For many busy companies, a virtual sales assistant or a virtual sales team is a major asset that helps with time management. VAs can grow your sales pipeline, conduct outreach, manage schedules, and conduct research. This enables your team to focus on mission critical work. When you consider all the meaningful contributions a VA can make to your team’s bottom line, finding the right virtual assistant seems like a good priority to have.
There are many different ways to find the right virtual assistant. You could take the DIY approach and hire a freelancer, but many businesses will opt instead to use a managed service like Wing.
Own your time with a virtual sales assistant
Wing connects businesses with trained sales VAs who can make meaningful contributions on day one. No matter which option you choose, it is important to vet your VA to ensure that he or she is equipped with the right skills to do the job. So what virtual assistant skills should you look for?
Virtual assistant skills to look for when hiring
A busy sales environment requires a variety of strengths, everything from verbal communication and negotiation to conducting research and time management. You’ll want to make sure that your sales VA is fluent in all of these areas.
1. Sales VAs need Verbal communication
Verbal communication is tops on the list of skills that make a good digital sales assistant. Although we are definitely living and working in a digital age, there is just no substitute for clear verbal communication.
A virtual sales assistant should be able to listen to customer requests and relay them to the relevant team members at your company. What’s more, a good virtual assistant for sales needs to be able to communicate his or her experiences in order to build a strong connection with management. If you look down the rest of our list of 11 key skills for digital sales assistants, you’ll begin to understand how crucial verbal communication is to most of the tasks we mention.
Here are a few virtual assistant tasks that require top notch verbal communication skills:
- Ingoing and outgoing sales calls
- Prospecting and building rapport
Wing VAs are fluent in English and can interface with customers over the phone and via email and chat. They are available to work 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday. These assistants work around the world but you can choose the 8-hour block that works best for your business.
2. They must be good in negotiation
Negotiation is one of the first skills that most people consider when thinking about sales. A good salesperson knows the art of persuasion and can make a deal that leaves all parties satisfied. A good sales VA needs this same skill set as well if you need help closing deals.
Effective negotiation involves:
- Making decisions quickly
- Effective communication
- Speaking authoritatively on the product
Finding a VA with all of these skills may seem like a tall order, but a qualified, well trained virtual assistant can be a major asset in negotiations if you need the bandwidth to do other work.
All Wing VAs undergo a rigorous training period during which they learn a number of soft skills that are essential to be an effective virtual sales assistant. And Wing virtual assistants aren’t left to fend for themselves. Each team of Wing VAs has a manager who provides feedback to build up skills like negotiation and persuasion.
3. They need customer service skills
Every sales transaction involves a bit of customer service and emotional intelligence. Even if you have a dedicated customer service line staffed with full time employees, your sales VA will need solid customer service skills to deliver results.
Many of these are EQ skills that can be hard to train on the job. Furthermore, an experienced virtual sales assistant will know when to hand issues off to full time employees and when they can remain in the driver’s seat to ensure a smooth customer experience.
A few customer service skills that are integral to effective sales include:
- Active listening
- Taking Responsibility
Wing trains VAs to handle many customer service scenarios and our VAs have been successfully deployed to answer incoming customer service calls for many companies as well.
This training is another benefit to going with a managed service, because there is a good chance that your virtual sales assistant or their manager will have experience working with customers before on other accounts.
4. A virtual sales assistant must build rapport
Good rapport building happens when the sales caller is confident in their knowledge of the product. Although you are hiring a virtual sales assistant to be a temporary member of your team, customers should feel that they are a dedicated teammate who has all the answers (or, at the very least, knows where to get the answers).
There is no real checklist for what makes for good rapport building. Listening and follow up are important factors, but confidence is key too.
Relationships take time to grow. Having a Wing dedicated VA aboard helps provide the personal touch your business needs to build rapport with clients. Furthermore, the presence of the same VA 8 hours a day, 5 days a week can bolster that feeling of familiarity and friendly rapport even more.
Unlike other approaches which may provide your company with a rotating staff of assistants, Wing ensures that you are working with a dedicated, trained VA who knows your business and will get to know your customers just as well.
5. A virtual sales assistant must research buyers
Understanding customer needs is a central component to closing sales deals. After all, how can you solve a client’s problems if you don’t have reliable research on her point of view?
A good asset to have in the buyer research process is the buyer persona. Your virtual sales assistant can and should be able to conduct buyer research and develop these personas for you, in addition to a number of other research tasks.
In order to develop buyer personas, your virtual assistant will need to look at the following.
1. The target audience, specifically:
3. Customer challenges
4. How your team can help
VA will also need to manage all of this data in some kind of database and make it easily digestible for the rest of the team. He or she may also need good presentation skills to be able to share this knowledge with other teammates in weekly meetings.
When it comes to research, remember that virtual assistants benefit from the input and guidance of full time employees, so you’ll need to be proactive in providing feedback and training materials in order to ensure the best results.
