How To Upskill Face-to-Face Salespeople for B2B Virtual Sales


We have never experienced so much market disruption, constraints and uncertainty. Salespeople who once visited end users and observed their industrial mechanical bearing challenges may not be allowed to enter buildings. Resilient sales teams are adapting to the new normal and many once face-to- face meetings are being replaced with virtual meetings.

What challenges are sales teams experiencing and how do we coach and train salespeople to be effective in a virtual sales environment?

Prior to Covid-19 we experienced:

  • Buyers moving to ecommerce and digital
  • 45% of sales were closed remotely
  • 92% of sales involved a phone call
  • 50% of buyers shared in a recent study they are buying what they bought in prior years
  • 22% of buyers shared they are buying more than they bought in prior years
  • 45% of buyers have shared they have experienced supply chain interruptions
  • 89% of senior leads shared building business relationships with customers are critical to success
  • Only 15% of sales teams have been trained how to strategically build business relationships to the status of trusted advisor

Salespeople achieving quota has declined each year since 2016 and I predict less than 50% of salespeople will achieve their sales goals in 2020.

60% of once face-to-face salespeople are struggling to sell virtually today

If you have not trained your once Face-to-Face salespeople how to sell virtually it is very likely 60% of your sales team are struggling, disengaged and frustrated today.

We recently conducted customer research for a distributor and just over 60% of their customers shared they preferred virtual selling to face-to-face meetings.

What are the top sales skills virtual sales teams must improve?

#1 Sales Mindset

The first place we need to start to gain any sales velocity is to understand your sales team’s mindset and reframe any limiting beliefs.

“You are helping your customers solve problems and overcome challenges not selling them something they do not need!”

#2 Sales Skills

Sadly less than 50% of sales teams have received sales skills training.

I suggest you assess your salespeople and pay particular attention to skills needed in virtual selling like: Qualifying, Active Listening, Comfort using various online meeting tools and the ability to deliver a concise business case based on value.

#3 Value propositions

Do your salespeople have a current value proposition designed for their ideal customer profile today?

Does your sales team have messaging for each buyer persona?

Sadly most Sales teams I find are using a dated value proposition and are growing frustrated and often not engaged when what has always worked no longer resonates with customers.

#4 Industry Knowledge

What buyer’s want and value today are insights and advice not found on most company websites.

Buyers value the salesperson’s market experience and learning how others in the industry have solved problems they are facing now.

Have you equipped your salespeople with success stories that highlight the value your products and services provide?

#5 Know How Your Customers Make Money

Buyers share on win loss calls how they want and need sales reps to become trusted advisors connecting what they are selling to the impact it has on the buyers bottom line…but sadly only 15% of salespeople have mastered this skill today.

In conclusion..

The current market challenges have made serving your customers more difficult.Sales teams must adapt and understand how their customers want and need to be served.

If your sales team would like some help conducting voice of customer research to update your value proposition and messaging let’s schedule a call.

If you want to assess your sales team’s skills and understand the training they need to be effective in virtual sales please contact me and let’s schedule a call.

About the Author:
Mark Roberts is a senior level sales and marketing leader with over 35 years’ experience driving profitable sales growth in market leading organizations.

He has led sales and training at companies like Timken, VMI, Gardner Denver, Mobility Works, and Frito-Lay. Mark is an author, public speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. In 2018, he received the Business Excellence award from National Sales and Marketing Association and in 2019, The Highspot Sales Enablement Award. He was also recognized by Sales Hacker Inc. in the Sales Enablement Category. Mark is the founder of OTB Solutions, LLC and the popular business development blog, www.nosmokeandmirrors. com , ranked #1 in fixing sales problems. Today, he is the founder and president of OTB Sales where he helps clients diagnose and improve sales effectiveness, and hire and develop their sales talent to improve sales results. His prescriptive data driven approach to sales training and coaching he learned while attending Harvard delivers the maximum ROI in the shortest amount of time.

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