Ask the Expert: 4 Tips for Virtual Selling & Your Remote Sales Team

Earlier this month, we shared an article for communicating with your customers during COVID-19. We spoke about different ways to communicate with your customer by sending the right message, talking about safety, discussing things that are important to your business, and utilizing technology and virtual communications. This last piece virtual communications, is critical now during the current situation we are in, but it is not new and not going away.

So, what are some of the tools and resource you should focus on to make sure you are able to continue selling virtually during COVID-19 and beyond? We’ve connected with Bruce Routzahn, our Director of Sales and Business Development, to learn more.

From Bruce:

With the new remote sales environment that business is faced with today, how do we keep in contact with current customers and how do we sell our services to new customers? It’s more important than ever for organizations to help their sales teams succeed when in-office support and in person customer meetings aren’t viable options. Should we just rely on phone calls, emails and text messaging?

A tectonic shift with customer interaction is happening that many experts believe will continue long after the current crisis passes, so will your organization be ready? Some feedback is already coming in from early adopters that they’re experiencing increased efficiencies and market share gains in a more competitive environment.

With that in mind, here are four tips to achieve favorable outcomes for your remote sales team. Train your salespeople in virtual selling. Your salespeople should be able to make a video sales call that is as close to being live as they can make it.

1. Identify a video-based platform that is right for your business

Zoom has become popular as it’s easy to set up and schedule video meetings with customers where they can see your presentation, product videos and proposals and allows you to answer questions and close the deal! Users can find beginners training videos on YouTube:

The service is free for the first 40 minutes so if your business has a 30-minute customer pitch this might be an ideal platform. If you need more than 40 minutes, you can upgrade to the Pro version for just $14.99/mo.

Other free video conferencing services include WebEx, Skype, Jitsi, and RingCentral. Each has its pros and cons, which you can find here.  Additional fee-based video conferencing is also available with GoToMeeting and Team by Microsoft, these could be a good consideration for larger sales teams.

2. Utilize manufacturer e-learning

Utilize manufacturer e-learning for knowledge transfer and to build content for your video-based presentation. Several manufacturers offer contractors free online training modules or knowledge resource centers. Below are two of our manufacturing partners that offer excellent training opportunities:

  • Hunter/FX – Hunter has done an incredible job with the number of courses on irrigation and lighting that are available online. They offer online learning delivered via courses, videos/streaming content, tutorials and resources, testing, user Q&A and is available to anyone with access to a computer. Hunter offers a variety of training opportunities that can be completed any time of day at your own pace, from installation and troubleshooting to water conservation, operations efficiency or selling tools.
  • Rain Bird Knowledge Center – If you already have a Rain Bird Rewards Account, use the same “User Name and Password” that you use to log-in to Rain Bird Rewards. (No need to create a new account).  Skip the registration step and go directly to the “Please Log In” button

3. Empower your sellers to engage customers with a professional proposal

Empower your sellers to engage customers with a professional proposal that will out shine your competition. Hunter’s SiteRec App is a powerful resource that helps you organize and suggest irrigation product upgrades and system recommendations to your customers.

Simply add your company logo, photo, and details for a customized, presentation that can then be emailed directly to the customer or reviewed on a video call. Upsell with good/better/best comparison charts and built in videos.

Ask your Central Representative to schedule a demo of this product plus you can check out a SiteRec overview here.

4. Prioritize sales coaching

Sales training isn’t a one-and-done affair. Ongoing coaching not only helps turn mid performers into top sellers, it demonstrates your organizations commitment to employee success.

You and your team may be used to face-to face meetings and informal one-on-ones, but a remote sales force means managers must prioritize coaching by leveraging available technology. Face time is important whether your sellers are getting it in person or via video.

Finally, rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about sales strategy and technology, marketing planning, strategic purchasing, or business planning during COVID-19. Central is the right partner for your business. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!

About Bruce Routzahn

Bruce has nearly two decades in the Green Industry with a focus on Business Development, Channel Management, and launching new products. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and has worked on both the manufacturer (irrigation products) and distribution side with an emphasis in strategic planning and field sales management. Bruce is an excellent resource, available to answer any sales questions you have to help grow your business.