Enterprise sales will never be the same. Buyers have gone remote, and sellers must follow [1]. Time will tell if in-person events, face-to-face meetings, and business trips can stage a comeback, but remote selling will undoubtedly remain an essential part of the enterprise sales process.

To estimate the impact of remote selling, we need a model of the sales process. According to [2], a sales process can be represented as a sequence of meetings.

The model has several parameters:

  • The number of meetings \(N\)
  • The time between meetings \(T\)
  • The meeting conversion rate \(CR\)

The win rate \(WR\) of the sales process can be calculated as

\[WR = CR_1 \times CR_2 \times \ldots \times CR_N = CR^{N}\]

Sales bookings, the ultimate sales KPI, are proportional to the win rate \(WR\) and inversely proportional to the time between meetings \(T\)

\[Bookings \sim \dfrac{WR}{T} \sim \dfrac{CR^N}{T}\]

With remote selling, face-to-face interactions have been replaced with online meetings. Online meetings can be scheduled sooner and require no travel. Therefore, in remote sales processes, the time \(T\) between meetings must be smaller.

In accordance with the \(Bookings\) formula, smaller \(T\) must result in higher \(Bookings\). At least in theory, a switch to remote selling must lead to greater salesforce productivity.

If this hasn't been your experience, a lower win rate is likely the culprit.

Without proper tools and training, building trust in remote sessions is more difficult than in face-to-face interactions, resulting in a lower meeting conversion rate \(CR\).

Due to \(WR = CR^N\), in the enterprise sales process, where the number of meetings \(N\) is large, even a small reduction in \(CR\) can lead to a significant drop in \(WR\). This can easily negate any gains from a shorter sales cycle.

The situation can be remedied by deploying new tools and training. But why stop there? We can do much better than that!

Let's take another look at the bookings formula:

\[Bookings \sim \dfrac{CR^N}{T}\]

So far, we have discussed the effect of the time between meetings \(T\) and the meeting conversion rate \(CR\). Notice, however, that \(N\) is the only exponential term in the formula. A change in the number of meetings \(N\) has the largest impact on the outcome. It is the biggest lever we can pull!

We can reduce the number of meetings per opportunity by going not only remote but also asynchronous.

In-person meetings are fully synchronous. Everyone must be at the same time and place. Remote meetings are synchronous in terms of time but not in terms of place. Meetingless selling requires no synchronization. It is completely asynchronous and works anywhere 24x7.

With meetingless selling, instead of requesting to meet someone, the seller provides them with appropriate, timely, personalized, and engaging information via an asynchronous communication channel. The receiving party amplifies the effect by re-sharing this information with influencers and decision-makers inside their organization. Questions and objections are handled instantly via messaging. The level of engagement is tracked, analyzed with AI/ML, and used to inform the next step in the sales process.

A sales process that mixes synchronous and asynchronous interactions has a higher win rate and a shorter sales cycle. The impact on bookings can be dramatic.

To validate this fact, I ran Monte Carlo simulations of the three sales processes: in-person, remote, and remote + meetingless. The results are presented below.

By replacing a few meetings with meetingless interactions, one can more than double the volume of sales bookings in about three years.

I posted the simulation code on GitHub for those who'd like to dig into details, plug in their sales data, and experiment with the various what-if scenarios.

At this point, you might be wondering about the impact that remote and meetingless selling could have at your organization. Here is what we can do for you at Morebell:

1. Use data in CRM, ERP, and other apps to create an accurate and fact-based model of your sales processes.

2. Provide recommendations for improving the processes by utilizing remote and meetingless selling.

3. Analyze the IT environment and provide recommendations for improving it to better support remote and meetingless selling.

4. Help define relevant KPIs and estimate the impact of remote and meetingless selling on bookings and ROI.

5. Organize remote and meetingless selling training sessions.

Feel free to contact us to get started.

References

  1. LinkedIn, State of Sales Report, United States & Canada Edition, 2021
  2. Jacco J. van der Kooij, The Use of Remote Selling in Enterprise Sales, Winning by Design, 2020