By Sean Alpert-
Today’s salespeople face some pretty serious challenges – bigger quotas, increasingly savvy buyers and crowded markets that make it tough to get mindshare. Fortunately, there’s a new arsenal of selling tools available today that salespeople can use to better connect with customers and prospects. Three in particular stand out in delivering a true, personalized experience – what I call the Three Vs of Sales Tools: voice, video and virtual reality. Using one – but preferably a combination of all three – strengthens the buying experience for your prospects and further enables your sales team.
Voice: essential to building trust
While email provides an excellent channel for sales teams to stay in touch with prospects, strategic sales always incorporates phone calls somewhere along the journey. The average sales representative spends at least two hours on the phone every day, and Salesforce’s research has indicated that 92 percent of all customer interactions happen over the phone.
Why is that? Well, with voice you have a richer opportunity to connect with your prospect. You can talk through their business needs and what they’re looking for. But more importantly, you can hear their enthusiasm for certain features and options, and also you can hear what they’re not excited about, adjusting your pitch right there on the phone. The prospect feels listened to and understood. That helps build a relationship and trust – all of which is integral to the selling process. As you get to know the prospect more, voice can be a key tool in helping you build the relationship and become a strategic advisor.
Video: going beyond the video chat
Today, many sales reps find themselves unable to travel for every meeting and video chats are a great substitute. Video chat technology is increasingly reliable and easy to use, and prospects also appreciate video calls as they often have multiple decision makers spread across the country.
But videos themselves are also a powerful tool for the sales arsenal. Educational videos, product-training videos, sizzle reels and genuinely fun content provides buyers with more clarity about what kind of company you are and what your business has to offer. The broader power of video shouldn’t be overlooked – video connects with people on a personal level, eliciting an emotional response. Consider that most prospects will only remember 20 percent of what they read, but will retain 80 percent of what they see. Research from Forrester indicates that the inclusion of video content in emails leads to a 200 to 300 percent increase in the click-through rate as compared to emails without videos (Source: Forrester Report). The bottom line? If your sales team isn’t using video for more than quick chats, you’re missing out on a key way to connect and engage with prospects.
Virtual reality: why it’s going to be here before you know it
The technologies I’ve mentioned are a no-brainer – more and more businesses are adopting the power of video and voice in their sales strategies. But what about the last V? Virtual Reality.
If you instinctively thought, “you’re ridiculous to even recommend VR for my company’s sales purposes,” take a moment to reflect on how quickly the technology is catching on. According to analyst firm Piper Jaffray, “500 million VR headsets could be sold by 2025.” And these headsets will start making their way into the enterprise.
Imagine your customer putting on a VR headset and examining prototypes long before they’ve shipped out, gaining a better sense of what the product looks like and even giving you great feedback on the prototype before it hits the manufacturing floor! Or, imagine a company that makes large manufacturing equipment for factory floors able to use VR for trade show demos and provide a prospect with the experience of walking through the factory floor and trying out that equipment. These types of experiences were impossible before, but now are within reach. Forward thinking sales teams should prepare for the inevitable: 3D models, highly interactive demos, training courses and next-generation customer service, will all delivered via VR over the next few years.
Harvard Business Review wrote, “Selling has always been more about the buyer than the seller. Any effective sales model must adapt to changing buying protocols, not ignore or resist them.” The future of selling is here and the salespeople who are going to succeed will be those who use every tool available to them to connect with customers. By offering more interaction through video, voice and VR sales reps can get a leg up and start building more meaningful relationships with customers.
Sean Alpert is the senior director of product marketing at Salesforce.