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Even with many of us returning to the office in some form, the virtual world seems here to stay. Successful sales leaders and professionals adapt. This article shares best practices to build sales relationships and move opportunities through their pipelines to wins.

A significant shift has taken place in the workplace in the way we conduct relationship building and sales development activities. While many have returned to the office, at least in a hybrid approach, it’s clear that elements of virtual relationship building are here to stay. We still need to use technology for ad hoc relationship building, discovering new problems to solve, and observing clients in action.

According to the 2023 Sales Trends Report from Hubspot, salespeople are almost evenly divided about where they plan to work this. A third plan to work remote, while another third plan to work hybrid. It is crucial to embrace best practices that facilitate the building of sales relationships and propel opportunities through pipelines to successful outcomes. In this article, we will explore some of these effective strategies employed by my clients, highlighting their ability to navigate the ever-changing sales landscape and achieve meaningful wins.

Sales Worksheet qualifying opportunities

Use demos to promote virtual sales relationship building.

I have a manufacturing client whose sales professionals were unable to visit their customers’ facilities during the pandemic. Because they sell a tactile product, a prospect or customer needs to see it in action. So, they took their product demos virtual. Even post-Covid, this could be a strategy to consider. To do virtual demos successfully, my client  strongly qualified the need upfront, to best determine the specific product to demo. To keep the customer focused and engaged, they then limited the demo to a specific product. As a follow up, they sent a sample product for the customer, and guided them virtually through the process of implementing it. This two-step follow-up ensures better progress toward winning the opportunity.

Virtual round tables.

Several of my clients have experienced success with bringing together their non-competitive clients for thought leadership and networking, all via virtual round tables. As a team or industry unit, make a list of your top 10-20 clients and invite them to a facilitated video discussion around a lightly planned set of themes. This has been successful in elevating sales relationships, bringing people together for valuable conversation, and it has also led to new opportunities. Of course, you can also conduct round tables in person!

Mastering a shorter sales conversation.

Shorter and more focused sales conversations. Instead of booking that one-hour conversation, what can you accomplish in 30 minutes? I teach a sales conversation framework that’s both outcomes-focused and builds a better sales relationship. The keys to getting really good at building sales relationships virtually are in the pre-planning and the follow-up post conversation. By planning ahead and then quickly following through, conversations are more productive and have momentum. I’m also using video for virtually every sales conversation, as are my clients. They’re seeing better engagement, improved rapport-building, and more forward progress in their opportunities.

Personalized video for prospecting and follow up.

Personalization via video in emails is another area to experiment with for better results in both your prospecting and follow-up activities. Rather than only sending an email, adding a short video to that email improves open rates. Tools like Hippo Video provide the platform for recording and tracking the performance of those video emails. An additional connection hack to explore is the audio messaging feature on LinkedIn. For your first-degree connections, you can leave a 1-minute audio message. This tip can be even more powerful if you have additional sales leadership tactics that can be shared via typewritten message to pair up with your audio.

Getting away from the computer.

We all need consistent breaks from our devices right now. In the absence of face-to-face, I know I’m logging a lot of extra time in front of technology devices. I’m sure you are too. Your outreach or sales activities may need to be more focused, but in less time. Find ways to change up your routines to prevent falling into ruts and keeping yourself energized.

To get started, choose one of these sales strategies that makes the most sense for your sales territory or book of business. Consistently implement over the next quarter, and you’ll see results in our virtual selling world.

Does Your Team Need Help Nurturing Prospect and Client Relationships? Contact Amy Franko.

Amy Franko is the leader in sales strategy and sales leadership coaching, helping you to design best-in-class sales programs that accelerate growth. If you need help cultivating stronger, strategic relationships, let’s schedule a conversation. Don’t let your competition get an advantage. Contact us to schedule a conversation with Amy.

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