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Tips and Trends for Success in Virtual Sales with Kim Orlesky | Sell Smarter. Sell Faster Ep. 20

Tips and Trends for Success in Virtual Sales with Kim Orlesky
Dani Buckley
Tips and Trends for Success in Virtual Sales with Kim Orlesky


How we sell has evolved and changed at a rapid pace in the last two years. Even prior to COVID rocking our world, more and more selling is happening online in industries where it was previously happening primarily in person.

In this episode, we discuss frequent pain points for those adjusting to virtual selling as well as best practices and tips to master the buyer’s journey virtually.

In this episode of Sell Smarter. Sell Faster., Dani is joined by Kim Orlesky. Kim is the Founder and CEO of KO Advantage, teaching virtual selling skills to premium solution organizations. She's listed as one of LinkedIn’s top sales influencers and continuously named as one of the top sales leaders to follow.

Keep reading to learn insider details on best practices and tips for virtual selling, and listen to or watch the full episode for a more in-depth explanation and conversation around this.

As mentioned above, everyone, whether they liked it or not, was forced to become acquainted with the concept of virtual selling due to the pandemic. For many, that transition proved to be particularly difficult. Kim has a key theory as to why:

“The biggest thing was that a lot of salespeople associate relationships with being ‘in-person.’ That is often one of the biggest pieces of resistance I hear from a lot of salespeople. [They say] ‘I can’t build a relationship when I’m having to look through a screen. Rapport has to actually be shaking someone’s hand, looking them in the eyeballs...’”

“It’s not that way.”

“I was doing virtual selling back in...2012 and we didn’t have a name for it at the time. What we did know was that it was not financially feasible for us to get on a plane and visit international clients anytime we wanted to meet.

“...You can create these relationships online.”


The Changing Landscape of Virtual Sales

Now that we are two-plus years into this era of COVID, we can already look back and see how quickly the virtual sales landscape has changed in the virtual space.

According to Kim, there are two major trends that have occurred. “There [are]...the companies that are fully embracing [virtual sales], and they said, ‘we are never going back,’” Kim says. “‘We have looked at our balance sheets and our income statements and we’re finding ourselves way more productive, way more profitable and we’re servicing clients that we’ve never serviced before.’”

“On the flip side, we have a lot of those traditionalists who are like, ‘I am so excited to get back in person and I want to fill my calendar.’ I believe [that’s] only [going to last] for a short period of time, like six to eight months. We’re going to be excited to go back to conferences, we’re going to be excited to go to trade shows and to meet clients for coffees...until those are done. And then we’re like, ‘Oh. That wasn’t nearly as productive as I thought it was.’”

“‘I took out 45 minutes to drive to a client engagement, I spent an hour with the client, and then I spent another 45 minutes to get back.’ Two and a half hours out of your day for one client at a lead qualification stage doesn’t necessarily seem like the most productive use of your time.”

“Whereas in virtual selling, we could have easily had thirty-minute meetings and been able to meet with five clients, six clients in that same period of time.”

And if it wasn’t already clear that virtual selling is here to stay. “Virtual selling is not a pandemic ‘thing’...Those that are already embracing it, there are ways you get even better with it. And those who aren’t there yet, you’re going to get there really soon.”

The Role of Sales Enablement in Virtual Selling

When asked about the role of sales enablement in virtual selling, Kim has an amazing piece of advice:

“One of the things that a lot of companies just assumed, and this was part of the struggle that they had, [they said], ‘I’m going to take the exact same recipe book that we played for when we were in-person for traditional selling and let’s just throw it online’...But it just doesn’t work that way...Bill Gates had a great saying years ago and he goes, ‘you take any manual process and you add technology to it, it’s only going to enhance it. If it’s a terrible process it’s going to speed up to failure faster. If it’s a great process it’s going to speed up to success faster.’”

When it comes to salespeople and sales managers looking to up their virtual selling game, Kim has a couple of tips that they can implement right away:

  • Get really clear on the sales process that you want your people to follow – “You would never run a restaurant and say, ‘I’m just going to hire any chef and...they can cook whatever they want to. That would never happen. Every single restaurant has that recipe book, they have that playbook.” Even if you’re hiring salespeople who are great on paper, you need to ensure that they have a structured sales process to follow.

  • It takes a lot of practice – “Sales is a skill. Virtual selling is an advanced skill. If you can sell in person that’s great, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to translate across the board...You have to be far more intentional...roleplay as you go forward. Find some of these sales communities that they can start practicing and interacting with.”

In the end, Kim touched on a sobering fact that should begin to persuade anyone who is still sticking to in-person sales alone.

“By 2025, one-quarter of the workforce will be born after 1997...We’re going to have people entering the workforce who were born into technology, they graduated with degrees...without ever stepping into an office and they’re starting their careers online...You’ve got two years to get ready for this...The pendulum is not going back. It’s only going forward.”

Listen to the full episode and more on your preferred podcast platform

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About Author

Dani Buckley

Dani is the VP/General Manager at LeadG2. She has a diverse background in both advertising sales and marketing consulting that helps her address the varying needs of our diverse client base at LeadG2. She’s especially passionate about sales enablement and the many ways that marketing tactics can contribute to achieving sales goals. Dani is a writer, speaker, facilitator, camper van enthusiast, and personal development junkie. She currently lives in Northern California.

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