As a sales leader, you may feel you have to choose between a scalable process and flexible personalization.
Because when you have a growing team with 20+ sales reps, personalization means that every rep is saying different things, giving different pitches, and using different follow-up collateral.
None of this is conducive to scaling.
On the other hand, introducing too many processes and templates can handcuff your reps and make the sales process feel completely impersonal to your prospects.
Digital sales rooms help you balance both.
In this guide, we’ll introduce the basics of digital sales rooms, explain why they’re neccessary in the new world of digital selling, and show you how to introduce them into your selling motions.
What is a digital sales room?
A digital sales room (DSR) is an online workspace where B2B sales teams can share content with their buyers throughout the entire sales process.
These private microsites act as a central place to host sales enablement assets such as proposals, demo videos, and technical documentation. They’re also used as the main communication channel for the buyer and seller to comment on documents, track progress towards key milestones, and collaborate on joint action plans.
To see an example DSR in action, you can check out our enterprise sales template.
DSRs create a better buyer experience because all the information they need is in one place—they don’t have to fish around in their email for links.
DSRs are great for the seller because they allow you to standardize your sales processes while providing personalized sales content at scale.
Ultimately, they make it extremely convenient to collaborate on a deal.
Why you should use a digital sales room
DSRs are more than a nice-to-have sales tool. They’re a necessary adaptation to how buyers prefer to buy.
Here’s why DSRs are a must-have tool in your sales tech stack.
1. B2B buyers have changed, so B2B sellers should too
B2B sellers used to sell by gatekeeping information. Now they sell by curating information. A digital sales room makes this possible.
Traditionally, most of the buying process would take place through conversations between buyer and seller. Because there wasn’t as much information available online, the seller had a lot of control over the process.
But now, B2B buyers can find their own information.
They can talk to their networks, follow experts on social media, read online reviews and blogs, watch YouTube videos, and do online research to understand the market landscape before ever talking to a salesperson.
According to a pre-pandemic survey from Gartner, only 17% of a B2B buying team’s time is spent interacting with a supplier’s sales team.
Sales is now only a short touchpoint of the buyer journey, so sellers don’t get as much time as they used to—especially in a virtual sales environment.
In general, this abundance of information is great for the buyer. However, with so many companies shifting to an inbound marketing strategy, there’s too much information at this point.
There are so many tools, so much biased content, so many fake reviews, and so much nuance that it’s hard for buyers to sift through all the information to understand where the truth lies.
Therefore, salespeople can still provide lots of value to the buyer, but with their role shifting from information provider to information curator.
The seller can simplify things for the buyer by giving them a subset of all the available information and personalizing it to make it easy to see the value the product creates for the buyer.
This is where a salesperson can leverage a DSR to curate all the relevant information for a sale in one convenient place.
This new selling process enables the buyer to buy in the way they want and engage when they want to.
2. There are so many selling tools
With less face-to-face engagement (accelerated by COVID), the shift to virtual selling has caused the market to explode with selling software and digital channels.
Salespeople have found new ways to create face time by leveraging new tools like Loom or Gong videos or even private Slack channels with their clients.
But once a buyer’s email and social inboxes start to pile up with decks, PDFs, videos, project management tools, Dropbox links, and Docusigns, it’s easy for these things to get lost—adding friction to the buying experience.
To make it easier to buy, a good salesperson needs to reduce tool and communication overload.
Because DSRs like Dock allow you to embed multimedia, you can make it much simpler to work with you by putting all these assets in one place.
3. Sellers need to personalize at scale
Limited buyer-seller interaction time also means that sellers have less time to build personal relationships.
Sales reps have to work as much personalization as possible into their limited touchpoints. But personalizing content is typically time-consuming.
By using a DSR, you’re pulling a magic trick by achieving personalization at scale. DSRs are a seller’s dream because they’re 90% templatized but feel very personalized.
You can start with a standard selling template (e.g., this B2B sales template) and then personalize the content with the buyer’s logo and an intro section specific to their challenges.
Then, you can drop additional content into your DSR as the relationship progresses, hand-picking content that’s most relevant to their needs.
For example, if the client is in the healthcare industry, you can drop in a healthcare case study. This content may already exist on your website, but providing it to them in their own space creates a far more personal touch than sending them a link.
4. Empower your champion
In a digital sales environment with little face time, you need a strong champion on the buyer’s team who can advocate for you when you’re not around.
A digital sales room empowers your buying champion to convince their decision-makers by giving them all the information they need to convince internal stakeholders.
Rather than needing to forward a bunch of documents and links, they can simply send their team to the DSR.
That way, you can make your pitch again through the DSR even when you’re not present.
Making it easier for your champion to advocate you gives you a major leg up on your competition.
5. Predict buying interest
The analytics provided by your DSR give you a great insight into the state of your relationship with the buyer.
If the buying team is accessing the room repeatedly, it’s a good sign they’re interested.
For example, in Dock, the user has to provide their email before accessing the room. Therefore, you can tell how many people on the buyer’s side have accessed the DSR and exactly when they’ve accessed it.
You can also track which content assets are viewed most often and by whom.
