The COVID-19 pandemic forever changed how medtech and B2B businesses operate. Gone are the days of lengthy commutes to and from the office; sales and marketing teams now function with remote offices, hybrid workspaces and flexible schedules.
The change is most noticeable for inside and outside sales reps. Instead of road warriors logging thousands of miles a year in business travel, client visits and events, B2B and medtech sales reps have pivoted to virtual selling. Headsets, mobile phones and Zoom accounts have replaced the every-ready overnight bag, rental car and briefcase.
Build trust and rapport with prospects during every sales call
Here at Volkart May, we’ve used virtual sales best practices for years from our medtech and B2B call center. Our business development reps work both in our Minnesota lead generation facility, and remotely from their homes. Every year, we make approximately one million outbound calls for lead generation, appointment-setting and inside sales on behalf of our clients.
A good virtual sales call includes many of the same elements as a face-to-face to face sales meeting:
- Knowing your target audience and their needs
- Asking compelling questions that help build trust and rapport
- Always having an objective or next step in mind to keep the sales call on track
Improve your virtual sales calls with good technology and motivation
Technology adds another layer of preparation for virtual sales calls. We recommend these five tips for effective virtual selling.
1. Invest in quality equipment
Poor technology only makes a medtech or B2B sales rep’s job more difficult. There’s nothing worse than spotty internet coverage during a virtual meeting or a headset that lacks the battery power for a full day’s calling. Make sure each business development rep has a high-quality headset and microphone, strong cell phone and internet service, and a computer that’s powerful enough for the job at hand. Dual monitors are also effective, especially when sales reps need to reference an outbound call guide, sales database or other information during a call.
2. Work from a dedicated space
Proponents of work from home flexibility often tout the various fun locations where they spend their workdays. But, not all types of office work are conducive to the beach, the backyard or the living room couch. Business development and lead generation, in particular, require a level of professionalism. A cold call is often the very first introduction to your company’s brand, and that first touchpoint needs to be a good one. Whether your sales team works at home, from your office or even a coworking space, insist on a dedicated (and quiet) environment with as few distractions as possible.
3. Create a routine
Expert B2B and medtech sales reps know there’s a rhythm and a flow to outbound sales calls. A consistent routine during the workday makes that effectiveness possible. If your organization tracks lead generation or outbound calling metrics, you’ll see the difference in your numbers when business development reps stick to a standard schedule. Here’s a glimpse at how our professional callers spend their days.
4. Expect the unexpected!
By now we’ve all seen the viral video clips of children, pets, spouses and every other type of interruption that can occur during a virtual meeting. Fortunately, business norms have relaxed since the COVID-19 pandemic, where a disruption doesn’t mean the end of a deal.
However, it’s smart to expect the unexpected. Practice your technology until you know the controls inside and out. That way, you can hide your video or hit mute in an instant. Stock extra batteries and a spare headset. Consider also a “Plan B” for days when technology is the culprit. What’s the backup when a sales rep works from home and there’s a day-long internet outage? Or difficulty connecting to company databases? Business continuity planning in advance can dramatically reduce the impact when issues do arise.
5. Buddy up and stay motivated
Finally, acknowledge the ways that a virtual sales environment impacts the sales team’s morale. One of the best parts of having the full team in the same place is camaraderie and motivation. It’s easy to keep your energy level high with coworker coffee breaks or lunch-and-learn sessions. Even just walking across the hall to ask a fellow sales rep a question can lead to a more effective afternoon of calling.
Replicating that team spirit and connectivity in a virtual sales team won’t happen on its own or simply because you’ve launched a Slack channel for B2B or medtech sales reps. Be diligent in creating opportunities to communicate and collaborate, both formal and informal. It’s especially important to make sure less experienced sales reps have access to their peers. Here at Volkart May, we use a one-on-one sales mentoring program that pairs newer hires with experienced outbound callers.
Add more muscle to your virtual sales team
Making the transition to a virtual sales environment takes patience and practice. We can help! For more than 30 years, we’ve helped leading medtech and B2B companies add capacity, talent and velocity to their lead generation and inside sales efforts.