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STAMFORD, Conn., August 17, 2020

Gartner Says Sales Leaders Must Implement a Clear Virtual Selling Strategy to Support the Sales Force

CSOs Can Implement Three Initiatives to Plan to Permanently Shift Field Sales to Virtual Sales Roles

It is critical for sales enablement leaders to implement a long-term virtual selling strategy as more field sales roles move to virtual sales positions, according to Gartner, Inc.

“While many chief sales officers (CSOs) are not yet fully committed, the uncertain nature of the pandemic, as well as the promise of cost savings in the future, will truly determine the pace and extent to which selling shifts to a fully virtual environment,” said Doug Bushée, senior director analyst in Gartner's Sales practice. “Progressive sales leaders are preparing sales teams for, at the least, far more virtual selling than was expected at the beginning of the pandemic. They realize they must guide sellers to stop assuming live meeting practices transfer 1:1 to virtual settings and prepare them for virtual-first selling behaviors.” 

To get started and plan for long-term virtual selling, Gartner recommends that sales leaders:

  • Plan and prepare for virtual customer engagement. Most sellers recognize the importance of pre-call planning, and they take steps to ensure the limited time with customers provides the highest returns. However, the current environment is presenting new challenges, inhibiting customers’ ability to buy virtually and forcing sellers to remotely collaborate with other partners involved in a sales call. Sales enablement must help sellers make critical changes to these activities to sell successfully in a virtual environment. 
  • Deliver engaging virtual customer interactions. In a virtual setting, customers are likely to have lower attention spans. Additionally, customers’ expressions, body language and other cues are harder to observe and track. Sales leaders must arm sellers to adapt, teaching them to adopt new behaviors while interacting with customers over video and teleconference platforms.
  • Enable sellers virtually. Sales enablement has a critical role to play in not only enabling sellers to prepare, plan and deliver engaging virtual sales interactions but also adapting seller enablement for the virtual environment. This is critical as the majority of the sales force continues to work remotely.

“For successful virtual selling today, leaders must adjust their existing investments and reallocate resources among people, processes and technology,” said Mr. Bushée. “Furthermore, a more permanent shift to virtual selling will compel sales organizations to adjust sales strategy, internal organizational design, go-to-market strategies and key performance metrics.”

For more information, listen to Gartner’s “Build an Infrastructure that Supports Long-Term Virtual Selling” webinar. Gartner for Sales Leaders clients can learn more about how to navigate today’s virtual selling environment in the report "Framework to Enable Effective Virtual Selling."

About Gartner for Sales Leaders

Gartner for Sales Leaders provides heads of sales and their teams with the insights, advice and tools they need to address mission-critical priorities amid mounting pressures to drive growth through new and existing customers. With extensive qualitative and quantitative research, Gartner for Sales Leaders helps sales teams combat commoditization and price-based purchasing, develop critical manager and seller skills, elevate the value of sales interactions, unlock existing growth potential, and optimize sales force enablement.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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