Virtual Sales – Part I – Virtual Sales Presentations

COVID-19 has changed business for good, but has it changed it for the better? In this three-part series, we are going to discuss virtual sales presentations, what they are, how they benefit businesses, and how to utilize them effectively.

What is a Virtual Sales Presentation?

A virtual sales presentation is simply the remote, virtual version of an in-person sales presentation. These presentations can be between either a salesperson and the prospective buyer, or a sales team and the prospective buyer, which usually consists of a panel of decision-makers for the company. While virtual selling was already on the rise, COVID-19 forced a major shift across the business world (SOCO). With significantly reduced travel and the inability to meet in person, businesses had to get creative, and now virtual selling is considered mainstream (Center for Sales Strategy).

Another version of the virtual sales presentation is sending a sales video via email, which is another example of how COVID-19 impacted the world of B2B sales. This approach has proven to be surprisingly effective. Businesses that added video to their initial sales emails experienced a 22% greater ‘open’ rate, and a 92% increase in response rates (Vidyard).

Virtual selling is here to stay, and according to a study regarding B2B virtual sales, 75% of buying decision-makers agree that virtual selling is may be more effective than face-to-face selling (SOCO).  76% of sales leaders believe that virtual sales interactions are equally or more effective than traditional in-person engagement when prospecting for new customers (McKinsey). These numbers reflect a virtual sales relationship can be strong and beneficial for businesses.   

Benefits, Drawbacks, and Solutions of Virtual Sales Presentations

Virtual selling allows for quicker meetings, more touchpoints, a more natural follow-up, and a shorter sales cycle (The Center for Sales Strategy).  Based on research published in November 2020 by McKinsey, roughly 75% of B2B customers prefer virtual sales over traditional face-to-face sales (McKinsey).

However, as businesses have moved more toward virtual sales presentations during the pandemic, they have faced some hurdles and difficulties. Some of these issues include facing roadblocks in connecting with the prospective buyer, gaining and engaging a buyer’s attention, and video chat fatigue (TechRepublic). Using solutions like Jigsaw Interactive, where the sales team can simultaneously utilize videos, presentations, documents and images to display various levels of product information, gaining the attention of the buyer is easy.  With the ability to let the prospect engage with the data on their own, the opportunity to get them engaged is significantly heightened.   

Some businesses have conquered these problems by creating a hybrid sales model, where some of the sales team represents the company in person while the bulk of them stay behind and join by video conference. This model encourages connection and engages the buyer’s attention (US Chamber of Commerce), but still requires travel so many of the efficiencies are lost.

Another hybrid model of sales involves sending a sales presentation via email and following up with live video, in an effort to reduce video chat fatigue (B2B Decision Labs).   The challenge to this model is the prospect may not fully understand how the product meets their needs so decides to not have a virtual meeting.  Hybrid models don’t offer a solid “push back” identification and response which is so critical in the sales process. 

Hybrid models are not necessary when virtual sales presentations are done well, using technology that incorporates all aspects of the sales process.