Customer Success, Remote Sales & CS, Sustainable Growth

How to transform to Remote Selling & Customer Success

Jacco van der Kooij

Written by Jacco van der Kooij

Founder, Winning by Design

4 MINUTE READ

A change has occurred, and companies must adapt their go to market to this new reality to achieve continued, sustained growth.

Various economic and environmental factors (including increased competition, more pressure to reach profitability earlier in the company journey, and notably the recent coronavirus outbreak) are having a significant impact on how companies interact with their customers, prospects, vendors, partners, stakeholders, and communities.

Many companies currently rely on in-person conferences to generate their leads, in-person meetings to create interest, steak dinners to build relationships, and Executive Briefing Center visits to show off their technology. They may also rely heavily on the class Enterprise Field Sales model, with reps located in region, and spending most of their time in their clients’ offices to develop and grow their book of business (Ref. 1.)

It is easy to think of the recent changes in the market as short term, and to think that things will ‘return to normal’ after a period of time. But these changes are going to have a radical and lasting impact on how companies go to market moving forward. 

So the question now is not when will things return to normal; instead, it is that given this new normal, what should you do to respond? 

SaaS companies in particular have been early to start adopting an Inside Sales model (Ref. 2.). This model is used by many of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies in order to efficiently reach their target markets; it allows them to be more efficient with their capital and more nimble to adjust to the changing market – all using a modern tech stack to power and enable the team from their own offices rather than from the field. But this model is typically only used for SMB and perhaps even mid-market segments, with field teams working with Enterprise customers, conducting on-site visits and meetings. 

But it’s time to take this further. In order to achieve sustainable growth (Ref. 3.) through this new market reality, companies will need to use the model and tactics from Inside Selling, and apply them to their broader sales team via an updated Remote Selling model. 

Working with hundreds of fast-growing companies in Silicon Valley and around the world, we have helped clients implement an Remote Selling model — combining the best practices from Inside Selling, with the unique skills of selling in B2B enterprise, all enabled with a modern online tool stack. GTM leaders will find that Remote Selling provides an opportunity to dramatically increase productivity, while satisfying these new market conditions. 

Figure 1. Simple framework of how we communicate, in the transformation from traditional to online selling.

Figure 1. Simple framework of how we communicate, in the transformation from traditional to online selling.

They key principles of sales still remain: find leads, have meetings with customers, and gain their commitment via a contract. But GTM leaders will need to adjust their direction and help their teams focus with a new mindset, with these considerations: 

  1. A shift in thinking: Instead of thinking how they help their company to sell, leaders must instill the idea with their sellers of how they help their customers to buy. Instead of being sold to, the modern buyer wants to be educated through their buying process. Leaders should help their teams see this new way of thinking, and bring this shift to manifest in all of the conversations that their teams will start to have Online rather than in person. 
  2. An adjustment in process: The fundamentals of the sales process should not change (Ref. 4.), but specific actions through that process, and how the team is enabled to conduct their process via Online, will need to change. Think of using a targeted online Account Based Strategy rather than gathering leads from trade shows, or running all product demos via a facilitated screen share rather than in-person or at Executive Briefing Centers.  
  3. Education in new skills: Online Selling doesn’t mean that you are simply shifting your in-person meeting to a video conference. It requires reps to use a fundamentally different set of skills — a rep who is skilled at presenting in front of a board room will have to use a brand new set of skills to prep for and facilitate a video conference. Reps will need to learn new skills such as how to develop relationships online, how to run an online demo, and how to set up his online work environment (Ref. 5.). 

Figure 2. Using the GTM Readiness Framework to transform each GTM stage to true Online Selling.

Figure 2. Using the GTM Readiness Framework to transform each GTM stage to true Online Selling. 

If a company can facilitate this change in mindset to helping customers to buy, if they can adjust their sales process toward online selling motions for the enterprise, and if they can each their salespeople the new skills they need in order to take the right actions throughout that process, then they will be able to master the online environment.

Reference material

Ref. 1. Inside Sales vs. Field Sales: What’s the difference? David Scott, Internal Results

Ref. 2. The Rise of Inside Sales and What it Means For Your SaaS Business by Andy Farquharson

Ref. 3. The Fundamentals of Sustainable Growth, Jacco J. van de Kooij

Ref. 4. Frameworks Governing B2B Marketing, Sales and Customer Success and Why SaaS Needs Its Own Framework by Jacco J. van der Kooij, Founder

Ref. 5. The Best Way to Video Conference, Jacco J. van der Kooij

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