Remember picking your first AOL screen name? Instagram handle? LinkedIn picture? Why did anybody put that much effort into such a trivial identifier? Whether you knew it or not, those seemingly silly choices were your first foray into cultivating your virtual presence.
People go through a lot of effort to be perceived in a certain way. Because, even if just subconsciously, they know impressions are impactful. Within 8 seconds, a stranger forms their perception of you – specifically, whether you’re someone they’re interested in or should listen to. So, what is virtual presence and how can you use it to solidify those positive perceptions?
In a professional context, “virtual presence” is simply your capacity to conduct business from anywhere.
Your ability to create those positive impressions without being present is certainly an innovation, but it’s not very new. For such an effective tool, it’s terribly under-leveraged. Most importantly, getting better results from virtual performance than physical is more accessible than ever.
History of Virtual Presence
Harken back to the early days of digital marketing – content and SEO revolutionized the way people learn about and consume what an organization has to offer. As the internet was quickly populated with all the information anyone would ever need to make a decision, sales teams lost their position as gatekeepers of institutional knowledge – forcing them to adapt.
There’s no doubt about the stigma attached to video calls – historically, they haven’t delivered a great experience. The virtual landscape has traditionally offered a lower quality experience than meeting in person, which has informed people’s preferences.
Fast forward to a global pandemic that forced most of the world to work from home. While only 3 in 5 employees reported feeling prepared to work remotely at the outset of the pandemic, another study found the number of organizations conducting business virtually increased by 41%.
And, while today’s workforce is by and large accustomed to your standard video call, we’re in the Wild West of virtual presence: the frontier is largely unoccupied, and pioneers in this landscape will be positioned lightyears ahead of their competition. In other words, virtual presence is an opportunity to displace competitors before they even show up. However, that train’s about to leave the platform.
How Virtual Presence Will Revolutionize the Way Business is Done
Just like there’s different decorum in the boardroom versus the breakout, virtual is simply a different context for work to take place – and it’s not going anywhere.
While the pandemic will end, people’s preference for purchasing and interacting with organizations has irrevocably changed.
When asked about their preference on purchasing methods, 70-80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service.
Furthermore, when asked about the effectiveness of a virtual sales model, the percent of respondents who had seen “equally or more effective” efforts jumped from 54% to 75% between April and August of 2020.
As such, forward-thinking organizations will adapt. The way we see it, the biggest opportunity lies in how procedure adapts to the virtual landscape. Some of the most impactful changes in key performance indicators come from increasing process efficiency – think about it. What would your business look like if the sales cycle was one day shorter? If getting a signature took one less meeting? Investing in your virtual presence might feel like minimal return right now, but we bet getting rid of your rolodex did, too.
Who’s Positioned to Succeed with Virtual Presence?
Probably you! If connecting with an audience virtually is part of your day, there’s a virtual presence application for you. If it’s not, you might want to reevaluate your outreach. Adapting the way business is done to accommodate people’s preference for virtual lends itself to higher scalability, lower operating costs and further reach.
Deskrig is dedicated to equipping you with the hardware, tools and training necessary to bring your best game in the virtual landscape. Want to learn more?