B2B Selling with Social Distancing

In our past world of B2B technology, the most effective way to build a long-lasting relationship is hosting your clients in-house with highly involved activities such as product demo’s, product training, co-development of technology solutions and sharing technology roadmaps. The conversations are rich because they are focused on solving the urgent needs that your client feel is important enough to take the time to be with you – face-to-face. 

Even in the best of times – these intimate face-to-face opportunities only happen with a dedicated approach to building mutually beneficial relationship. Building up your trust and reputation as a useful partner for your industry.

In our current climate of social distancing, it is a great time to reflect again on how we can make connections virtually that model the impact of the traditional face-to-face and create opportunities for deeper customer relationships.

Even when social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic eases, the reality is that no company can be successful in today’s digital age without a full toolkit and the know how to make virtual and in-person experiences useful and memorable for the clients.

Moving to a virtual experience is more than just changing your “pitch” from a face-to-face in a conference room to a webinar. In fact – doing that is bound to make your webinar a real dud. Creating a powerful virtual experience requires an understanding of both how the science of attention and the science of memory, combined with the art of great story telling.

Perhaps the hardest of these is gaining and keeping the attention of your audience. Consider your own experience at the last webinar or even the last instructional video you watched. How long until you started multi-tasking? In the first minute? Again, after the five-minute mark?  

A study from Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 to 8 seconds. Attention Span   

Improving your ability to attract and hold the attention of your audience depends on these approaches:

  1. Grab them in the first 8 seconds: In the first 8 seconds, you must present your audience with information and graphics that snaps them into an attentive mode. The first 8 seconds is critical.   The best way to do this is with an opening that talks directly to something they as an audience care about deeply, both personally and in their business.

Then imagine the attention of your audience to be shaped as a curve that looks like a bathtub. If you do a good job in the first 8 seconds, the question is – how are you going to maintain that attention span and prevent it from sinking into a deep tub shape? Sure – an easy answer is to keep all your material so interesting – right? But the science says that is not really like to happen. Remember – even with your own sellers – 90% of your marketing content is not used or recalled!!  

  • Have a Conversation: This is where understanding the technology is helpful. In particular, the technology that converts a virtual experience from being a one-way monolog into a conversation. Since we can’t use our visual cues, we need to stop talking and start asking for input from everyone on the call. We need to change up the old style of presenting to embrace a more conversational approach. The cone of learning rule still applies that people only remember 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear but 90% of what they do and say. So, get your audience involved. You can insert surveys, provide chat boxes, have multi participant screen shares, and even have an interactive video experience. The point is get your audience involved by having them do something!! Give them feedback on their attentiveness with real time questions, polls, and break outs.  
  • Finally – at the end of the virtual session – what do you want the audience to do? Have you thought out a powerful and compelling call to action? Do you have a call to action that incentivize the audience to take that action? The purpose of marketing and sales automation is to lead your prospect through a customer journey to choose to buy your product or not. The beauty of virtual marketing is that we can setup multiple ways for the journey to occur and not just depend on a sales call. Does your video link to the next relevant video or is it up to chance? Are you following up your virtual meetings with more relevant information? What do you need to prepare to help your prospect overcome barriers and select your product.

At Forward Vision, we are experts at helping B2B technology firms achieve their vision of success. We have developed an integrated marketing strategy approach based on five key levers that get results. We will be publishing a series of articles on how the many approaches for creating high impact virtual experiences can help you succeed now and in the future. Some of the topics we are covering include:

  • How to Transform Tradeshow Demos to Video
  • Using Podcast to get your Voice Heard
  • Using Social Media to Sell and Build your Personal Brand
  • The Science of Search Engine Optimization
  • Creating Interactive Experiences – And the technology behind them
  • In-house vs virtual agency – Costs, Benefits and Issues

Would you like to get a jump start on this topic? Sign up today for our Social Selling workshop planned for April 16th at 1pm PST/3pm CST/4pm EST.