Iris Chan gave this presentation at the Future of Sales Festival in June 2021.

She is Head of Demand and ABM, APAC at Autodesk, and former Marketing Director and Head of Sales Development for APAC/J at Seismic.

In this article, I’ll be sharing five game-changing strategies that can help you overcome common virtual selling challenges. You’ll really be able to build a relationship centered on trust with your buyers.

Here’s a breakdown of our main talking points:

  • Building a centralized content hub
  • Engagement insights that drive action
  • Automate content personalization at scale
  • Guided selling with predictive content
  • Activating Social Selling

Virtual selling is here to stay

We all know that we're in an environment where virtual selling is no longer an option. In fact, McKinsey has done some research and found that even when in-person meetings are an option, people still prefer to be conducting interactions virtually.

An image with several statistics: 93% of sales reps are experiencing significant challenges with virtual selling in spite of coaching. 91% of sales reps struggle with gaining a buyer's attention and keeping the buyer engaged virtually. 88% of sales reps struggle with developing relationships with buyers virtually.

A lot of sales teams are still struggling with virtual selling. Gartner found that 93% of sales reps are experiencing significant challenges with virtual selling in spite of having received a lot of coaching.

In addition, research conducted by RAIN Group has found that the top two challenges when it comes to virtual selling are:

  • Gaining the buyer’s attention and keeping them engaged virtually
  • Developing relationships with buyers in a virtual environment
An image with several statistics: 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. 54% of customers feel like they are communicating with separate departments, not one company. 34% of companies generally treat customers as unique individuals.

Customers expect consistent interactions across departments: 76% of them have that expectation.

However, they're finding that they're still communicating with different departments, and not to one company. There's a disconnect right there.

Also, research from Salesforce found that only 34% of companies are treating their customers as unique individuals.

For the most part, they're treating the customers as just a number, and nobody likes to be treated as a number. We can see customers want connected, personalized experiences, and they're not getting them from the sellers.

An image with two statistics: 54% of buyers say their purchase decision is influenced by relationships. 25% of buyers say sellers are very effective in developing relationships with their buyers.

Likewise, when it comes to developing buyer and seller relationships, more than 50% of buyers say that their purchase decision is influenced by the relationship they have with a seller.

However, only 25% of buyers say that sellers are effective in developing relationships with them.

So you can see that there is a major gap between what the buyers are expecting and what they see as a priority, versus how well the sellers are meeting those needs. So how do we close this major gap?

Building a centralized content hub

An image showing a centralised content hub's screen.

The reason you need a centralized content hub is because sellers need to be responsive to the needs of buyers.

If they’re spending a lot of time trying to find the right content and trying to locate content pieces in multiple different file repositories, it can have a huge impact on productivity. Not to mention the effect on response times back to the prospect or the client.

Having a centralized content hub, where the sellers can access all the client-facing content they need (all the latest news updates, enablement resources training, sales plays, etc.) in a one-stop shop is really powerful.

Within the portal, they can enjoy these Amazon-style, AI-powered search experiences, get access to the most up to date material to make sure they're giving buyers a consistent experience.

I think this is a very effective way to kickstart the virtual selling engine. As I mentioned before, there are huge productivity gains and shorter response times for the client, which means a better experience.