Virtual selling presents clear advantages for both the sales rep and the prospect, but it’s also introduced some new challenges with secure file sharing and proposal content management.
In fact, a December 2021 survey by SentryBay, a U.K.-based cybersecurity firm, found that nearly 70% of security professionals think companies need to reevaluate how they handle cybersecurity threats now that so many people work remotely.
Virtual selling and the file sharing that comes with it can leave organizations vulnerable to:
- Data breaches or loss of sensitive information, like customer contact information or sales data, due to human error
- Unauthorized access to shared files, leading to data leaks or loss of intellectual property
- Unsecured remote access to company networks and systems, leading to cyber attacks
Let’s dive into some best practices you can use with your Secure Client Portal (the gold standard for secure file sharing) to mitigate risks and protect your organization.
Use watermarks on shared files for security and clarity
Secure client portals come with file sharing features like document watermarks, which help identify the owner of a document and prevent unauthorized access to information.
When a sales rep adds a watermark to a proposal or contract, they’re doing a few things:
- Asserting ownership of the content to prevent unauthorized distribution of sensitive information
- Making it more difficult for external recipients to remove the the sales rep’s name, company name, or other unique identifiers that can track how and where the document is shared
- Increasing brand awareness and a sense of professionalism with the prospect
- Communicating clearly with the prospect on the status of the document, with markers like “Draft” or “Confidential” on proposals and contracts
Add an extra security layer with an NDA
Depending on your prospect’s industry, the industry they’re selling to, your reps may need to use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to protect extra sensitive business information.
In healthcare or financial services, for example, an NDA could be what they need to communicate vital information to close deals while also protecting the company from potential legal liability.
Secure client portals allow you to easily add NDAs as a standard first step to accessing information, so that:
- Proprietary technology, trade secrets, pricing information, etc. are protected from unauthorized distribution
- The company has grounds to take legal action to protect confidential information if they need to
- The sales rep builds trust with the prospect, who wants to know their information will be secure if they sign on with the company
With virtual selling, there’s literally less time in rooms with decision makers. While virtual selling opens up tons of opportunities for selling across geographies, the cost is sometimes not knowing exactly who you’re sharing files with … and who they might share your files with.
When sales reps use a secure client portal to password-protect files, they:
- Limit recipient access to authorized decision makers
- Track who can see the file (more on that below)
- Prevent accidental sharing with unintended recipients, which cuts down on human error
- Establish trust between the sales rep and the prospect — both know neither one of them is a bot!
Disable file downloading
If your sales reps don’t want to use password-protection because they don’t want to throw up a barrier for the prospect, you can also use a secure client portal to disable file downloading as an alternative.
A sales rep may want to disable file downloading to:
- Make sure only one decision maker at a time can view the file to control the sales process
- Track access to the file at a granular level, to help refine the sales process (more on that later )
- Demonstrate compliance with regulations in certain industries
- Make sure the prospect is viewing the most recent version of a document
- Control the brand experience by making sure the prospect is viewing the file within the sales rep’s personalized virtual data room
Use analytics to keep track of all file activity
File sharing analytics is where security and performance meet to help sales teams close more deals.
First, the basics: When you enable the “require email to view” feature in your secure client portal, you can see who your content has been shared with. This is important for security, sure, but it’s also vital information for the sales process—so you know when new decision makers have entered the conversation.
Then, for more advanced sales strategy planning, these document analytics can help sales reps in these ways:
- Time spent per page helps sales reps tailor the actual content of their pitches to the prospect’s interests and needs
- Top performing pages tell sales reps which pages of their documents close the most amount of deals — so they can replicate the process for more future deals
- Version performance allows sales reps to test different versions of their pitches and proposals, so they know which ones close the most amount of deals for each audience vertical
- Total number of downloads reveals how many people are viewing their proposals, so they can understand how many decision makers are needed to close a deal (the sales cycle may be longer or shorter than they think!)
- Content dropoff lets sales reps know when they’ve lost a prospect — maybe their proposals and pitches are too long and they need to shorten them, or even break things up into multiple files to communicate more information
Want to securely share files while closing more deals? Get started with your own Secure Client Portal by starting a free trial.