Remote Selling &Amp; Buying Hubs

Remote Selling has become an important focus for every sales organization. Digital sales technologies, by default, are what enables remote selling. In this interview series, we ask executives at leading salestech companies to describe how their customers are leveraging technology, what metrics are now possible, and more. Here’s my interview with Tom Pisello of Mediafly a sales enablement solution that incorporates buying hubs, collaborative workspaces, and more.

Q: What are your customers doing to adapt to - or leverage - the trend towards distributed sales teams and remote selling?

Tom: When remote, there are a couple of challenges that sellers have to address to be more effective. These center around delivering a better, differentiated remote selling experience for the buyer.

Remote buyers have more distractions, so sellers have to work smarter to capture and keep their attention. The sales presentation is one of the main ways sellers help drive and fuel the virtual meeting. Because of this, our customers are arming their sellers with more graphical, dynamic, attention-grabbing presentations. They’re leveraging interactivity to show relevant insights, use cases, and solution options targeted to individual customers. Doing so allows them to create a personalized journey for each unique buyer and role.

Additionally, today’s buyers indicate that most sellers do a poor job with discovery and listening now that meetings are remote. Unfortunately, “show-up-and-throw-up” is the method most often used. It’s like many sellers have forgotten the art of building rapport and conversation. To help, we recommend our customers craft their sales presentations to support discovery and listening, with question prompts to create a more collaborative, consultative sales experience versus a one-way sales pitch.

Going one step further, many of our customers arm their sellers with diagnostic assessment tools to help their buyers uncover capability and maturity shortfalls and obtain expert recommendations to close the gap. These tools allow sales reps to effectively quantify and communicate the unique value of their product or service in the context of their buyers’ challenges and further differentiate themselves from the competition.

Q: How will selling be forever changed - will remote selling be the new norm?

Tom: The pandemic created a “singularity in selling” where we are NOT going back to the way things were before. That is because:

  1. Many sellers, outside of the extreme extroverts in the bunch, indicate that they don’t mind remote sales calls and meetings, especially for early deal stages.
  2. CFOs have grown to like the massive reduction in travel and entertainment expenses, so even when sellers do want to go on-site, there will be more hurdles and constraints in place to make it harder.
  3. Buyers indicate that they prefer digital buying and don’t mind online vendor sales meetings and engagements.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any in-person meetings and workshops, but the vast majority of engagements will remain remote.

Knowing this, we need to not only enable sellers to host a virtual meeting but think more like a producer or broadcaster – have a standout visual/personal presence, deliver an engaging and interactive show, and master the art of storytelling along the way.

Q: What steps can users of Sales Enablement Solutions take to best facilitate their prospects’ decision-making given that interactions are likely remote?

Tom: The involvement of Finance and Executives in deals has increased over 50%, and the buying committee continues to grow in size.

Most of the decision-making occurs outside of the virtual meeting, without the seller in the room.

Sales Enablement can play a KEY role in helping the seller arm the key buying stakeholders and decision committee with a set of curated content that can help facilitate a positive decision and outcome.

First, this means your Sales Enablement platform needs to have the right content to help each role on the committee understand what’s in it for them. Ensure your sellers know what content to leverage when and with whom. Playbooks, guiding your sellers to the right content, can be designed to help them target conversations and follow-up based on the buyer’s industry, solutions, and relevant use cases. Artificial intelligence (AI) can also be leveraged to provide intelligent recommendations and advice on what to share at each sales stage.

Second, Sales Enablement can empower sellers to quickly and easily create and share a Buying Hub, a collaborative workspace portal where the seller can place important, curated content for the buyer to review and share with the buying committee. This resource makes it easy for the buyer to sell your solution internally when your sales rep isn’t in the room.

Third, Finance and Executive buyers require financial justification. Give your sales reps the value calculators and tools to communicate that the expected savings and business benefits of the planned solution will outweigh the investment and risks.

Q: What metrics should customers of Sales Enablement solutions use to measure the impact or progress of their activities?

Tom: Having the validation that what your sellers focus on, share, and do is more important than ever.

We recommend tracking the following metrics to optimize investments, improve forecasting and drive predictable revenue performance:

  1. Sales activity – when and with who sellers engage and communicate with, and the cadence and sentiment of those activities
  2. Content engagement activity – what the seller shares, how the buyer reviews and consumes the content, and how the content circulates within the buying committee
  3. Value engagement activity – what the seller discovered about the buyer’s challenges, use cases, cost of “do nothing” and proposed outcomes
  4. Buyer intent – understanding how the buyer is engaging digitally – website visits, activity with 3rd party sites and competitors

These metrics can help you determine the “kinetics” of the opportunity – how much energy it has towards closing. 

These kinetic metrics can be further correlated with sales performance information such as win rate, deal size, and time to close to understand the impact of a certain activity, engagement, and intent on success.

You’re likely already tracking many of these metrics via your CRM, sales enablement, conversation intelligence, and ABM solutions. But now, they can all be consolidated and visualized to provide what is known as Revenue Intelligence.

Tom Pisello-Circle2

Tom Pisello

Chief Evangelist

Tom Pisello, Chief Evangelist at Mediafly and Founder of the Evolved Selling Institute.

Tom “The ROI Guy” Pisello is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author of the book Evolved Selling™: Optimizing Sales Enablement in the Age of Frugalnomics. He joined the Mediafly team in 2018 through the acquisition of the company he founded and led, Alinean Inc. In his role as Mediafly’s Chief Evangelist, Tom is responsible for developing new practices for sellers and marketers to communicate and quantify business value to increasingly frugal buyers. Outside of the office, he is a spin enthusiast, poet, musician, and the proud father of two daughters.