While virtual sales assistants have been mainstream for a while now, the COVID 19 pandemic has brought this valuable resource more to the forefront than ever.
Why you ask? The answer is fairly simple.
Virtual assistants have many advantages – they can not only take charge of manual tasks like data entry, writing emails, following up with prospects/leads, etc. but essentially help you organize and manage your sales pipeline.
But during this pandemic and the resulting lockdown, having VAs on your team is even more advantageous. Think about it – most full time salespeople have either been put on an extended leave or are struggling to work from home. This means that business is down and sales have slowed down considerably.
On the other hand, virtual sales assistants are used to the current situation – they already know how to work well remotely, have ample experience handling leads and know how to support your pipeline well. This leaves you more time to focus on what’s truly important right now – nurturing your leads and supporting your existing clients.
This is not to say that a VA is a replacement for your sales team. In simple terms, they are people who can support your SDRs by taking responsibility for time consuming administrative tasks and lead generation.
Let’s delve into how virtual sales assistants can help your sales team excel.
How Virtual Sales Assistants Support Your Sales
What do your salespeople prefer? – Talking to a warm lead as opposed to a cold lead of course.
The problem lies with the fact that every lead starts off as ‘cold.’ Without the right data, diligent follow up and CRM records, the lead could easily turn into a lost opportunity. But a busy salesperson does not always have the time to search for data on every lead, log noted continuously or remember to follow up as needed.
Difference Between High & Low Value SDR Tasks
To truly understand the importance of having sales virtual assistants you must understand that every activity has a value assigned to it. Yes, all tasks in the sales process are important, but how much dollar value would you assign to lead cleansing per hour vs being on a call with your next best customer?
According to PayScale, the average SDR receives a compensation of $46,000. That simply translates to about $20 – $22 per hour. So, if they’re doing tasks like lead enrichment, cleansing and uploading campaigns into sequences which any good VA can do at anywhere between $6 – $10 per hour. Then you’re at a big loss. Not only could the VA enrich more than an SDR, they can do it with a lot more precision too.
This is where a virtual sales assistant comes in. Here are the various tasks that VAs typically do:
What Does A Virtual Sales Assistant Do?
The list of tasks and responsibilities can vary depending on your company, capacity and needs. In one situation, a VA could focus on cold outreach and follow ups. In another, they can be tasked with taking over leads from your salespeople, qualifying and moving them from the pipeline up to a point where they are ready to become a client.
In fact, depending on the hours you want the VA to work (they are usually hired on an hourly basis – more on this later), they can also do all of the above tasks, thus leaving you free to focus on the bigger picture.
How Do Virtual Assistants Generate Business Leads?
From cold emails to calling, setting appointments, cleaning and extracting data, etc. a lead generation or sales VA can help you generate quality leads.
Here is a brief breakdown of the tasks:
Cold Outreach: A virtual sales assistant can be handed over the important task of setting up your cold outreach campaigns. This includes setting up alternate domains, warming up your emails, coming up with content, creating email drip campaigns, setting up appointments, etc.
CRM Enrichment & Cleansing: A skilled VA can be put in charge of manual data entry – they can help ensure that your CRM has all the latest information on your current leads.
Social Selling: Social selling is hard – it takes a lot of time and energy that your SDRs usually don’t have. VAs on the other hand can take over this process. They can help you develop relationships through social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They can save your salespeople time by interacting directly with prospects on these platforms and forward the leads as they move further down the pipeline.
Why Should You Hire A Virtual Sales Assistant?
Now that we’ve nailed down some of the crucial tasks that VAs do, let’s clarify why you exactly should you hire them instead of full time salespeople.
Keeping concerns about the pandemic and resulting circumstances aside, virtual sales assistants bring two distinct benefits:
- They can cost you considerably less than a full time employee
- They are comparatively more flexible than full time employees
As VAs are not physically present in your office, they actually have more experience working from home. Compared to full time employees who are struggling to learn how to stay motivated while working from home, virtual assistants don’t need to be taught from scratch.
Additionally, VAs have a positive impact on your bottom line – you can choose to hire someone on an hourly basis which means that you’re saving funds on benefits, other allowances, taxes, etc. Even if you choose to hire someone on a monthly instead of an hourly basis, they would still cost you less.
Secondly, opting for virtual assistants mean that you can easily scale your team whenever you want without having to go through the hassle of shortlisting candidates, conducting multiple job interviews, making space in your office, worry about onboarding, etc.
Remember, experienced VAs are generally better at learning your business and processes quickly due to the sheer number of clients and projects they have handled in the past.
Also, opting for VAs mean that you can outsource your tasks without having to make a long term commitment.
Of course, to ensure that you get the best VAs on your team as possible, you need to contact the right vendors/approach the right service provider.
How To Hire Virtual Assistants?
To build a team of experienced and trusted VAs, you have two options.
The first is to go through a platform like Upwork. Simply write a profile with a list of expected tasks and post the job so people can bid on the job by submitting qualified proposals. You can also go through vendor profiles and see who has a good job rating and success scores.
You should also review customer feedback to be sure that you’re making the right choice. After all, a virtual assistant deals with sensitive information like your leads so you can’t afford to hire just anyone.
The second option is to hire a service provider. Here is a list of companies that offer high-end virtual sales assistants:
- Cloudlead – As a B2B data company, we have ample experience working with enterprise clients for building contact and account data lists, account management and VA tasks.
- Taskdrive – They provide B2B lead generation service for sales teams and helps with tasks like list building, database enrichment, and account-based insights.
- Cloudtask – They provide teams of outsourced sales, outsourced customer success and outsourced customer support experts.
And that’s it! Remember to hire experienced virtual sales assistants who are familiar with the industry and the job so you and your sales team can focus on what matters the most – your customers.