We recently hosted a Live Discussion with sales experts David Lovell of Simpli.fi and Donny Dye of Quota NYC in order to provide insights on how outside sales professionals can proactively prepare while working at home. In the webinar, we discussed strategies for proper prospecting and tech adoption, tips for everyday remote work, and how the future of field sales may unfold.
In case you were unable to attend the webinar, we have outlined the major takeaways in this article:
Strategies For Effectively Working From Home as a Field Rep
Embrace your inner inside seller
While you may not be used to cranking out phone calls, you'll have to temporarily transition to the mindset of an inside seller without the opportunity to hold in-person visits. Increasing call volume will help you fill your pipeline as you did when on the road. We recommend aiming for between 80 - 100 calls a day.
You will also need to create urgency in a different way than what you are used to. When you're traveling or attending a conference, there's an inherent level of urgency for someone to take a meeting with you. Now, you need to create your own urgency with the prospect.
One way to do this is by addressing the gift of time many of us are experiencing. When life goes back to (relative) normal — you will both fall back into the business of routine.
Another way to embrace your inner seller and stay productive is to work in batches. Do all your research on prospects at once, then make all your calls. Plus, don't forget to record all of your calls. This way, you can listen back and find ways you can improve as you go.
There's a myth that automation means risking quality conversations. With today's advanced automation tools — you don't need to sacrifice quality for quantity. The following is a list of some of our favorite and industry-leading automation and enablement tools for different sales tasks:
Email & Call Automation
CRM & Data Organization
Field Activity Planning
Before deciding what type of technology to adopt, first take a look at your sales process. If you have a bad process, automation will only cause you to do that process faster. You can’t just purchase a tool and expect it to transform your business.
This is especially true if you are looking into a CRM. Leaders have to set a culture and process that accepts and embraces CRM. If you're a leader, make it clear to your team the true value that can be added from adopting their CRM into their everyday sales routine.
Remain Visible & Ready to Run
Be patient and understanding when reaching out to prospects. Some may be dealing with heavy fires and be unable to talk right now, so be ok with wishing them well and reaching back out in a month or so.
On the flip side, make sure you are not staying silent during this time. As long as you're approaching customers and prospects empathetically, they will appreciate the reach out. Instead of trying to sell, simply ask how they’re doing. Maybe even send them a gift or invite them to a virtual lunch.
Be supportive, stable and calm — you'll be top of mind when things start to return to normal. Once things settle down, they'll remember the person that sent them a gift card for coffee on a rough day.
Tips to improve efficiency while at home
Establish your routine
While you may have heard this before, it's worth saying again. Build a routine and stick to it. When figuring out how to block off your time, try to create it around your strengths (for example if you're a morning person — get your important work done in the morning).
Make sure to block off time (especially when at home) where you can get away from all distractions and tackle any tasks you need to get done.
Organize your customers
Prepare for when you’re back on the road by building out or updating your ICP (ideal client profile). This way, you'll set yourself up to go after your best leads from the start.
To create an ICP, start by grouping your customers by deal size. The top tier deals will be your ICP. Next, look for any commonalities or insights. For example, are all your top deals from a certain industry or location?
Once you've created those lists, distribute it to the rest of your sales team. Let your team find spots you may have missed and make sure you're all aligned on who your best customers are.
Even if you already have an ICP, it's worth taking the time to understand and rebuild it. This will be invaluable and help accelerate your sales when it’s time to be back on the road.
As we previously mentioned with strategies, you don't want to go silent on prospecting during this time. That being said, you also don't want to be too overbearing right now. The best way to approach a prospect is simply ask how they are doing, and see if they have time for a quick chat or virtual lunch. You might even find that people once too busy may now have time to talk.
While video chat is great for checking in with customers, when you first talk to a prospect we recommend starting with just a quick call. You want to first learn if there is a real opportunity and let them get familiar with you before jumping into a video meeting.
Plus, a video call off the bat may be pushing the prospect too far down the line and make them feel uncomfortable. You also want to be cautious of not wasting a prospects time with a full video call.
Outside Sales is not Going Away
Outside sales is never going away, but sales teams will have to transition to some of the new advancements and technology. With automation, prospecting especially may evolve to more inside-like selling, but much of the process will still be in person.
Some companies will also have more success than others working virtually and transitioning some of their team inside. For certain industries, in-person meetings will always be part of the sales cycle. For example, doctors will need see prototypes of medical devices after all this.
It’s not going to be a flipped switch.
The return to “normal” will be a slow progression and will depend on where you are in the world. Don’t expect every business or industry to move at the same pace.
When you get back on the road, prepare for things to have changed.
The market may not look the same when you return. Your team might not either. Embrace the positive changes — you might find that some of your inside tactics will propel your performance.
Outside Sales Will Evolve
A lot of companies have been able to survive without a robust sales infrastructure or technologies. This lack of infrastructure tends to be fine when things are doing well, but gaps start to show during down times. Teams are going to need to look into technology and learn how to make their reps more efficient when on the road.