Executive Q&A: B2B Sales in Our New Virtual World

In light of recent world events, B2B salespeople need to adjust the way – but not the why – we do business.

Our goal as sales professionals is to help our clients succeed, knowing that when our clients do well, we do well. In these unprecedented times, it can be tempting to go into ‘sales-survival’ mode – only worrying about maintaining our quota and making our numbers.

This type of short-sightedness can cause us to lose sight of why we do what we do – to help our clients succeed.

So how can B2B salespeople not just survive – but thrive – and emerge from this crisis more robust than ever?

We asked our VP of New Customer Acquisition, Alicia Rasta, to share some of her knowledge, insight, and expertise in this Executive Q&A:

What’s the most crucial thing that B2B salespeople need to do during this crisis?

Keep working! Don’t take your foot off the gas. Don’t sit back and wait for things to change. Adapt and pivot where it makes sense, striving to maintain momentum.

Listen to the voice of your customers to find out where exactly you can provide value at this time. I’ve found that there are two different types of companies right now:

  • Those who have a solution that currently benefits others. (i.e., healthcare)
  • Those who have a solution that will help others once the crisis is over. (i.e., staffing and recruitment)

Your communications with these two types of companies will be different. But either way, you need to create urgency and be ready for what’s next.

How has the crisis changed prospect and customer interactions?

Recently, our culture has become more splintered and divisive. This pandemic – with all its unimaginable pain and suffering – has brought us closer together and perpetuated a sense of unity and togetherness.

We’ve discovered a newfound empathy for one another. The first 5-10 minutes of every business call is no longer exchanging niceties. It’s no longer discussing your kid’s first day of preschool or the new Vietnamese restaurant you tried for lunch today.

Instead –  it’s asking about them and their families, how they’re coping, and the struggles we’re all facing.

We’re getting away from the typical small-talk sales call and making genuine connections with like-minded professionals finding ways to navigate these unprecedented circumstances.

How is the pandemic currently impacting B2B sales pipelines?

Similar to the two different types of prospects mentioned above, there are two different ways B2B sales pipelines are being affected:

Those companies that can help right now are experiencing significant booms. For example, one of our clients is a well-known cybersecurity company that provides enterprises with remote access and VPN solutions. Understandably, demand for their solution has surged, and we’ve been able to help them handle the volume of inquiries from current and net new customers.

We’ve been able to scale to meet the demand quickly, positioning their solution as a way to solve current market challenges. Our partnership exceeded their annual goal in just one quarter.

On the flip side, some companies’ solutions are not directly related to what is happening right now. These companies are forced to put everything on pause and wait it out, knowing we’ll bounce back stronger than ever.

Keep in mind that we are moments away from a surge in demand, so do what you need to and make sure that demand comes to you when the time is right. Focus on building relationships, and you will lay the groundwork for a positive engagement when that time comes.

How has the pandemic impacted your sales pipeline?

Televerde supports lead generation, pipeline movement, and sales acceleration for our clients – some of the largest and most complex B2B organizations in the world. We work across a wide range of verticals, so our pipeline has been impacted in various ways.

In specific industries, deals have been fast-tracked so we can help handle the volume of inbound calls. Lots of our clients are experiencing a massive surge in inbound, so we’re reallocating resources to meet market conditions.

We are also right at the beginning of the event season, and every single event I was scheduled to attend was moved to a virtual platform. Massive percentages of companies’ pipeline and revenue are sourced or influenced at their events, which means they need to make up that gap. Digital event recruitment is one way Televerde specifically can help mitigate business disruption.

Other companies are choosing to focus on where the quick win is, retaining and growing their current customer base. These companies are switching their go-to-market plans to leverage Televerde within their install base.

Do you see many companies change their revenue projections?

Some companies have changed their revenue projections and are revising their annual numbers. Lots of companies are adjusting their goals and objectives, choosing to focus on their current customer base to make sure they are securing and expanding it.

Here at Televerde, we’re finding ways to adapt and pivot. Because clients’ funds are getting cut, clients want us to get creative with how we are positioning solutions. I see a significant push for solution selling, as clients are forcing us to think outside the box and sell solutions instead of products.

In short: we haven’t altered our revenue projections, we’ve just changed the way we’ll get there.

What are business leaders most concerned with at this time?

In these trying times, the most pressing matters are keeping your workforce healthy and moving forward.

Our clients are chiefly concerned with keeping their employees safe, keeping them working, and keeping the lights on. I’ve spoken with CEOs that are foregoing their salaries to maintain their headcount, striving to avoid layoffs.

Right now, more than ever, it’s all about the employees. This makes sense, because the stronger the employees, the stronger (and more resilient) the company.

In what ways will this permanently change the ways we sell?

This crisis is going to fast-track digital transformation. Before this, many of my colleagues couldn’t imagine trying to close a big deal remotely. Now that we have no choice, we’ll be forced to find new, innovative ways of connecting with customers and closing deals.

Of course, we’re going to see an increase in video conferencing and a decrease in actual face-to-face interactions.

But at the same time, we’ll be more personal in our communications – with more authentic, genuine connections.

How can we maximize this new way of interacting?

Three ways:

  • Video is the new face-to-face – People are just itching for some face-time. Instead of ordinary phone calls, set up virtual coffee dates with prospects and customers. Take full advantage of being able to see facial expressions and body language.
  • Take time to listen – With so many people working remotely, most of us have more time in our days. Use this time to be more consultative with your prospects and customers. Listen to and respond to their stories, addressing their pains, needs, and challenges.
  • Be empathetic – The best salespeople are naturally empathetic, truly understanding what the client is going through and working tirelessly to solve their problems. This crisis will serve as a shared subject, allowing us to empathize with one another, sincerely.

Final thoughts?

The current crisis will fundamentally change how we sell to and interact with prospects and customers. The most important thing is to keep moving forward and to be ready for what’s next.

Connect with Alicia on LinkedIn
Follow Televerde on Twitter (@televerde)
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