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.
Q: What are your customers doing to adapt to - or leverage - the trend towards distributed sales teams and remote selling?
It’s hard to believe we’ve had one year to adapt to our new normal of virtual selling, but a lot of lessons have been learned along the way.
Allego customers were already fairly savvy given many of them were using Allego to keep their distributed sales teams connected pre-pandemic. But given in-person contact has diminished, teams need to work even harder to stay informed, connected, and engaged.
Our virtual world has made hiring and onboarding more challenging than ever. Today, many new hires start their jobs without ever setting foot in the door at their new company. Allego allows sales teams to onboard new reps without having to meet face to face or rely on traditional classroom training. They can pre-board new hires by giving them access to onboarding channels within Allego containing company and product information, welcome videos from the team, and examples of what good looks like.
New hires can access these materials during the onboarding process, and then leverage the channel as a refresher once they’re up to speed.
Another example of how teams are using Allego is sharing best practices. Reps can record a video from their mobile phone sharing market conditions, competitive information, and win stories, and quickly share it with the team.
Managers can also encourage their top sales people to record videos sharing negotiation tips, or tactics they used to close a deal and then share those videos with other sellers. Reps can comment within the timeline or ask questions, which adds that collaborative element that’s often missed in a virtual world. This is critical to keeping the whole team connected.
Q: What metrics should customers of Sales Enablement solutions use to measure the impact or progress of their activities?
There are several metrics to look at, but there are a few quantitative metrics you can measure quite easily. One is whether and how your sales enablement content is being used. You can track views, content shared with customers, collaboration metrics, and overall engagement—all within Allego if you use our platform—to figure out right away whether your sales team is accessing content and how frequently.
This helps the sales enablement team tailor content according to sellers’ needs.
Teams can also track metrics like time to ramp and time to first deal to evaluate the impact of their onboarding and ongoing enablement efforts. Moreover, by leveraging tools like Allego’s CRM integrations in combination with Business Intelligence solutions, you can start to correlate enablement activities to specific business outcomes that can help you better understand and optimize the impact of your content, your training, and your entire sales organization.
Q: What steps can Sales Enablement solutions users take to best facilitate their prospects’ decision-making given that interactions are likely remote?
Sales enablement leaders should encourage their teams to utilize asynchronous video during the selling process. People are spending too much time on live video calls, leaving less time for traditional discovery calls and demos. Sellers and prospects are also fighting Zoom fatigue and it can be a struggle to engage prospects for “one more meeting.” Asynchronous video allows reps to differentiate themselves and break through by recording an introduction or walking through a portion of a demo.
They can email a video to prospects to watch on their own time and then follow up to maximize their live time together. A prospect can also easily forward this video to other colleagues and decision-makers. Seeing a seller’s face and hearing their voice on video builds trust and rapport with prospects, which is the first step to problem solving and ultimately closing the deal.
Additionally, Allego will soon be releasing an exciting new feature that allows reps to create custom Virtual Sales Rooms or Microsites where they can curate content specifically tailored to their prospects’ needs, providing a more unique, relevant, and impactful way to share information at critical points in the sales cycle. Together with the power of asynchronous video communications, this opens a new door for truly personalized virtual selling.
Q: Apart from the obvious, how has sales learning and reinforcement changed now that it is done remotely?
With teams working remotely, there’s a heavy reliance on informal learning, which is peer-to-peer, continuous and in the flow of daily work. Salespeople look for gold in each other’s strategies. You need to provide a way to empower your reps to share with each other, and asynchronous video is simple and effective.
Reinforcement has to be done in a way that is useful to reps, ongoing and measurable. You also want to be sure you’re not taking too much of your sellers’ valuable time to test them, taking them “out of the field” when they should be selling. Allego’s Flash Drills provide a fun way to quiz reps on an automated basis.
Managers can set up two or three questions per day that are drip-fed to sellers on their mobile device or laptop until they achieve mastery of each topic. The software can gradually decrease the number of review sessions the rep goes through without losing effectiveness on long-term retention — so reps never waste time reviewing material they’ve already mastered.
Managers can also see in which areas reps are struggling and offer additional training as needed, or perhaps adjust the training material if they see the whole team isn’t grasping the material. Spaced repetition is key to absorbing new information, even following an in-person event, so reinforcement tactics like Flash Drills are here to stay.
Q: What should sales leaders do differently when giving coaching remotely?
It was challenging managing a geographically dispersed team before, but now, you have to take extra effort to make sure your reps are not losing focus. Make sure to check in frequently, whether it’s emails or videos sent to the whole team or one-on-one touch-bases.
It’s more important than ever to coach to specific strengths and weaknesses. One-size-fits-all skills training is inefficient and wasteful. It doesn’t make sense to sign everyone up for a course if only a small percentage need it.
You can enhance individualized coaching by using recorded sales calls. Since you can’t be with your sellers, listen to some of their calls or watch their recorded demos. You’ll be able to give them practical, point-in-time advice for how to improve during a sales call or a demo. This coaching is incredibly valuable for salespeople and helps them make quantum leaps in their productivity and their skills and knowledge.
Q: How will selling be forever changed – will remote selling be the new norm?
Remote selling is here to stay. By cutting back on the road-warrior mentality many sales professionals live by, companies are saving huge amounts of money on travel and entertainment — not to mention sales kickoffs and other training events. Businesses are learning that entire workforces can be productive working from home and technology allows us to stay connected.
There will be a time in the not-so-distant future when offices reopen and trade shows are held in-person, but the majority of negotiations will take place over Zoom instead of over dinner for a very long time.
Chief Revenue Officer
George Donovan is the Chief Revenue Officer at Allego, responsible for achieving the company’s customer acquisition and sales goals. A proven sales leader with over 20 years of sales, marketing, operations and management experience,
George is a sales enablement enthusiast who loves tools and systems that empower people. Over the past decade, George has worked with many of the world’s top brands to help them achieve their sales and profit goals.
Prior to Allego, George served as the Chief Sales Officer of Compete, the world’s leading expert in helping clients grow great brands. In this role, George aided the exponential growth of the company from $30M to $110M. Previously, he was the principal owner of a Sandler Training franchise in Marlborough, MA for nine years.
George holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Anselm College. He was also voted father of the year 20 times (by his family)!