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  • Writer's pictureBob Wiesner, Managing Partner, The Americas

Why So Much Emphasis on Digital Selling?

There’s gotta be a zillion terabytes available now on “how to sell effectively over Zoom.” A search of this question over Google in late November turned up 682,000,000 hits. And why not? The days of the face-to-face meeting are well behind us, and likely to remain so until a vaccine becomes widely available. Even then, there’s evidence that remote meetings will be with us long after the pandemic is declared under control.

Artemis has its points of view about digital selling. But what really amazes us is a how relatively less attention has been given to digital buying. That is, in what ways have buying processes, behaviors and criteria changed as a result of this transition to digital sales activities?

There are some obvious tactical issues to account for as a business development or pursuit team considers interactions that are now 100% virtual. Failing to make these adjustments will likely significantly hurt your chances in a competitive pursuit. This failure will also get in your way long before an RFP drops. Let’s face it. When we speak with people who haven’t mastered camera angles, has a lousy mic, or poor lighting, or simply isn’t listening (not exclusive to the digital world), we’re less inclined to want to work with that person. And it’s even worse if virtual presentation are hard to read, hard to follow, or lack interactivity.

But just bringing those mechanics up to par doesn’t win business. And the reason is simple: Mastery of virtual meetings and presentations is just a foundation. Teams that have been consistently winning since we’ve entered this new world are those that truly understand the nature of virtual buying.

And virtual buying shares much in common with face-to-face buying. Surprising, then, that so many pursuit teams have almost completely overlooked this.

In our surveys and executive roundtable discussions since the pandemic, we’ve heard experienced and successful sellers tell us that the foundational elements of relationship building and trust are more important than ever. The steps needed to address them successfully don’t require new digital tactics. That require adoption and adherence to strong strategic priorities.

Consider this, based on what we’ve learned in the last eight months.

Empathy matters more than ever. A fancy background and cool PowerPoint slides won’t do a thing whether buyers perceive that you really care about their well being and that of their people and their business.

Relationships are more dependent on trust. And trust can be more a function of what you say than how you say it. You must communicate your capabilities, your authenticity, your “other orientation.”

Insights reduce risk, and risk is now a greater concern. Sellers and buyers have told us that incumbency matters more than ever. Why? Because incumbents – of they’ve done a good job – are less risky options for buyers during this time of high stakes and strained budgets. If you are challenging the incumbent, your best chance to establish your viability is through your insights and expertise.

Our bottom line – if you think the biggest obstacle to your new business win rate is Zoom or other virtual selling tools, you might be right. But you also might be putting too much emphasis on technological tactics. Success in business development today is no different than it was in the Before Times. It’s always been about how well you understand what the buyer really cares about, and how well you can consistently make it a central, strategic part of your business development program.

Want to know how to do this well as we work through the challenges of the pandemic? Give us a call.


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