178 Conducting Web Meetings With Power

Conducting Web Meetings with Power

 

This next set of briefings begins our discussion on best practices for remote (or web) meetings.  

 

Engaging your customer 

 

Engaging your customer and keeping their interest can be more difficult during web meetings because you are competing for their attention. It is much easier for meeting participants to tune out. Meeting participants could be looking at their email, multi-tasking or just not paying attention. 

 

Don’t let them veg-out and become passive participants as if they were relaxing on a couch binge-watching movies.

 

To grab your audience’s attention, spell out your key points more distinctly. In our Great Communicator course, we teach sales professionals to “grab” their customer’s undivided attention using an analogy, telling a story, or using a prop. Take time to describe exactly what you will be communicating. Your customer cannot see you fully and cannot read your body language or gestures. Create a place for the customer to envision your attention grabber to emphasize your point.  

 

Another good way to keep your customer engaged is to make it a two-way dialogue… ask them questions… get their ideas and feedback during your meeting. For example, make a point and then ask, “How do you see this working in your environment? Or even a simple meeting check-in like “Is this applicable to you or are we off track?” Finally, once you have made your key points, ask “What do you think?”.

 

The Context Diagram

For situations where you are asked a question and don’t have prepared slides or graphics ready, your inclination might be to go searching for the right slide from other presentation files… which could be clumsy and show sensitive information.

 

Instead, anticipate this situation in advance. Create a high-level “context diagram” that you can refer to as a way of explaining capabilities or showing results. Not every minute detail… just to give your customer a visual that you can refer to when needed. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian… To SELL MORE, you must become a Great Communicator. Find out how at my website thetechseller.com

 

177 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 5

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 5

 

We continue the discussion on SAM the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine. 

 

Role 2: Automatic SAM—Becoming the Sales Professional 

In its second role, SAM will eventually be deployed to handle many of the sales process steps currently performed by human sales reps. As the knowledge base becomes more robust, SAM could potentially even handle transactions for medium- to large-ticket items.

 

Here are 6 areas where SAM can serve in the role of the sales professional:

 

1) Customer Conversations – SAM will personify the actions of a human sales professional to guide the steps of the sales process by directly communicating with the customer. As SAM manages the conversation with the customer, it will also know when a human sales professional needs to be engaged in the sales cycle. 

 

2) Customer Surveys – SAM will correspond with the customer to gain an understanding of business needs, requirements, and issues. The customer provides preliminary information that can accelerate SAM’s discovery of the customer’s needs. 

 

3) Solution Selection – SAM will evaluate the results of the customer surveys, then select the type of solutions that could work best for the customer. SAM will also favorably position the selected solution by communicating unique differentiators and business value points.

 

4) Solution Recommendation – Using all available data from the surveys, the CRM, and purchase history based on the needs of other customers, SAM will make specific recommendations for the solution(s) to be proposed. 

 

5) Pricing Proposal – SAM will prepare and deliver customer proposals that document the pricing, terms and conditions; any relevant case studies or testimonials; and a business value proposition that is tied to the unique benefits of the proposed solution.

 

6) Customer Service Assistant – SAM will answer solution-related questions, select specific solution options, and resolve simple to moderately complex service issues.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Intelligent Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing. 

 

176 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 4

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 4

 

We continue the discussion on SAM the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine. 

 

How SAM Can Serve the Sales Team

As SAM gains in effectiveness over time, SAM will serve the sales team in two distinct roles: 

 

Role 1: Ask SAM—Assisting the Sales Professional

While the human sales professional is still fully in charge of executing each task in the sales cycle, SAM’s advisory capabilities can augment the work of the human salesperson. SAM will be initially deployed to serve as an intelligent assistant to help complete time-consuming tasks previously handled manually by the sales professional. 

 

Here are seven areas where SAM can provide valuable help to the sales professional:

 

1) Customer Research – to assist the sales professional in creating a strategy for pursuit that will increase the potential of building a mutually beneficial relationship by access customer data from all sources. 

