7 min read time
Working in B2B sales isn’t easy at the best of times, but when you’re faced with a particularly difficult prospect, like a remote decision maker, times can get really tough. After trying all your usual, trusted techniques without seeing a single result, it’s easy to feel out of options and lose all hope of closing a sale. But have no fear- it’s time to discover the B2B sale secrets behind successfully working with remote decision makers, so you always have the answer, no matter who enters your sales pipeline.
Remote decision makers in B2B organizations
We’re going to kick off by sharing a truly jaw-dropping fact. 1 in 3 B2B decision makers work remotely for a majority of their week. This is a huge percentage, and changes a lot about how B2B sales teams should approach and work with prospects. It’s important to note why so many decision makers now work from home; this development in the world of businesses seems very new, but it’s in fact very present- it’s happening right now.
These decision makers are not only trusted intently by their organization to work and manage teams away from the office, they are also highly productive. Recent studies show those working remotely can achieve 35% more activity than those working in office environments; in most cases, remote workers are able to get an extra day’s worth of work done every week at home compared to in the office. It’s easy to see the appeal for employers and decision makers alike; and it’s not just the productivity factor that has DMs working a few out-of-office days. General morale and attitude to work is drastically higher in those regularly working outside of an office environment.
But we hear you asking “what does all this mean for B2B sales?” The answer is, in essence, a lot. This means the sales strategy you usually use is out the window- it won’t work in the same way on remote decision makers; usually, it won’t work at all! This points to a fairly serious need to rethink the way we conduct B2B sales, and ensure our teams are ready. It’s easy to think remote decision makers are a minority, but they now make up a third of your target audience; if you completely cut this third out, you’re losing an enormous amount of potential business.
So what can we do to be prepared? What sales techniques work for remote decision makers, and what should we avoid to ensure success? Here’s a few great ways to get started…
Don’t ask for a meeting
This sounds so obvious, it’s not worth mentioning, but you’ll be surprised how many sales pitches and scripts automatically include the “can we get together for a meeting?” question. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it; whether you ask to meet on a day they’re planning to be in the office anyway, or you offer to go to directly to their house- a remote decision maker will very rarely meet with you.
Inquiring about a meeting proves several things to a remote DM- it shows a lack of awareness, telling them you haven’t properly listened to their personal and business needs and it shows a lack of individual attention. It proves that you haven’t changed your regular business process and continue to offer them the same script you offer every prospect. This certainly doesn’t make the positive, memorable first impression you were hoping for.
Remote decision makers aren’t just efficient- they’re also very good at business and highly skilled in their job, meaning they can see through rehearsed sales pitches and scripts. You need to offer them something special. Get creative and think of ways your product can be communicated to a remote decision maker without needing a face-to-face meeting.
Remember where they are
Remote DMs can work in all kinds of places, it could be at home in a small office or on the kitchen table, or even in public places like libraries and coffee shops. One thing however is certain- they’re not working in an office environment like the one you’re selling to them from.
In an office, we take many things for granted. We have up to date, connected equipment on hand, and an IT department to help if things go wrong. We can make calls and have discussions- there’s no need for silence. We can quickly ask colleagues for opinions and guidance. When working remotely, all of these things can require extra effort and time- consuming processes, and depending on their work environment, certain things aren’t always doable. This heightens further the need to rethink your usual approach and ask some key questions:
- What does your current approach rely on the DM having around them? (A phone, computer, internet access?)
- How will you work with multiple decision makers, if one or more of them works remotely?
- What channels of communication will you use if they are unable to take phone-calls or view email attachments?
There is no one answer for each of these questions, there are many ways you can engage remote decision makers and make successful sales- it just take a little extra thought than picking up the phone and dialling a number. You’ll find the extra effort put into creating a sales approach for remote workers pays off; so few people plan a strategy around remote DMs, they’ll find it both refreshing and memorable when you are mindful of their requirements.
Work with influencers
A great way to work with remote decision makers is to not work with them at all!
We know this sounds odd- let us explain what we mean... When you discover a DM works remotely, offer to liaise with someone in the office who reports into them instead. The person they elect will be a responsible individual they trust to make a decision, also known as an influencer. Though this person is not the sole decision maker alone, their opinion heavily sways the DM towards a choice. Convince the influencer, and you stand a good chance of making a sale.
This is a great way to work around the need for a meeting. Instead of asking to meet the DM, ask if they have a team member you could meet instead. This helps you stay in your sales comfort zone, using more of those trusted techniques on the influencer, whilst still making impact on the ultimate authority. Remote decision makers will work harder than most to ensure good communication with their team at all times meaning the influencer can have even more power than usual. In some cases, you may not need to interact with the DM at all!
Establish their routine
Upon discovering a decision maker works remotely, you’ll want to establish a few things- almost like an additional round of qualification questions.
You need to discover their routine. Are they in the office for some of the working week, or not at all? Do they usually work the same 9-5 hours you do, or work early/late shifts to match other time zones? Do they stay in one place or travel regularly? All of these answers will feed into how you approach them, and how best to win them over. If they work later shifts than you, make an effort to send an email or arrange a call for after 5pm- proving you’re bending your timetable to meet theirs. If they’re only in the office one day a week, avoid contacting them on this day so they can focus on their team. These little additions to your lead nurture process will help you win the trust and confidence of these important decision makers and set you on the path to a clear sales win.
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