You check the time on your phone while seated on the not-so-comfortable seat at a local coffee shop. You straighten out the folder sitting in front of you and suddenly your eyes dart to the sound of the entrance door opening. As you stand up, you press down on your sports blazer, hopeful that they are not creased. You extend your arm out with a confident, but nervous grin to firmly shake the hand who may potentially be your biggest client to date.
Many people imagine a similar scenario being played when thinking about the sales process. This is an old-fashioned, prototypical, “schedule a meeting” usually portrayed in the movies and shows.
However, in recent months, in-person and offline B2B appointments have become increasingly rare. The advanced technology and software, such as video chats, online meetings, webinars, and many more services, which can make the selling experience a lot more productive, have become the “new normal.”
As sales development representatives (SDR), our role is to support the appointment setting process. While we are in an ever-changing environment and most remote, there are ways to enhance our remote space and make it better suited to support the Account Executive team. Here are 5 tips that I have found useful as a remote SDR:
1. Build a Comfortable Workspace – Whether one works at the office of a 100-story tower overseeing Silicon Valley or belongs to a remote, work-from-home team, it is important to build a comfortable workspace. For starters, a quiet room with a spacious and organized desk and a comfortable chair will do. Then, invest in digital tools, which will drive sales methods and help understand a prospect’s wants and needs. Having access to customer relationship management (CRM), video-conferencing software, and a marketing automation service are essential to have to do remote business-to-business sales. Some of the key services such as SalesForce, a CRM, Zoom for video-conferencing, and Hubspot, a marketing automation service, are prime examples to assist an individual begins the remote journey.
2. Gather the Right Target Industry – Before gathering clients and prospects and making phone calls, an SDR needs to know the right target market. For example, a start-up IT company will not do any good pitching its services to a storefront company that carries only a single device of technology. An SDR must understand the company’s products and services first to find the right prospects. To generate leads, begin with broad demographics. This will not only allow SDR teams to narrow down the target segment but also reach similar prospects. Garnering the right target market includes appealing to the main consumers, researching your market, measuring and segmenting the overall market, and understanding why the consumer would want to buy the product or service.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice – The science of selling improves after repetition and trial and error. Remote sellers today lack face-to-face interaction with their prospects and therefore cannot see the emotions, facial and body gestures, and other non-verbal communication that the SDR can catch. It is now about facing behind a computer with a headset attached to the ears, hoping to deliver a message well enough to be able to sell. A salesperson may start acclimating by creating a call script. A call script yields consistency when talking to a prospect and helps to stay on topic while maintaining your appeal. Also, following the script serves as a benchmark to assess the effective techniques and areas of improvement.
4. Being Creative Through Outreach – In these remote times, selling is not the only technique that could be used to deliver your product or service to others. Networking, making connections through social media, and sharing posts and comments are common ways to outreach. While many may be reluctant to pick up the phone and listen to a monotone, script-reading seller on their most days, they will be more intrigued to see a post and read blogs, ratings, and reactions to the product or service. Webinars and surveys are also excellent ways to navigate customers who would best benefit from the product or service. An SDR may choose any outreach methods; it is more important to continuously engage the prospects. People will react upon how a certain company will outreach, those people who will recognize your company logo to have “the best designs” or the best “engaging demos and webinars,” and those are the same people who will turn into your prospects.
5. Learn from your Mistakes – Learning from one’s own experience is a virtue in every aspect of life. In remote sales, learning from the mistakes yields an opportunity to hone the entire sales process. As an emerging sales professional at The Selling Factory, the best successes came from understanding my mistakes. I learned that I will not win over every prospect. If one technique does not work, it is time to get up and move on. Being able to learn from your mistakes will not only help you perfect your sales process, but it will also allow you to share those learning experiences with others.
Remote selling cannot be done solo. Success will not only come through prospecting and interacting with people, but also through the camaraderie of your SDR team. Gaining insight and advice from your colleagues will prepare the salesperson to drive results in the long-term. It could even make remote selling as enjoyable!