This year’s Dreamforce event may have been held virtually, but the connections made were real. Top thought-leaders and Trailblazers shared insights and tips on how they’re tackling the challenges of a most extraordinary time, and where they see us going from here.
One of the most interesting sessions from Day 2 of Dreamforce 2020 was New Ways to Run a Best-in-Class Virtual Selling Team, which addresses a hot topic in a world that’s been thoroughly disrupted by lockdown measures. Here are some of the highlights from that session, which you can see in full here.
When the pandemic hit, things changed incredibly quickly for sales teams. In fact, according to the State of Sales, 79% of sales reps have had to adapt to new ways of selling in the wake of the health crisis. Reps not only had to adapt to remote selling, they had to adjust to new buyer expectations and communicate in a more sensitive manner. Many sales organisations turned to on-demand training programs to transform their reps into trusted advisors. This approach of empowering salespeople to become better allies or partners can help them build more meaningful relationships, convert more leads and close more deals.
The transition from face-to-face meetings to virtual selling not only required sales reps to develop different skill sets; they needed new technology to stay connected.
“Digital has gone from a nice to have to a must-have in how your customers want to buy from you,” says Tom Flanagan, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Salesforce. “They’re responsible for growing revenue in the midst of global uncertainty. So for sales organisations, the shift to virtual selling wasn’t an option – they HAD to find new ways to connect to their customers and prospects. The shift to remote selling wasn’t a choice, but it’s an opportunity. We’re seeing a lot of our customers take advantage of this moment to create lasting fundamental changes in how they do businesses. What’s really important is how you lean into this change and make it work for your organisation.”
Many sales reps are extroverts by nature, so moving from the hustle and bustle of an office packed with colleagues to a more solitary working environment can present emotional challenges. It can be hard to stay motivated, engaged and inspired in a low-energy place like a kitchen or a living room – especially when dealing with the effects of duelling health and financial crises. Keeping teams connected through virtual get-togethers can help ease the burden.
David Louie, Senior Director, Product Management, Salesforce, says, “Every week we created new programmes that encouraged a sense of fun and competition without everyone being in the same office. We scaled that globally and tracked it with dashboards. We made sure that our leaders were all marching towards the same goals and re-evaluating targets and sales motions to establish alignment. Finally, we gave our teams tools they needed to achieve all of this. That’s how we ended up driving over one million conversations with our customers in less than six months.”
COVID-19 was a fulcrum for massive change, and that change will be lasting. Unfortunately, many sales teams will struggle to adapt, but others will use this moment to grow stronger, better connected, more agile, and more customer-centric. For these businesses, the future is limitless.
For more insights on how to grow stronger in the face of change, check out the entire New Ways to Run a Best-in-Class Virtual Selling Team session, which is now on-demand.