Video conferencing has become the new normal in the midst of COVID-19. And seeing as how virtual sales meetings were already a trend before the pandemic, it stands to reason that digital meet-ups will likely be the standard for sales interactions in the future.
A virtual sales meeting is a carefully orchestrated experience, and running a meeting from a laptop in your dining room might feel like an unnerving lack of control. While there are indeed many differences between in-person and virtual settings, a sales meeting held online can still engage prospects, nurture leads, drive deals and maintain relationships.
It’s important to understand the best practices for running a successful sales meeting. That way, you can more easily train and coach sales reps on how to thrive in the virtual environment, which will be a key skill moving forward.
Here are some basic best practices for reps to internalize:
Prep the same, if not more
There’s a whole lot of prep work that goes into any type of sales meeting, whether it’s an introductory interaction with a new prospect or a quarterly review with a long-standing customer. And that shouldn’t be any different when the sales meeting is held virtually.
There’s a tendency to think of virtual sales meetings as less involved, that the participants on the other end may have lower expectations. But that’s a mindset pitfall to avoid entirely. A virtual sales meeting should be approached in the same way as any other meeting.
That means doing homework (e.g., performance analysis or company research), personalizing the content of the meeting and developing a thorough agenda. Analyzing conversation intelligence can help reps do this more effectively and set the stage for meaningful interactions.
An agenda will be key to running an efficient and productive virtual meeting, and should be sent out with pre-meeting communications so every participant has it for reference.
Know the tech and explain it to customers
Sales reps need to know preferred video conferencing solutions inside and out. They should be familiar with popular consumer and commercial options, not just the solution your organization primarily uses.
It’s a good idea to use the technology well before the meeting occurs, especially if a rep has never used the system before or only did so long ago. Having some time to navigate the interface and test out controls like muting, screen share, chat, recording, etc.
If you’re hosting the meeting on a platform the client hasn’t used before, always send along instructions with your agenda. That should include some basic tips for how to install, open and use the tool.
Have a plan in place for technical difficulties
That said, even the most carefully laid plans for a virtual sales meeting can be derailed by internet outages or other technical issues.
Such difficulties are going to happen at least once or twice, so it’s best to have a plan for troubleshooting or alternatives. Preparing such options can help reps keep the sales meeting on track as best as they can.
The plan should address what to do if a client can’t connect as well as have a Plan B for if the situation isn’t salvageable. Whether that means trying again at another time or connecting on the phone to at least touch base.
Look the part
Professionalism is the ideal of the sales meeting, and the way you present yourself virtually should be every bit as put together as if you were meeting in-person. There are a couple items on this checklist:
- Dress appropriately; no shorts or pajama bottoms with a nice top
- Sit at a desk or a makeshift workstation, don’t take the meeting from bed
- Adjust your camera to a reasonable angle
- Have the light facing you, as opposed to the light coming in from a window behind you
However, if the atmosphere is right, consider using a fun background screen, which many video conferencing platforms allow for.
Observe proper meeting etiquette
Reps are in charge of managing the meeting, meaning they’ll both have to observe and enforce proper etiquette.
For instance, those on the call who aren’t talking should keep on mute to avoid noise from disrupting important parts of a conversation. As meeting hosts, they should use mute controls if they need to. At the same time, reps should also avoid being distractions like email, phones and things around their living space.
Engage with a screen share or content
It can be hard to grab the attention of meeting attendees without the help of a visual aid or interactive element.
Your sales team likely has a wealth of content and collateral, and screen sharing is a great way to actively engage clients on resources, which can really resonate with them. Some video conferencing tools also have white boarding features, which are a great way to engage meeting participants in a pitch, analytics or brainstorming.
Follow up as you always would
Remember to end each meeting with a summary of actionable items or takeaways. This helps reinforce clarity and communication, which are essential in virtual settings. If anything, try to over-communicate follow-up items to leave no space for misinterpretation or error.
At the least this entails sending a recap via email with a bullet list of next steps. It also means logging information in a CRM or sales enablement platform so that the conversation can be recorded and used in analysis.
Drive virtual sales meeting success with Showpad
Ensuring that virtual sales meetings go off without a hitch means enabling and empowering your reps with the right tools, content and coaching.
Showpad’s sales enablement platform contains all of that. For example, sales managers can create training modules on these best practices and then deploy coaching resources to reps after hosting a virtual meeting with tips on how they can improve in the future.
Want to learn more about how our solution can help foster engaging virtual sales experiences? Contact us today for a demo or more information.