If you already have some brand awareness, so people know who you are and what you do, there are three ways that you can accelerate your sales in a virtual environment.
1. Be open with your data and content
Remove all the hurdles that people traditionally put in the way of enabling prospective customers and buyers to research your product and you will benefit significantly.
When you think about the buyer's journey, a lot of time is spent doing research before they contact you. They're evaluating different products and solutions. Yet the majority of organizations gate all the valuable content that helps a person to make proper research decisions because they want marketing leads. The number one hurdle for any customer is reticence; they don’t want to talk to a salesperson at that point, they want information.
If you take away the hurdle of having to provide an email address, you let prospective buyers get to the information they need to make decisions about your product faster.
You also need to make sure the content you provide is valuable to the researcher. Look at your marketing explainer videos, for example. It typically never shows the product and leaves the customer to draw the conclusion it will help them. While it may be interesting from a marketing perspective, if you're a technical evaluator you need technical information to make a decision, so you need to give them more than a marketing video.
At Yellowfin, we’ve put in-depth videos of 20 to 30 minutes on our website, which steps people through the primary use cases for our product. These cover different personas, so people can choose the demonstration that they want to watch. We’ve also put an evaluation guide on our website. This has about 600 questions and answers that people have asked us in the past about our product. All of it is ungated and freely accessible.
Now when a buyer comes to us, they're more educated about our product and we spend less time trying to explain its nuances because they already know what it does. People are also moving faster to request contact with our sales team and that’s the ultimate goal. By making the research process frictionless, we’ve accelerated the sales process.
2. Don't reward Marketing for leads generated
A lot of marketing departments have a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for the number of leads generated, like the email addresses that come from having a gated white paper.
But a lead is actually worthless. You can buy leads easily or turn on activities that will give you thousands of leads, but that does not mean that they are motivated to buy from you.
A marketing department that is measured by leads generated will fundamentally not be successful. That’s because you will spend a lot of money generating leads that have no intention of buying your product.
Instead, reward your marketing team for delivering qualified opportunities to your sales organization. These are sales ready leads that your sales organization can act on.
3. Think about and spend time on your demos
If you get to the point of actually offering online demonstrations so people can test drive your product, your product managers need to think about the prospective buyer’s scenarios rather than new user scenarios.
This involves thinking about what you need to do to create an environment that's really going to help a prospect get excited about what you could do for their business.
If you have a SaaS offering, people can just start using your product. But if your product requires setup and configuration, or needs to be integrated with a customer’s existing systems, then providing someone with access to a demonstration environment isn’t necessarily going to be the best experience that you can provide. It just leaves the customer wanting because they don't get the true experience that they sought after.
When building an online demonstration, remember the customer doesn't have their data and processes in your system, and they may not be connected to their internal systems. Think about what you can do to make it exciting for them to experience your product.
If you want to accelerate your software sales virtually, these are the 3 things I’d focus on.
Read: How software startups can build their brand virtually in 2021
Yellowfin CEO Glen Rabie shares four critical steps for software startups to build their brand virtually and hit the ground running with their customers.