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  • Mercer Smith-Looper

9 Reasons why you’re not winning more virtual selling deals

If your sales team isn’t closing as much business as you would like, review their sales techniques. Virtual selling isn't the same as selling in-person. And similarly, the virtual buyer experience is different, too. Are you creating a positive experience conducive to winning the business?

Hardships prepare us for something greater.

I think we all agree, 2020 was a difficult year. 40% of organizations were projected to miss revenue targets and sales reps had to quickly adapt to video and virtual selling. 

But guess what? Those sales reps who made the adjustment fared far better than those who did not. Additionally, buyers actually preferred the new virtual selling processes over in-person transactions.

Fast forward to today: organizations across the globe continue to prioritize digital transformation, virtual selling is the new norm, and the buyer experience is gaining new attention.  On the buyer side, budgets are still tight and buyers are increasingly discerning about where to spend their limited resources. 

The bottom line: in today’s economy, how you sell is just as important as what you sell.

If your sales team isn’t closing as much business as you would like, review their virtual selling techniques. And even more importantly, is your team creating a positive and compelling virtual buyer experience?

Even if you feel your team is close to sales perfection, you could be leaving money on the table if your buyer experience is lacking or your reps aren’t selling the way in which virtual buyers prefer to buy. In this blog post, we will break down nine reasons why your team isn’t winning more deals when selling virtually— and they all point back to your buyer experience.

What is buyer experience?

The buyer experience is the entire journey that a potential customer takes from discovery all the way through to purchase. The buyer experience is not about your product but rather is centered around the buyer. The experience they have includes everything from the buyer’s feelings and perspectives throughout the exploration and purchasing process, from every point of contact they have with your company, to the information they consume. Once they purchase, the buyer embarks on an extension of their journey with your brand, now as a customer.

A lackluster win rate is a sure sign your buyer experience is in need of an overhaul. The prospects that don’t purchase are probably the best ones to analyze and learn from, as they often highlight your weaknesses. 

An excellent buyer experience is also a competitive advantage, instantly grabbing attention and engaging your prospect. Understanding where to improve your process will help boost sales across your entire team.

Indicators of an average buyer experience

If your win rates are starting to decline, are flat, or are lower than you would like them to be, take the opportunity to scrutinize your buyer experience and which parts are failing to engage your prospects. Here, we highlight nine of the most commonly overlooked aspects of the buyer experience.

Your buyer experience isn’t personal

64% of buyers look for personalized sales materials and 25% of them dismiss materials that aren’t personalized. If you’re emailing generic collateral to interested prospects, you could be losing business before you even get started selling. Set your sales team up for virtual selling success; equip them with the tools and materials to deliver a more personalized digital buyer experience. 

Let us show you how to elevate your virtual selling impact. In just 15 minutes, we’ll give you a personalized demo of Qwilr.

Because reps can’t be in the same room as buyers, it places extra emphasis on your sales materials. As such, you’ll also want to evaluate your collateral from a best practices perspective: 

  • Are you addressing customer expectations and restating their challenge as you understand it?
  • What about design— are you creating an impactful first impression? Do your sales materials stand out and positively reflect your brand?
  • Do your sales proposals help the buyer solve their challenges and make an informed decision?
  • Are you reassuring prospects of your capabilities with relevant testimonials?

Stepping back and reviewing your materials holistically will help make your buyer experience more relevant and personal, positively influencing your win rate.

Your customers don’t feel empowered

In our recent buyer experience study, we discovered that many prospects want ownership of the sales process. In fact:

  • 66% want a build-your-own pricing option
  • 25% want self-serve signing option
  • 40% of people want a self-serve product demo

If your sales team is hand-holding or controlling every step of the way, it’s time to revisit and revise. When your team is constantly busy with lower-impact aspects of the buyer journey, they are actually bottlenecking the process, not to mention, they won’t focus as much time on actually selling. Potential buyers prefer doing some of the research on their own, at their own pace— self-serve demos as an example. If your sales team is over-controlling the process, your buyers will feel less empowered.

Your sales materials are inconsistent

Customers appreciate a consistent sales experience. When your website, sales collateral, and proposals all have a similar look and feel, you build visual recognition and prospects are more apt to remember you. That consistency can be difficult to create if your sales team is creating every new document from scratch or materials are outdated or off-brand. 

A recent study uncovered that the quality of the sales materials (36%) and customization of collateral (27%) are highly regarded by buyers. However, a common sales challenge is the time to create personalized content and tracking down current materials. Mistakenly picking up outdated pricing or old messaging is an embarrassing mistake— one that could cost you the deal.