Whether it is conducting large scale customer experience surveys or doing internet research on client preferences, a trained Wing VA can get results. Wing sales VAs learn the basics of buyer research so they arrive prepared.
6. A sales virtual assistant must excel in time management
Time management is a perennial skill that just about every member of the team needs. In the sales world this skill takes special prominence. As the old saying goes, time is money.
These are just a few of the key reasons a sales assistant needs good time management skills:
- Planning ahead
- Nurturing warm leads
- Focusing on customers
- Organizing and revising workflows
- Streamlining and automating repetitive tasks
- Balancing assistant time between various companies
This last point is not always necessary. Wing provides dedicated virtual assistants, so there will never be another business competing with your team for an assistant’s bandwidth. What’s more, Wing virtual sales assistants are entirely managed by team supervisors and are given periodic feedback from our quality assurance team.
Through regular feedback and support, Wing VAs learn the time management basics that are necessary to thrive in a fast-paced sales environment.
7. They should have product knowledge
A sales team needs to know your product inside and out. In the past, sales teams weren’t expected to be product experts. However, today’s digital-first environment requires a hybrid digital sales model that focuses on customer success as much as it does on closing a sale. This can be a challenge for a virtual customer assistant coming onboard who is unfamiliar with what your business does.
No matter how skilled your VA is, proper knowledge of product features needs to come from the people who know it best – namely, you and your team. While it’s impractical to expect a VA to know everything about your product on day one, you do need a VA who has the right skills to seek out this knowledge.
A virtual assistant should be proactive in seeking information about the product, willing to take notes and implement feedback when they get the details wrong, and able to deploy the right information when they are well-versed in the ins and outs of your business.
Wing provides you with a dedicated sales VA for 40 hours a week, 160 hours a month. Having a dedicated assistant in place will help build a product knowledge base so you can be confident that your Wing VA knows the ins and outs of your business.
8. A sales VA needs networking skills
Large-scale outreach projects can be an important element in nurturing your sales pipeline. A good virtual assistant can organize this information for you and deploy marketing materials based on your company’s defined sales strategy.
Follow up is key in networking situations, as well as keeping a record of communications. This way, even when your VA leaves, your team will be able to pick up where they left off.
Wing VAs can schedule and conduct networking calls. By leveraging economies of learning and using a personal touch, Wing VAs can get higher quality results when compared to a bulk outbound call center.
Your Wing VA can also communicate on any platform. Whether it’s Slack, Skype, HubSpot, Freshdesk, Asana, or Trello, no matter what your team is using, your new VA will feel right at home.
9. They should be good at prospecting
A good sales assistant needs to be able to contribute to a number of tasks, including prospecting and discovery. This will help add flexibility to your team, so that all members can be productive no matter how many active leads you have at the moment.
That being said, dry spells happen for even the best sales teams. During these times, your virtual sales assistant can help by researching and uncovering new leads with minimal guidance.
Here are a few of the VA tasks necessary for prospecting and discovery:
- Cold calling
- Follow ups
- Moving potential customers along the sales pipeline
It can be hard to train a VA on the job to handle these kinds of tasks. If prospecting and discovery tasks are a priority for your team, you may want to use a managed service to get the job done. Wing trains VAs in-house, enabling them to handle basic sales tasks like prospecting, scheduling meetings with prospective clients, getting trial users, and raising funds.
10. They must know how to handle sales objections
Every business should have a process for handling client objections. Managing customer expectations is an essential part of being a well-prepared sales team.
Using Wing’s workflows, you can develop a completely customized, drag-and-drop flowchart of what to do in the event of objections. Whether it’s providing necessary follow-up questions, setting a specific time for a follow up or providing necessary data points, your Wing VA can take care of preparing these guides for your team and automating workflows.
11. A sales VA needs closing skills
There are many steps that go into making a deal and it all leads up to the close. For teams that don’t have a lot of bandwidth, hiring a VA with closing skills can be a lifeline. Even if you do not anticipate needing to have a sales virtual assistant close deals, wouldn’t you feel more confident knowing your VA has that ability, should the need arise?
Wing operates a task queue, so your users can give their dedicated VA as many tasks as needed. For businesses that need more work done, the Pro plan features 2 dedicated assistants.
Wing connects you with quality virtual sales assistants
A virtual sales assistant can make a huge difference for your team and add to your business’s bottom line, but it has to be the right fit. Whether it’s negotiation, product research, prospecting, or closing deals, you will be entrusting your virtual assistant with many crucial tasks. So, it’s important that you get a professional with the right skills for the job.
Wing offers managed, trained, and dedicated virtual sales callers. Contact us today to learn how we can create a plan designed to fit your needs.
Dan Eder writes frequently about digital marketing trends, SaaS, and e-commerce. He has previously worked as a content writer at an SEO agency for tech companies, an e-commerce specialist at a Fortune 500 company, and a journalist for several educational outlets. Read more from him at www.daneder.com.