed in greater detail:
First, let’s go over how you can make the necessary adjustments to become top virtual sellers with a hybrid sales approach in our new world.
What is Hybrid Sales?
Hybrid sales involves taking the best of in-person sales and virtual sales to create a cohesive plan that can maximize your sales efficiency and get more results by tailoring the experience to what individual customers prefer.
Now that we know people want to continue the convenience and accessibility of remote commerce and virtual meetings, taking a hybrid approach to sales is the best way to align your teams around current buyer behaviors. Consumers have gotten used to being met where they are, and they want it to continue.
Everyone expects to have a great digital experience now, and that’s more than just having reliable internet connections or being available once in a while for a video call. Keep the flywheel in mind — Attract, Engage, Delight. Don’t just think in terms of transactions. Relationships are still everything, and you can build these relationships using hybrid sales.
How Do You Execute a Hybrid Sales Plan Effectively?
There are five key components in implementing a successful hybrid sales strategy.
Commit to an Omnichannel Experience
In a nutshell, omnichannel means aligning everything — your website, your sales teams, your internal systems, and so on — to provide a frictionless experience that meets your customers where they are in their buying journeys.
If your sales professionals are currently assigned by geographical region, consider realigning them to your company’s verticals. That way, your sales reps will be a more relevant resource within their specialities, online and in-person, for a specific customer’s buyer’s journey. Speaking of which, map out that journey and listen to any customer feedback you receive. Be open to flexibility and making adjustments to the virtual and in-person experience.
Think about your own experiences as a customer. When everything is integrated and flows together seamlessly, you’ll likely have a smooth, easy, fast, and transparent experience. That’s what your customers expect, too.
Shift Sales Reps to Hybrid Interactions
People have things to do and places they want to be (or don’t want to be). Time is one of our greatest gifts. Don’t waste yours, and don’t waste your customers’ — make the whole process as efficient as possible by shifting your sales team to a hybrid of virtual and in-person interactions.
To do this, focus on four major points:
Equip your sales reps with the right tools. Zoom, CRM, sales automation, and the like are all vital to ensure your sales reps will have what they need to guide customers remotely.
Provide a hybrid selling framework and expectations. Be crystal clear on protocols, such as when it is appropriate to make an in-person visit and how to prioritize leads.
Measure, coach, and train toward the desired performance. Use the CRM to log calls, complete connection attempts at regular cadences, and anything else that provides a better virtual selling experience for your customers.
Be intentional about motivation and morale. Understand what motivates your sales team. Think rewards, not punishments.
Improve Inside Sales Capabilities
In fact, you’ll want to rethink inside sales and instead focus on moving everyone into the hybrid sales approach with their own specializations and segments.
Expand the role of the sales team in customer journey management. To go along with this, encourage the team to develop their product and technical expertise. This will make sales calls and face-to-face sales meetings that much more productive and free of friction.
Intensify Focus on Long-term Customer Relationships
What can you do to continue to nurture your relationship with your customers? Consider the possibilities you have with the available data. You can use data to find cross-sell and upsell opportunities as well as discover what customer needs aren’t being met. With the right data, you can also identify patterns not only in your steady customer relationships but also with at-risk clients, which can help reduce churn.
Increase your resources. Is your team large enough? Does your team have the right hardware and software? Are they given ample time and structure to meet with clients both remotely and in person? Ensure that sales resources are plentiful to help establish customers for life.
Integrate Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service Operations
Cohesion is an important and sometimes overlooked aspect of customer service. With a hybrid sales model, integrate your technology and your departments to form cohesive units that can serve your customers, whether they’re in their recliners on a video call or they’ve made the journey to meet in person.
Decide on a single technology platform across different functions. This makes operation easier not only for your customers but for your sales team as well. Instead of spending time digging through multiple systems trying to remember which client info is where, it can all be on one single platform for easy use.
Make sure everyone in the company is on the same page. Have clear KPIs and goals that are shared, either within departments or company-wide. Set specific expectations and enable clear service level agreements that value the customer, then follow through.
Sales Management and Best Practices in the New Normal
There’s no turning back to the old way sales organizations used to generate leads and win customers. Technological advances and adjustments in human behavior that have been brewing for years were accelerated by the pandemic, and the changes have left a permanent mark on how we go about our business.
Using inbound methodologies and adapting to the ”new normal” with a hybrid sales model and remaining agile are imperative if you’re looking for success in 2022 and beyond.
Learn More About Hybrid Sales and Available Tools
If you would like to see how these concepts can be applied in greater detail, you are invited to attend the virtual HUG (HubSpot User Group) meetup taking place on November 17, 2021, at 11 a.m. CST. We will walk you through how to use HubSpot CRM and Sales Hub tools to help you execute on virtual sales best practices.
Learn how to use valuable HubSpot tools to work toward your sales goals and stand out from competing voices as you navigate the virtual sales process throughout the “new normal.” Visit the event registration page for more information and reserve your spot today. We look forward to seeing you there!
Posted by Nicole Mertes As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.