This not only helps your deal forecasting in the short term (as you can better identify the most engaged buyers), but it also helps your long-term selling processes by helping you see what content most moves the sales needle.
6. DSRs benefit every member of your sales and revenue teams
The benefits of using DSRs trickle through your entire selling team.
DSRs benefit sales reps by saving them time on personalization and follow-up.
They also benefit sales ops and engineering teams by allowing them to standardize the sales team’s workflow (it’s much higher for sales reps to go rogue when working from a template).
It also enables the rest of the team to make better use of sales ops’ technical demos, which now live in the DSR. It’s also much easier for sales ops to hold the client to the steps in a mutual action plan when hosted in the same space (and not another tool).
DSRs help with marketing by making it easier for sales reps to leverage their assets. Marketing teams can even drop new assets into a customer’s DSR for them. A branded DSR also creates major differentiation during the sales process. Dock, for example, offers a far more premium buying experience than working with long email chains or Google Docs.
DSRs benefit sales leaders by creating a standardized selling process that allows leaders to see what’s broken and what’s not. It also speeds up onboarding, as sales leaders can have more confidence that new sellers are following a standardized follow-up process.
7. Close more deals
With DSRs, sellers can:
- Curate personalized information for the buyer
- Keep communication to one channel
- Empower the buyer’s champion
- Follow a standardized selling process
- Track buying interest
This makes for shorter buying cycles, a more predictable pipeline, and more deals closed overall.
Next, let’s look at how you can put digital sales rooms into practice.
Digital sales room best practices
Introducing new tools to a sales team can feel like a daunting project. But DSRs are surprisingly simple to set up because of their templatized nature.
And because they make a sales rep’s life easier, it’s not nearly as hard to get the reps to adopt them (especially compared to inputting client data into your CRM…).
Here are some best practices for smoothly introducing DSRs into your sales process:
Setting up your digital sales room
What you include in your DSR depends on your business model, how your customers buy, and what stage of the buying cycle they’re in, but let’s walk through our enterprise sales template as an example.
Value summary: Your DSR should start off with a one-to-two-sentence summary of what you’re hoping to accomplish together.
Contact information: Make it really easy for people to get in touch with you.
Mutual action plan: Include an outline of the shared next steps between you and your client. Break up your mutual action plan into major project phases and milestones, including post-sale milestones, such as onboarding and implementation.
Product overviews and demos: Include your value proposition, demo videos, and any previous call recordings.
Sales collateral and pricing: Once you’ve presented demo slides or submitted a proposal, embed them all in your DSR. You should also include all your pricing options.
Technical documentation: For enterprise deals, you’ll want to include information that will appease the client’s legal, security, and IT teams. This includes security and privacy details, customer service level agreements, and technical documentation.
Case studies and marketing collateral: Include customer testimonials, case study PDFs and blogs, ROI analyses, industry reports, competitive analyses, and any other marketing collateral that may support the buyer in making their decision.
You can also take inspiration from our templates, depending on your sales motion.
- In product-led sales, you can include stats on product adoption, upgrade recommendations, and implementation workflows
- If you follow the MEDDIC framework, you can include key success metrics, key stakeholders, and decision criteria.
- Once the deal has closed, you can use your DSR for customer onboarding, quarterly business reviews, or client management.
Using a digital sales room with your clients
How you use your DSRs with your clients is up to you, but here are a few best practices we recommend you follow:
1. Introduce it at the end of your intro call. The best time to introduce your DSR is after you’ve done your first introduction or demo call. After doing your demo spiel, use the last five to ten minutes of your call to introduce the DSR you’ve already set up for them.
Start by sharing your screen and then walk them through the concept of the DSR, what you’ve included in the room, and how you’ll be using it as your main collaboration portal going forward.
Explain how you’ll be making the entire process more convenient for them by adding the proposal, call recordings, demo video, and other key information to this client portal as your relationship progresses (rather than cluttering their inbox).
If you’re using Dock, explain how anyone on their team can access the Dock space by entering their email—so there’s no need to forward every email you send to the rest of their team.
2. Include it in your demo follow-up email. Follow up your call by emailing your DSR link to your buyer’s point of contact(s).
Sending a single personalized DSR link is a much tidier follow-up than the usual messy demo follow-up email with a bunch of links and attachments.
In the email body, reinforce the value of the DSR and how it will be your single source of truth moving forward.
3. Don’t call it a “digital sales room”. Depending on your industry or clientele, you may not want to call it a digital sales room, as that can make prospects feel overly conscious that they’re being “sold to.”
Instead, you can opt to use more collaboration-focused language, such as:
- “I set up this workspace for us to collaborate in.”
- “I set up a collaboration portal for us.”
- “I set up a Dock space for us to work in.”
4. Keep funneling them back to the DSR. Throughout the buyer lifecycle, keep nudging them back to the sales room.
For example, after you present your proposal, add it to the DSR and send them the link to the room again. Or if they comment on a document via email, encourage them to leave their feedback directly in the DSR next time.
Some clients will love it, while others may be less keen, but if you can help them see how much more convenient it will be for them to use the DSR, they’ll pick it up quickly.