When you have a proposal design tool with a content management system, your marketing or sales enablement teams can create a library of content blocks for sales reps to easily pull into proposals. The benefit is on-brand (and always current!) content that will suit customer needs no matter where they are in the purchasing journey. And another bonus: your sales team will save time in the process too— proposals will be easier and faster to create, improving the speed at which you can deliver them to clients.

Your buyer experience isn’t interactive

When you send your prospective customers documents, are they static documents composed of text with maybe a few visuals sprinkled in? This traditional format for sales documents doesn’t allow your buyer to participate in the process or engage with your content. Breaking up large chunks of content with engaging, rich media can help create an easy-to-read piece of collateral and draws the buyer in. 

The use of one-to-one video exploded in 2020, and 87% of sales professionals use video regularly. However, most of these videos are sent separately from sales collateral. Instead of separating the content you send to your customers, combine it for a more impactful presentation. 

Embedding rich media like gifs and videos within your sales collateral provides additional information visually and makes more compelling documents. And when selling virtually, a personal video greeting allows the buyer to connect a face with a name. When videos or rich media are part of your sales proposals, prospects now have a uniform, cohesive buyer experience, versus forcing them to dig through multiple emails to find the information they need and piece it together independently.

Your response time is slow

Most companies know that a quick response time for customer service or support is essential, but don’t recognize its value in the buyer experience.

In fact, 45% of buyers care about the time it takes for your sales team to respond. You may not know the speed at which your sales team responds or engages relevant prospects. If that’s the case, track your response times and establish standards for your team to follow. Sales responsiveness is valuable both from a bottom line and a buyer experience perspective. Having a library of content to prepare a sales proposal can greatly reduce the time from ending a Zoom call to sending a personalized quote.

You don’t provide buyer reassurance

“Purchasing anxiety” occurs when the buyer is uncertain whether your product will work as you say it does or have other concerns about signing the deal. With the recent economic downturns, buyers are even more concerned about making the “right” choice for them, so you’re likely to encounter some level of purchasing anxiety. Customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies help your potential customers build an image of your brand in their heads and give them confidence in selecting you. Including “anxiety relievers” in your sales proposal can help ease buyer concerns and give them reassurance in moving forward.

You don’t have configurable pricing

Buyers, especially those purchasing expensive enterprise contracts, are always going to want to negotiate a package or price. In virtual selling, this level of flexibility can be difficult to achieve but is even more critical. 66% of buyers want a “build-your-own” package with the ability to choose software components and pricing. Buyers prefer to select different pieces and features of the product and remove any that don’t apply to their needs— “right-sizing” their package. 

Even more important is seeing the financial impact of adding and removing some aspects from the sales contract. This level of customization empowers prospects, builds confidence that the solution is appropriately scaled for their specific needs, and removes friction in the buying process. 

Configurable pricing is a virtual selling accelerator— it enables buyers to easily make adjustments and eliminates the back and forth with the sales rep. As a result, you accelerate closing the deal and can move on to the next one.

Your sales process has too many steps

To create an experience that is both convenient and conversion-oriented, you’ll need to retire any outdated processes included in traditional sales cycles. Removing unnecessary steps removes friction for motivated buyers and adds momentum to the deal.

Some of the more common activities that work against you in closing more virtual selling deals:

  • Sending PDF documents that need to be revised and resent when changes occur
  • Required “hard copy” signatures on printed, signed, and scanned documents
  • Payment portals separate from your contract and invoices

Building functionality like in-proposal payment options and early-stage approvals can make for a much better buyer experience and speed up the time to close. Advanced sales proposal software like Qwilr makes it easy to incorporate buyer conveniences. (Want to see how it works? Request a demo.)

Your sales materials aren’t easy to share

Two years ago, the average number of people involved in a deal was 5.4. Currently, it’s 6.8 and growing. Given that, it’s essential that anything you share with one team member can be shared with all of them.

Of those surveyed, 24% of buyers are frustrated when the sales collateral or the presentations from your sales team can’t be quickly received or shared. Large file sizes, requiring prospects to download or update software add complexity (and frustration) to your buyer experience and impede your sales process. Ensure that your prospects can easily share everything that you send with the rest of their team. Web-based sales proposals not only make your materials easy to share, but enable rich media, add security, plus alerts and analytics of who’s viewing, too.

Great buyer experiences boost virtual sales

If you’re not winning the deals you think you should be, something is off. And chances are, it has something to do with how you are selling and the buyer experience you are creating. Are you making it easy for buyers to do business with you? And are you properly equipping your sales team for virtual selling success?

The pandemic has created some hardships, but it has also opened up new sales opportunities. Capitalize on the lessons learned, and take steps to improve your virtual selling techniques— we guarantee it will pay off in the long run.

Seal every deal. Qwilr sales proposals can help your team stand out, save time, and win more business. In just 15 minutes, we’ll show you how. Get a personalized demo.

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