Virtual Selling is Here to Stay

Sales Management | Remote Selling

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but early in the pandemic people thought “Work from Home” was just a temporary disruption. CEOs of large corporations publicly stated that as soon as the vaccine was available, all employees would have to come back to the office.

But now the conversation has shifted. Forcing people to return to the office is a tenuous proposition at best. Instead, executives are developing strategies to attract employees back to the office with special amenities such as outdoor spaces, nap pods, free lunches, etc.

People Like to Work Remotely

It looks like remote work is here to stay. And the data is backing this up.

A recent study by the career site Ladders found that the number of high-paid professionals working remotely has been increasing dramatically, with no end in sight. Pre-pandemic, only about three million professional jobs in the U.S. were remote. That number exploded to 14 million in the third quarter of 2021 and continued to climb to 17 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. The study concluded that the shift to remote work represents a massive permanent shift in how we conduct business.

Moreover, the longer we all work remotely, the harder it is to go back to "normal." And once you’ve hired teams of people to work off-site and trained them to be productive virtual sellers, it’s almost impossible to force them to commute back to the office. Plus, many employees have a strong preference for this model. According to research conducted by a professor of economics from Stanford University, employees value hybrid work from home (2-3 days per week) with the equivalence of a 10% pay raise.

For sales organizations, the implications of this shift are clear: if your customers are moving to a remote work-from-home model, then so should your sales team. This may come as bad news for sales organizations that are wedded to traditional direct selling models, or those who believe in the inherent advantages of having the sales team in one location.

Benefits of a Remote Sales Team

But what happens if you flip the remote work discussion on its head and stop focusing just on how it benefits your employees. The shift to remote work represents an incredible opportunity for you to build a truly world-class sales organization. Why restrict your pool of candidates to your sales office’s immediate geography, which may represent less than 1% of the total candidate pool, when you can now hire nationally or even internationally?

Enabling this shift to a remote sales team are a plethora of virtual sales tools to help your team connect with prospects and customers. These new technology solutions integrate virtual meetings, instant messaging, and telephony, making it possible for you to always be in touch with your sales team. Many new applications also let you better manage and coach remotely.

In addition to technology, the shift to remote selling will also require your team to train on virtual selling techniques. Here is a virtual selling checklist. And here is more information on how to connect with prospects and customers virtually.

Hybrid work is here to stay, which means virtual selling is also part of the new normal. This will create an incredible recruiting opportunity for sales teams that fully embrace the virtual selling model.

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About David Jacoby

As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.