5. Use it to push the deal forward. Your DSR’s mutual action plan is an efficient way to drive the client to act—especially for products with longer sales cycles with lots of hurdles to jump over.
For example, you can email your client and say, “Hey Sally, we’re getting closer to the deal being done. Our next step is to finalize the compliance review. How’s that going on your end?”
Or you can share a pricing quote in the workspace and ask the client to sign the deal directly from the DSR.
If you assign tasks with deadlines to your prospects using Dock, they’ll automatically get email reminders when they have an action to complete.
This can help keep the momentum going over longer deal cycles.
6. Keep adding to it. Even if you haven’t reached out to the client recently or things have gone cold, adding content to the DSR can be the perfect natural touchpoint.
For example, if you email your client saying, “Hey Bob, I just uploaded this new ROI study we just came out with to your room. Here’s the link…” it can encourage your client to revisit their DSR.
Not only will they see the new content you’ve hand-picked for them, but they’ll also revisit the other content you’ve previously uploaded—a great reminder of all the value you can provide for your buyer.
7. Use the same space for onboarding and beyond. You don’t have to abandon your DSR once the deal closes. You can use it as an all-in-one space for customer onboarding, software implementation, business reviews, or a general client portal.
This will help create a seamless experience for your client as they pass from sales to customer experience.
8. Connect it to your CRM. Most DSRs integrate with popular CRMs, so you can sync client information, track milestones, or monitor client usage in your main sales dashboards.
For example, when creating a Dock workspace, you can pull in account data directly from Salesforce and push Dock workspace links back to Salesforce (and we’ll have deeper integrations coming soon).
Onboarding your sales team to digital sales rooms
It’s usually easy to get buy-in from your sales team to use DSRs, but here are some tips to make the introduction extra smooth:
1. Start with a solid company template. Before you introduce the DSR to your sales team, build out the sales template you’ll use with your revenue operations team.
It’s just like building out a sandbox demo for your client—it’ll be a far more compelling presentation if you can show them what the tool will really look like in action.
You should also consult with a few sales reps on what they feel would be most useful to include in the template.
2. Hold a kickoff training call/meeting. Your goal here is to get your team eager about your DSRs.
Host a training call where you show them what’s in the template, how they’ll use it, and what editing it looks like.
Most importantly, explain all the “whys” we covered above—how it will help them curate information, empower their champion, save them time, personalize follow-up, etc.
Even your busiest sales reps should immediately see the value the DSR will create for them.
3. Put your DSRs into action and monitor progress. Once your team is using your DSRs with their clients, your team leads can monitor their usage and engagement
In Dock, team leads get a customized bird’s eye view of their entire team’s workspace performance.
For example, team leads can see overall workspace views and engagement data, a feed of recent activity, and individual team member or room performance.
Why you should (and shouldn’t) choose Dock as your digital sales room
We’ve built Dock to be the most collaborative, flexible digital sales room for up-and-coming businesses.
But before we get into Dock, let’s discuss more traditional sales rooms.
Other digital sales room tools like Allego and DealHub are static, hard-coded templates where clients can see your assets and sign agreements.
In these tools, it’s difficult to modify your templates or drag and drop in new content (for better or for worse, depending on your team), and your buyers can’t interact much with the space.
These tools are great choices if you also need your DSR to handle contract management and e-signatures or connect directly to your project management software. This is sometimes the case for very large companies that try to do as much as possible in one tool, but it’s often overkill for newer or smaller companies.
For most companies, using Dock in combination with a contract management tool like Docusign will be far more lightweight, cost-effective, and easier to pick up quickly.
Here’s where Dock offers more than the other tools on the market:
Dock is more collaborative: We’re redefining DSRs to be a more collaborative experience. As of today, Dock is the only DSR with project plans where both the buyer and seller can work through action items.
Using Dock, you can also comment on items and work together, so you can work with the buyer to ensure they have all the information they need to drive internal conversations.
Dock is more flexible: Dock has a much more flexible, modern editor that allows you to easily switch around layouts, move assets up and down, or add in text with a rich-text editor. You’re not stuck with one format, and you don’t have to be a programmer to edit anything.
Because of its flexibility, Dock works for endless types of sales processes, whether you’re traditional SMB, product-led sales, or enterprise.
Dock supports embedded content: Unlike most other DSRs, Dock allows you to embed videos, forms, and other third-party tools. So you don’t have to be afraid to adopt other new tools like Loom.
Dock has more powerful templates: Besides using the premade Dock templates, you can create your own company-wide templates. You can also templatize a full workspace or just one section of the workspace.
Dock has deep analytics: With Dock, you get engagement insights that allow you to see exactly what content your clients are accessing, what videos they’re watching, what they’re clicking on, and who’s accessing it.
Clients don’t need an account to use Dock: Accessing your Dock space is completely seamless for clients. They just need to put in their email to get access to your secure space. So you don’t need to worry about creating accounts or managing passwords.
Try Dock for Free
It only takes a few minutes to set up your own digital sales room in Dock.
To build your own space or start from one of our templates, start your free trial of Dock today.