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TECHNEWS · Monday, June 20, 2022

B2B market, Welcome the new digital reality that will stay forever

The covid-19 pandemic had a significant digital shift. B2B sales organizations should take the following 5 actions to trigger greater sales and productivity in the new normal.

In 2020-2021, all industries moved to digital platforms and remote work. Market players had to adjust their operations, pushing their “game” to digital and facing the reality that is now a new normal. The covid-19 pandemic had an enormous impact on the economy and how companies will conduct business in the future. This significant digital shift will likely stay in place for the long run.

According to recent McKinsey research, more than three-quarters of buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions. Even if it was difficult to adjust to the lockdown, people got used to working from home, interacting with colleagues via zoom or skype, and buying groceries online. Customers realized that moving to digital made it faster to get information and place orders, and they enjoyed saving time, making everything quicker and convenient. Only 20 percent of B2B buyers prefer returning to in-person sales. 

Looking on the other side, B2B sales leaders had faced an inevitable shock by adopting digital platforms. Now that things calmed down, there is a growing conviction that the digital is the way to go. They have noticed the comfort that B2B buyers show in making large purchases and reorders online. They focused on developing video and live chat to interact with B2B customers and drop-down in-person meetings. 

In the US, 3 in 4 B2B decision-makers expect that the new digital model will be as effective as before. 99% of the B2B buyers claim they will continue making purchases online. 4 out of 5 B2B buyers prefer videoconference connections over audio/phone. The situation in Europe is quite the same, with a slight difference in having 96% of B2B buyers willing to spend more than $50K online. 

The following are some of the actions that sales organizations should undertake to trigger greater sales productivity and performance in the new normal.

1. Centralize commercial operations and generate actionable insights

Remotely guiding a team is pretty challenging. One of the ways to take control is by creating “commercial hubs” to distribute better and more targeted insights to the sales teams. It will drive more agility in the organization, bringing together three elements: (a) highly experienced people in sales, analytics, and data science and product; (b) an operating model capable of following up with interactions; and (c) access to a data and analytics infrastructure optimized to the hubs needs. It will also provide appropriate coaching and a daily check of activities for constant improvement. The hub is the heart of the company’s sales-insights engine, responsible for capability-building programs, performance and incentive plans, and sales play to support the sales forces.

2. Enable an agile go-to-market model

Based on the insights generated by the hub, sales leaders could better align sales reps to the right sales opportunities, choosing the appropriate people for each stage of the deal, assembling teams with the necessary skills to innovate and design products and services that customers want.

3. Design smarter, automated sales processes

Commercial hubs have a significant role in automated sales processes. Generating insight based on analytics could redefine the operating model of sellers and improve the sales process. Using artificial intelligence for automation reduces time and improves the sales process. Chatbots are reaching customers to understand their responsibilities and assess the conversion potential. Based on the response, the sales manager should contact only those with apparent buying interests, saving time and reducing costs. 

4. Empower and reskill the front line

Centralized commercial hubs have experienced people that should serve as mentors. Mentoring could have a substantial impact on the mindset and behavioral changes. Sales coaches are training teams on what the daily life of a seller should be. On the other hand, salespeople enjoy the empowerment coming from approaching sales strategically.

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