 

2) Opportunity Identification – to analyze all available data on prospective and current customers and identify the best candidates to pursue. 

 

3) Targeted Marketing – to identify the best targets for marketing campaigns. Then, evaluate the effectiveness of each campaign by analyzing the conversion rates from prospects that previously turned into customers. 

 

4) Request for Proposal (RFP) Preparation – to handle requests for information either through a survey or interactive chat and assist in building RFP responses. 

 

5) Pricing and Proposal Preparation – to handle product pricing and quotes, then compile the major elements of a customer proposal to ensure adherence to company policies. 

 

6) Customer Communication—Schedule reminders for follow-up communications with customers and identify the best content and method for interaction. 

 

7) Demos—Build the structure and recommended content of a customer demo (and proofs) and refer to a repository of interactive or scripted demos that can be selected based on customer requirements. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing. 

 

175 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 3

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 3

 

We continue the discussion on SAM the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine. 

 

SAM has Cognitive Comprehension

SAM is trained on sales policies, process steps, and pricing rules. SAM understands solution features, functions, and preferences as well as an introductory set of customer needs based on the profile and success of similar customers. 

HOW: SAM will reference solution briefs along with complete profiles of prospective and current customers. Data Analytics will be applied to these profiles to: 

– Guide each customer interaction to determine the best targets and realize the best outcome. 

– Forecast the potential fit for the sales team’s solutions with each customer. 

– Calculate the propensity of a customer to buy specific solutions. 

 

SAM has Reasoning Ability

SAM can reason like a human sales professional by determining what information is needed then asking the customer probing questions. SAM also knows the answers to most of the questions customers will ask and articulates those answers in responses to customers. SAM can also determine when it is time to engage with a human sales professional to handle a problematic or more complex issue.  

 

SAM learns from prior experiences and becomes smarter with each customer interaction. 

HOW: SAM will analyze the result of every customer interaction to determine what knowledge can be gained from the interaction and how the lesson can contribute to improving the effectiveness of future interactions. 

 

SAM has Advisory Functionality to make recommendations about the best possible action for every situation. 

HOW: Using Data Analytics, SAM will evaluate every potential action to determine the best possible recommendation. 

In other words, recommending the best possible actions to achieve the best result when taking into consideration all resources, options, and constraints.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing. 

 

174 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 2

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 2

 

While the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine (SAM) is not yet fully available, it represents the culmination of advanced Artificial Intelligence technologies being integrated to produce the ultimate sales professional—a machine with the power to automate and transform the sales cycle in ways never before seen or thought possible. 

 

This Is SAM’s Way: How the Technology Works

SAM is a fully featured agent that will transform automated selling into a reality. In addition to automating significant steps in the sales cycle, SAM will also augment many of the routine tasks previously performed by human sales professionals and serve as their smart advisor. SAM get smarter with each customer interaction. 

 

Here are examples of SAM capabilities and how its underlying high-tech functions can be leveraged.

 

The Ability to Access a Gold Mine of Valuable Data

SAM will become as smart as possible by ingesting all types of enterprise data as a basis for applied knowledge. For SAM to operate at a high level, a “feed the beast” mentality dominates. 

HOW: To be effective, SAM requires a high volume and high variety of data. This data is stored in databases (memory banks) for future recall, and includes data about customers, the selling organization, sales teams, and prior customer interactions. 

 

Smart Communication

SAM interacts directly with the customer by conducting conversations through multiple channels, including voice, text, chat, and video. 

HOW: SAM will utilize Smart Communication methods to interact with customers by: 

– Referencing a combination of approved scripts, rules, and policies. 

– Parsing unstructured text information (documents, messages, chats) and deriving meaning and intent. 

– Applying Data Analytics to each element of the conversation to score the importance, the tone, and the resulting best actions to take.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing.