5 Hybrid Sales Strategies to Leverage in 2024, According to Dropbox's VP of Sales

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Caroline Forsey
Caroline Forsey


There are a few major benefits of hybrid selling.

sales rep making a sales pitch on a hybrid sales team

For one, it provides your employees with flexibility and autonomy to work where they'd prefer.

It also has major economic benefits from a cost of sales perspective — for instance, rather than paying for each sales rep to travel to meet in-person with buyers, plenty of selling can now be done virtually.

Additionally, hybrid selling enables you to build a stronger team. Companies can now hire from a wider talent pool without letting geography become a deterrent for hiring the best sales reps.

But the biggest benefit of hybrid selling? As Debbie McClure, Vice President of Sales at Dropbox, puts it, "Most importantly, hybrid selling matches how buyers want to buy."

Here, I sat down with McClure to discuss her favorite strategies for establishing a powerful and effective hybrid sales strategy. Let's dive in.

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5 Hybrid Sales Strategies, According to Dropbox's VP of Sales

1. Sell the way your customers want to buy.

Hybrid sales has proven incredibly effective for the bottom line — in fact, McKinsey found hybrid sales drives up to 50% more revenue by enabling broader, deeper customer engagement.

Why? Because some customers don't want to buy in-person. They want to buy over the phone, or through live chat, or via email.

As McClure puts it, "Hybrid selling matches the way customers want to buy."

To implement a successful hybrid sales strategy, you'll want to ensure you're creating a framework in which your sales reps know how to sell in whichever way serves your customers best. If your sales reps only know how to sell effectively in-person, they'll be unable to meet the needs of the customers who'd prefer to buy virtually.

To build a hybrid sales strategy, then, you need to focus on the customer.

McClure told me, "When you start looking at hybrid selling, the customer is at the center of it. So you'll want to build a customer-focused model. For instance, at Dropbox, we ask customers what their preferences are — we'll say, 'How can we best support your needs? How would you prefer to collaborate with us?' And I'll tell you, after a long career in field sales, I certainly see the shift in preference to speed, and speed to make a decision, versus that in-person necessity."

how to create a hybrid sales strategy according to vp of dropbox sales

McClure believes this shift towards hybrid selling isn't simply a consequence of the pandemic, either. She suggests we were always headed in a more modern, digital direction with selling, even pre-pandemic.

2. Encourage new KPIs for your hybrid team — like speed.

When asked what new KPIs she'd suggest measuring in a hybrid environment, McClure told me, "One of our new KPIs is speed. How fast can we respond to a customer's inquiry? Because that's important to our customer. And the more time we can free up for our sales reps, the more time they have to serve more customers."

Of course, she adds, it's still vital to measure the traditional KPIs for any sales organization, including pipeline and close rates. Fortunately, analytics enables you to collect insights into how to increase metrics for any type of sales team, hybrid or otherwise.

For instance, McClure notes, you might track customized versus generic demos through your sales reporting dashboard, and conclude a customized demo leads to higher close rates for your hybrid team.

Additionally, marketing metrics are becoming increasingly vital for any sales organization to monitor. McClure says, "Whether it's inbound marketing, conversions, or account-based marketing impacts, marketing metrics are becoming much more critical for any sales team."

3. Leverage 'blitz days', or other rituals to encourage a strong team culture.

One of the most difficult aspects of leading a hybrid sales team is the loss of the energetic sales culture you can most easily facilitate when everyone is in the office together.

For instance, McClure notes that in a traditional sales environment, sales reps can hear their peers and think, 'Hey, that sounded good. I like the way you positioned that solution … I'm going to use that next time, too.' With a hybrid team, some of the more relaxed and spontaneous learning and bonding opportunities goes away.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost. Sales leaders can still incorporate those elements into a virtual environment — they just need to become more intentional about new traditions to create that same level of rapport.

For instance, at Dropbox, McClure and the leadership team introduced the concept of 'blitz days', which requires everyone in the organization to come together virtually a couple of times each quarter to brainstorm creative and unique ways to pitch their creative tool package, and then everyone calls customers and speaks to them. They then create a live channel for people to share wins, as well as learnings, throughout the day.

"It's funny because blitz days are such a simple concept," McClure says, "but teams really, really enjoy it. They enjoy the camaraderie of coming together and going off and then coming back together. And then we huddle and talk about it and we celebrate wins and appointments and give prizes and such."

Along with blitz days, McClure's team hosts other events and activities, such as all-hands meetings, weekly updates, training sessions, and fun events including live concerts, cooking classes, game shows, and community events.

McClure says, "It's fun to push the boundaries as a team virtually — and then as [pandemic] restrictions soften, the ability to come together once a quarter just adds to the foundation we've already created from a virtual environment … and it just makes it all the richer."

If you're unable to bring your full team together in-person, consider how you might create your own virtual events to increase engagement across the team. There are plenty of virtual team-building activities you might leverage to create a stronger hybrid culture.

4. Invest in the right tools for a hybrid environment.

Any new sales process will require a new set of tools to ensure success and efficiency, and hybrid selling is no different.

As McClure puts it, "Technology has become so important in a hybrid world. So investing in tools that support the model is critical. We've shifted the tools we use to enable a hybrid strategy and invested in technology that supports remote selling and sales team collaboration."

A few foundational tools you'll need for any successful remote or hybrid sales team include:

  • A CRM, which provides you with a focal point of the team's sales model and whether everything — and everyone — is in sync.
  • Remote tools for better communication, collaboration, and organization.

Along with these tools, McClure recommends looking into a revenue intelligence platform, which helps her team leverage deep analytics to shape her sales effectiveness. She adds, "The revenue intelligence platform also gives us the opportunity to provide feedback and coaching in a geographically-dispersed environment."

Additionally, it's helpful to have a centralized document repository, like Dropbox, to keep important documents and secure proposals, pitch decks, sales assets, and more.

Using a document repository like Dropbox can also help your sales team avoid wasting time searching for the latest pricing or pitch deck, which helps them provide the speediness that customers are craving. And when it's time to close the deal, technology integrations, like Dropbox's eSignature product called HelloSign with HubSpot's CRM, eliminate tedious administrative steps and help sales reps get those agreements signed quickly.

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5. Remain transparent.

Transparency is always an important component of good leadership, but it's particularly vital to incorporate in a hybrid environment.

McClure believes it's critical her direct reports always know what to expect, and when — she's actively invested in creating a culture of transparency.

"We have Ask Me Anythings on a regular basis," McClure told me, "And sometimes people don't like my answers, but they know they're getting the honest and transparent truth. In a virtual environment, it's especially important to create opportunities to have real conversations on a regular basis."

To build transparency into your hybrid culture, consider how you can discuss challenges facing the business or mistakes you've personally made as a leader to demonstrate honesty and build trust.

hybrid selling according to vp of dropbox sales

Be Prepared to Learn as You Go

Ultimately, change can be scary, particularly when it comes to something as foundational to your business' growth and long-term success as selling ... but it doesn't have to be. Hopefully, these five strategies will help you get your hybrid sales processes off on the right foot. But it might take some trial-and-error for you to determine which processes, technologies, and strategies work best for your team.

Which is exciting, in and of itself – there's room for you to make hybrid selling your own.

As McClure told me, "Hybrid selling is here to stay, and it presents a lot of opportunities for us to grow, learn, and mold what great hybrid selling looks like in the future."

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