Selling is a hard job…and it’s only gotten harder in the last year.

The Salesforce 4th Edition State of Sales Report gave us insights into just how much the sales landscape has changed, with over half of the sales reps surveyed for the research believing the transformation in their role is permanent. 

So where does that leave sales leaders and sales managers? To help succeed in the ‘new normal’, reskilling sales teams to thrive and grow with a new virtual sales strategy is crucial.  Salesforce has produced a Sales Masterclass video series to help sales teams to succeed just as much, if not more, as they did before the pandemic. 

In the first episode, Lena Olivier, Salesforce Sales RVP, shares best practices and tips for reskilling sales teams and turning people into sales superstars. 


Adapting to a virtual sales strategy

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an irrevocable impact, with 80% of buyers and sellers believing that virtual selling is here to stay. It drove the need for a new way of selling, with face-to-face meetings coming to a halt at the height of the crisis, and virtual meetings remain the norm even as restrictions loosen throughout the world. The fact is that we were all forced to try a more virtual sales strategy, and it worked.

Of course, it also means that as a sales leader you’re more remote from your team, which can make it harder to motivate them, coach them, and make them shine. Harder, but not impossible.

To achieve best-in-class status, both sales reps and managers need to develop new skillsets to excel at selling in the current environment, skillsets that work whether they’re out in the field or behind a desk. While technology should enable this, in many organisations it can be a blocker – with multiple fragmented solutions that don’t provide a single customer view. 

The State of Sales report showed that 79% of sales reps have had to adapt to new ways of selling, so how can managers make sure their people are properly trained to succeed in a new environment? The first step is having the right technology to support them. 


Understand your customers and build virtual connections

Creating a single view of the customer ensures that reps have everything they need to sell at their fingertips, and makes reskilling sales teams much easier. 

Customer connections are potentially even more important than they were before the pandemic, as rapport isn’t as easy to build virtually, so anything they can use to develop those connections is so valuable. Making the most of artificial intelligence (AI), using tools like Salesforce Einstein, goes a long way towards excellent customer relationships – even with a virtual sales strategy. 

Cross-team collaboration is another vital component to virtual selling, with the most successful sales teams working more closely with marketing and service teams to ensure a more unified customer experience. As a sales leader, this means you should be instrumental in forging those connections and supporting your people as they learn more about marketing and service roles. 


Recognise the new scope of selling

Virtual selling brings the need to develop new sales techniques, and for sales teams to learn those new techniques. Reskilling sales teams may not be something you’re used to as a sales leader, but it’s the best way to ensure you have a team full of sales superstars.  

So you have new techniques, products, and services – how do you make sure that everyone who needs to understand them, does understand them? Salesforce Trailhead lets you design personalised learning journeys that empower employees as well as training them. 


Develop new ways of managing

Ultimately, you’re in the best position to determine best practices for your team, based on your own knowledge and experience, the current selling climate, and the individuals in your team. Once you’ve determined that, you can make the most of the technology you have available to automate learning and the implementation of those best practices.

And as we’ve already covered, it’s not just your reps having to adapt to a virtual sales strategy; you also have to adapt to virtually managing them. Technology is key here as well, for example using Einstein Call Coaching to get deeper insights into your sales teams and the conversations they’re having with customers. Then you’re able to provide them with tailored feedback on where they’re excelling and where there’s room for improvement.  

To learn more about reskilling sales teams for a successful virtual sales strategy, you can watch the first Masterclass, where you’ll find the answer to questions like ‘how can your reps close a deal when they’re not able to meet face to face?’.

And if you would like to learn more about the future of sales, download the 4th edition of our State of Sales Research.