While at Microsoft I did a lot of sales training and support presentations for those same sales teams. For the latter, I was the invited expert to demo something – meaning it was the sales rep’s appointment to manage (including setting up the web conference). Over countless sales calls I saw patterns of behavior that lead me to one simple observation:
Your sales reps need to go beyond “competent.”
I’m not throwing anybody under a bus here – I carried a bag for 14 years myself.
The problem isn’t availability of a web conferencing solution, or even competence with it. They got the training, and hey, using web conferencing isn’t hard. They can figure it out.
Nobody wants to look foolish. No sales person wants to look like they’re not in control of everything. If they’re not confident using web conferencing, they’ll avoid it. They’ll do things the old way and tell you they don’t need it.
And you leave money on the table in the ways that web conferencing can help with – visual impact in presentations and demonstrations, collaborating on needs analysis and contracts, and on and on.
To run a quick litmus test on where they’re at, consider the following six questions:
Have you mastered multiple ways to initiate a meeting?
Scheduling on the web, scheduling through Outlook, and using instant meetings are the most common, and many vendors let you initiate meetings from IM or even Office documents. There isn’t a right or wrong, but there’s a good chance they’re one-trick ponies in this corral.
Do you have a five minute version of your presentation ready to go?
Instant meetings are the killer app for transforming telephone calls into visual and collaborative communications, but this isn’t usually the time to pull out a 30-slide corporate presentation.
Are you growing in your skill at going beyond telling to showing?
Barring a disability, half of the brain’s power that is dedicated to our five senses is committed to eyesight. And science has shown visuals are better understood and remembered. PowerPoint design and what you do in a live desktop demo are both skills to master.
Do you know what your prospect is seeing on their screen?
Again, reps don’t want to feel out of control. They may well avoid web conferencing if they can’t be a tour guide of the prospect’s experience.
Have you learned how to go beyond screen sharing to collaborating?
Only showing something via web conferencing is the visual version of talking at instead of talking with. Good web conferencing tools have many features and make it possible to engage prospects beyond “watching a show.”
Have you joined at least one of marketing’s webinars to help out with questions behind the scenes?
Sometimes the best question to be privy to is one that your prospect ask someone else (like a presenter at one of your marketing webinars). Marketing will welcome an extra pair of hands to help out with text questions, you’ll be a hero for having your team help, and your rep will learn something in the process.