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Insights

Enabling Culture, Collaboration, and Confidence in a Virtual Sales Environment

Monday, June 29, 2020
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The gong sounds, and the crowd goes wild! Standing ovations, pats on the back, your hype song playing in the background while a human tunnel leads you to post your coveted new logo on the “Win Wall” for all to see! Those days feel long gone, but the impact of those rituals is not forgotten. As working from home has become the standard, we have been thrust into our new reality with little time to adjust. Sales leadership has been tasked with reworking our commercial growth strategies and challenged to recreate the emotion and energy of the sales floor in a virtual environment. Here are some practical tips that enablement can impact culture, collaboration, and confidence in a virtual sales environment.

Culture

Culture is more than cold brew and ping pong in the office. When put to the test, staff resilience and creativity shines. There are various options to deploy in a virtual environment. It’s safer to make small tests over big bets.

Here are some practical examples that can help shift “office traditions” to a virtual setting:

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  • Are you missing morning watercooler or coffee chats? Have the team start each day with an icebreaker question in a Slack channel or email thread. This keeps everyone connected, and targeted questions have led to deeper connectivity than the casual, “How was your weekend?”
  • No more cake for birthdays? Let’s save the calories and host a virtual Zoom surprise party. Simply coordinate a private invite that overlaps with a regularly scheduled meeting for person of honor. Have the crew log on early and cover their camera. When the employee to be celebrated arrives, have everyone remove the cover and yell, “Surprise!”
  • Did your cute pet picture on your desk gain a lot of admirers? Host a weekly virtual pet parade to introduce office mates to your new furry co-workers!
  • Was live training engagement higher when joined by an executive? Executive “Zoom-bombing” is a great way for them to show their support, inject some energy into the training, and still maintain their busy schedule. (See when Conan O’Brien did this; and recognize that CEOs can be viewed as local celebrities for staff.)
  • Happy hours are still a great time for team bonding. To freshen up a potentially awkward group zoom, try a chat roulette by using the Zoom breakout feature to push the group into more intimate settings. Switch the groups multiple times to ensure there’s a good mix of conversations! Work-from-home superlatives are another good option to inject some fun. Send a form prior to the meeting to have the team vote each other for quirky superlatives related to remote work. Most likely to leave their camera off. Most likely to never go back to the office. Most likely to brag about the bread they are making. You get the idea!
  • While peer-to-peer knowledge sharing happens naturally in an office setting, simply create space and it should continue. Host virtual masterclasses where staff can teach on an area of their expertise, whether its business-related like a sales skill or competitive intelligence or strictly for fun, like a mixology or quilting session.

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Collaboration

Team selling is more important than ever, and maintaining strong collaboration within the team as well as cross-functionally is key to closing deals. Lean into your tech stack to optimize the joints in the sales process. Each company’s tech stack is unique, but here are some common options that yield positive results in a distributed setting:

  • Use Zoom white boards and breakout rooms.
  • Incorporate Slido into your presentations to ensure engagement and understanding before moving forward.
  • Adapt a tool like the Donut application, which matches pairs at random for a virtual coffee chat, are great for continued relationship building.
  • Use a revenue intelligence tool like Gong or Chorus to surface good examples and share feedback on calls.
  • Apply existing social learning or gamification components inyour LMS to ensure the team is motivating and challenging each other as competition fuels leaderboards.

Confidence

Create continuous learning opportunities in a time where sales schedules are lighter than usual. Practical tips to build seller confidence include:

  • Create Kahoot quiz polls to keep product and process knowledge sharp.
  • Schedule “war rooms” where reps can leverage each other and leadership as thought partners on challenging deals.
  • Have reps schedule peer demos to keep their skills sharp and learn from each other .
  • Keep wins top of mind to build momentum. A lot of companies use email chains or slack channels. Try a creative alternative by recording two-minute “Why Buy” interviews with reps that provide brief context on the new logo, why they bought, why you won, and what drove the urgency for them to buy right now.
  • Don't forget to celebrate. Blow up the Zoom chat function when wins are announced. The crowd can still go wild . . . albeit quietly!
About the Author

Whitney Sieck, CPTD, is director of revenue enablement in the greater New York City area. Her specialties include learning gap analysis, curriculum design and implementation, professional development consulting, project management, and process improvement initiatives. Whitney brings a diverse and unique perspective on program development. She has worked in a variety of industries including recruitment, oil and gas, health and safety, and technology. Her current passion is developing the sales teams of a thriving, privately held talent acquisition software provider with a rapidly growing customer base. Connect with Whitney on LinkedIn here.

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