Once a quarter we host an invite-only Executive Open Bar for our Friends at Factor 8. It’s a safe place to connect, share, help, and learn. This quarter’s topic was focused on transitioning field sales to virtual sales. We were joined by leaders of field teams who have gone virtual, inside teams struggling to be remote, leaders of hybrid teams, and even a sales university professor (now teaching remotely)!
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the speed many of these leaders exhibited. It’s not uncommon that I hear stories of companies figuring out their approach and strategy 6-9 months after we all went into lock down.
One inspiring leader changed their entire product line in the space of 5 weeks. Incredible.
Another immediately sourced virtual selling skills for their face-to-face sellers. Smart.
Our friend from Canada started talking about personal and team self-care and wellness a full quarter before anyone else.
Wow, we keep some good company at Factor 8. Thank you all for sharing.
Below are 15 more tips we gathered, from personal productivity to company-wide pivot. I hope you learn something new or validate an idea you’ve already had so you can take fast action like these executives did.
Q1 2021 Factor 8 Executive Open Bar Tips:
- Move marketing newsletters to two-way communication to engage your distributed audience and learn what they want and need.
- Use a calendar scheduling tool. It helps you get more meetings faster! (everyone loved Calendly)
- Share sales standings more often – reps want to win and they aren’t in the office to see or hear the official or unofficial leaderboards (side note, get a leaderboard. We love Ambition and LevelEleven).
- Share success stories – HOW did she crack that account? HOW did he land the big deal? The informal learning and sharing is lacking!
- Shift to a virtual “booth” of products so customers can see it, then send out samples to arrive before a meeting so customers can feel it and ask questions during the meeting.
- Increase other forms of engagement: Linkedin campaigns, emails, and phone calls
- Teach how to leave a better voicemail so it will get returned (or teach the kids how to leave one at all!)
- Upgrade the tech stack; CRM, Marketing automation, learning management
- Make websites easier to use so customers can self-serve
- Add team wellness checks. No business talk, just personal check-ins
- Add hangouts. No agenda, just come and connect and chat. Add structure if needed with breakout rooms and a guided discussion topic (e.g. one thing you’ve done for your wellness this month)
- Do not underestimate the value of going back to basics. Teach those outside sales folks how to use Zoom, how to use whiteboards, how to use breakout rooms. Make these Zoom calls more interactive and less just talking to them.
- How to make your team Zoom calls more engaging:
- Guided questions that are light and fun
- Music to welcome them to the call
- When people are hesitant to come off mute, ask them to chat in their answer
- Good lighting, make sure background is professional
- Use chat to get fast interaction
- Use reactions (e.g. thumbs up/down)
- Wait 10 seconds for people to come off mute before moving on
- Beat Zoom fatigue by scheduling shorter meetings, doing some phone-only calls, and staying on agenda!
- Help motivate “distant” reps (by geography or by attitude!) by changing compensation plans (e.g. new business pays more than existing, growth pays more than reorders), teaching basic skills, driving some competition, adding games to calls (Who can guess their pet’s name today?)
Hope you picked up or confirmed something. I’m grateful to our vibrant community of revenue leaders for making Q1’s learning happen. I’m always honored to spend an hour in your company.
Lead a team?
Join us for our next Executive Open Bar. Our Q2 topic is “Leader’s Choice Challenge”. Bring an obstacle and get help from your peers. There’s ALWAYS unexpected take-aways during these sessions. Even if you don’t think you have a struggle, request an invite now (you know you’ll get one before it’s time!)