Virtual Sales: Getting in Front of Prospects

April 30, 2020
5 min

When COVID-19 emerged, many of us were in the midst of successful campaigns. Those campaigns have largely been put on hold. The key question we’re all asking: Can those campaigns be adapted to produce sales through virtual sales strategies?

For example, say your brand planned to leverage education-driven leads. But then the conference was canceled. All’s not lost! Move your education online, and adapt your follow-up strategy to be delivered via phone and video calls, email marketing, and social media. (And of course, be sure to adjust your messaging to fit the times.)

Maybe you were in the middle of a campaign designed to convert in-office demonstrations. Pivot your campaign call-to-action! Offer a virtual demonstration to keep your sales momentum moving forward.

You get the point. Let’s dive deeper and look at a few practical tips for hooking leads, converting them via virtual meetings, and then executing professional web meetings that lead to sales conversions.

Create Your Lead Magnet

If your goal is to convert prospects into virtual sales conversations, create lead magnets that attract prospects who have a high level of interest in your offerings. For example, a buyer’s guide indicates a greater intent to buy than an introductory webinar.

Use strong lead qualification questions on your lead magnets to provide sales insight. The questions you select can also help you segment your prospects for targeted automated nurturing programs.

5 Lead Magnets to Create Sales Conversations

Not sure which lead magnet is right for your goals? Here are some of the best ideas for strong lead generating content.

  1. E-books: The topic should be targeted to prospects at the bottom of the funnel. For example, consider a topic like “Everything you need to know before you buy ____.” Include checklists, buyer’s guides, FAQs, common myths, and so forth.
  2. Webinars: Lead-generating webinars do not necessarily need to offer CE credit. For example, ROI webinars are strong bottom-of-funnel lead conversion topics that can translate to sales meeting conversions.
  3. Video Series: These can be executed either as an instructional or FAQ series. Consider having a key opinion leader (KOL) present this content to maximize credibility.
  4. Quiz/Survey: Use quizzes or surveys to collect insights that can identify those ready for nurturing or a sales conversation. If you use a survey as your lead magnet, you’ll want to go through a nurturing step after the survey, before you attempt to convert to a sales conversation. Keep these tips in mind when leveraging audience surveys right now.
  5. Practical Resources: Create clinic resources like pet owner handouts and staff checklists to generate leads. For example, a pet owner handout that educates about how your product works could indicate a higher level of interest in using your product more or adopting your product.

To optimize conversions, focus your primary message on the value of your content instead of COVID-19. Veterinarians are becoming fatigued by COVID messaging.

Keep your value proposition short and simple. Clearly communicate it in your subject line to maximize email opens. Always A/B test your subject lines to make sure you’re getting as many opens as possible on your emails.

These two tools can help with subject lines:

You can find more tips on repurposing your existing content to create quick lead-generation programs here.

Develop a Virtual Sales Process

Data collection and organization are even more important with the workforce at home. Make sure you have clear processes and ways to access campaign performance in real-time:

  • CRM Strategy: Your CRM should be supporting your sales team with the information they need to turn leads into virtual meetings.
  • Marketing Automation Strategy: Maximize sales-qualified leads (SQLs) by enrolling marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) in automated nurturing sequences.
  • Triggers for SQLs: Clearly define a process by which notifications are sent to sales reps when a lead transitions from being an MQL to an SQL based upon either explicit or implied buying behaviors.

Do Your Homework

  • MQLs and SQLs: Evaluate and understand content interaction and behaviors that indicate leads are ready for a sales conversation. Look at your historic sales data to see what content leads interacted with directly before a sales conversation took place to map out buyer journeys.
  • Design Your Qualifying Questions: Spend time to carefully craft your lead magnet qualifying questions to gain access to both superficial and core insights that your team will need to convert leads into meetings.
  • The Sales Team Takes Over: Once leads are in the funnel, the sales team needs to do their homework. They should visit prospect websites, employee LinkedIn pages, and clinic social media channels to glean insights that will help during their virtual meeting.

Tips for a Successful Virtual Sales Meeting

As face-to-face access to clinics has declined, virtual meetings have become the new normal. Many sales professionals have reported an increase in interest from veterinarians to accept a virtual meeting as many have more time to consider new products for their clinics. Use these tips to optimize your virtual meetings.

First, Get the Meeting!

Follow up your lead magnet with a one-on-one email that provides a recommendation for another piece of content that the prospect might like or an offer for a consultation.

In that email, set the expectation that you plan to follow up with a phone call. If you have an existing relationship with the lead, ask if communicating via text message is okay. This will warm your lead and give more instant access to the prospect.

Specifically target clinics that you want to work with. Send InMail to organization leaders on LinkedIn with suggestions for their business and appropriate lead magnet content to engage in a high-level discussion.

Be personally active on social media and proactively provide value-adding content to demonstrate thought leadership. This will help converting some of those cold calls or emails into one-on-one meetings.

Host Your Virtual Meeting

When hosting your virtual meeting, use your webcam to mimic the feel of face-to-face interaction. These virtual meetings can either be one-on-one or with a group that includes all decision makers.

Here are a few tips for hosting effective virtual meetings:

  • Intentionally Craft the Customer Experience: Evaluate your current in-person sales process and adapt it for virtual forums. Throwing slides on a screen isn’t enough to differentiate you or keep your audience engaged. Get creative! Use software simulations, animations, and other multi-media resources to create an interactive experience for your prospect.
  • Use Professional Slides and Imagery: Even with interactive tools, you will likely still need slides to support your message. Make sure they are professional and clean. Use them to communicate visual information that is supportive of your presentation. No reading bullets from slides!
  • Keep Your Meeting Dynamic and Adaptable: In a live meeting, you can read your audience and adapt your message based on feedback. Adopt the same approach on a virtual meeting. This isn’t a webinar lecture—it’s a sales call. Be prepared to switch slide decks, resources, and your overall strategy.

Tools for Collecting the Sale

  • Financing Programs: Create attractive programs designed to make it easier for practices to purchase your product in the current economic climate.
  • Urgency to Act Now: Offer limited time programs to incentivize action. Consider payment plans or free value-adds, but avoid going right to discounting.
  • Buying Considerations: Analyze your in-person “ask for the sale” process. Does it translate into a comfortable digital experience? Consider your transition to asking for the sale—how does the language need to change for a virtual forum? What’s your virtual equivalent to sliding the sales order across the table? In the digital era, it’s easier for prospects to ghost your sales team. You’ll need a clear strategy to close during a virtual sales meeting.

Getting to the Next “Yes”

Even if you do an incredible job on your virtual meeting, there will still be a subset of prospects uncomfortable pulling the trigger over a digital demo.

If you can tell the sale isn’t going to happen, focus your close on the next Yes. That may be closing them on additional education or an in-office meeting in the future. If the next yes is education, make sure you set a concrete time for a follow-up meeting to discuss what the prospect learned and see how you can help. Establish the exact timing of the next steps and your follow-up cadence. Ask if you may text them. Emails are easy to miss.