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How Covid changed B2B sales

In today’s world, especially following COVID-19, prospects are less likely to be available for an in-person meeting or even a phone call. Instead, they may be at different locations around the country or the world.

Introduction

The B2B sales process has changed quite a bit over the past decade. The most significant change has been the shift from face-to-face meetings to digital sales processes.

In today’s world, especially following COVID-19, prospects are less likely to be available for an in-person meeting or even a phone call. Instead, they may be at different locations around the country or the world.

This means that salespeople need to be prepared for any situation. They have to have the right tools and technologies to help them connect with their prospects wherever they are.

The good news is that there is a new and improved way for your salespeople to work collaboratively with your prospective buyers, and simultaneously grant your management full visibility on each deal traction through robust analytics – This new and improved way is done through Aligned.

Blog type
Covid effects on B2B
Categories
Sales efficiency
Digital Strategy
Remote selling
Shortening the sales cycle
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What's changed?

According to a study by McKinsey, about 75% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interaction or self-service.  

Two main reasons behind this high number are

  • Ease of Scheduling
  • Safety (especially in COVID times)

This is very interesting since we can change the way we sell to accommodate this new era of B2B sales.

“The most notable sign that digital sales have come of age is the comfort B2B buyers display in making large new purchases and reorders online. The prevailing wisdom used to be that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items and fast-moving parts. Not so anymore. Notably, 70 percent of B2B decision makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000.”

So we’ve established that the sales process has changed, now we’ll need to ask if your sales strategy has changed as well.

Some buyers say that as technology and business evolve, deals are becoming more complex and it’s becoming more difficult to keep track on everything that happens in the selling/buying process (from both ends)

According to a study by Gartner, when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with anyone sales rep may be only 5% or 6%.  ֿThis makes the sales team job much harder.

So who's empowered the seller or the buyer?

Let’s be clear: the buyer is the one who has been empowered by covid, not the seller. It’s not that sellers were powerless before covid, but rather that buyers were. Now, with so much information available to them at their fingertips and intuitive ways for them to consume it in a digital sales room on their own terms and timeline, buyers are no longer forced into speaking with sellers until they’re ready.

In fact, marketing research suggests that 75% of decision-making progress occurs before a prospect speaks to a salesperson—so an increasing number of prospects will be making up their minds long before you ever get involved in the process.

What does this mean for the future of the sale?

The buyer has the power, meaning that you are no longer the most important person in the room. You need to change your approach from “How can I sell something?” to “What does my customer need me for?” You need to be proactive and responsive, innovative, creative and willing.

In the end, it’s all about the salespeople. To be successful in your role and thrive as a company, you need to ensure your team is fully prepared for what lies ahead.

  • Strategic: As we mentioned earlier, B2B sales has become increasingly complex and many buyers are now engaging in longer purchase cycles. Salespeople must be able to adapt to this changing landscape by thinking strategically about their prospects’ needs and working closely with others (including marketing) on how best to address them.
  • Collaborative: The buyer of today expects more transparency than ever before when making buying decisions. This means that B2B sellers need to be confident communicators who can collaborate effectively across all departments within an organization—and even beyond—to better understand buyer intent so they can build stronger relationships with prospects that result in more deals closed faster. Adaptable: The way people buy has changed dramatically over the past decade; more specifically, it has become highly personalized based upon individual preferences which means sellers need to work closely together with other teams such as marketing or operations in order achieve their goals while still meeting customer needs. Efficiently manage resources through automation tools such as Aligned so that everyone knows where there should focus their efforts.
  • Empathetic: In order for salespeople have empathy towards customers’ needs then first impressions matter just like any other type of relationship building process requires mutual understanding between both parties involved in conversation by listening deeply without interrupting each other’s thoughts.
  • Effective: One thing we know from our research at Covid is that there’s no magic bullet strategy when it comes too B2B sales success; rather they require ongoing commitment throughout entire organization structure if want achieve results quickly without sacrificing quality standards set forth by corporate leadership.

Final Thoughts

What does this mean for the future of B2B sales? We believe that in order to be successful in today’s world, you need to have a process that works with the new normal. If you do not adapt your process, it will be very difficult for you and your team to stay ahead of your competitors.