We all know it to be true. The Covid-19 pandemic, now entering its third year, has changed how business gets done – disrupting supply chains, workforce availability, budget planning, and much more. For sales, the pandemic has disrupted playbooks at every stage of the purchase process.
According to a recent McKinsey study, 89% of business indicate Covid-related changes will be around for at least next 12 months. And over 60% believe their sales jobs have changed forever, according to Salesforce.
So what does the future of selling look potentially look like? Here’s our take:
- B2B Gives Way to H2H
Buyer’s expectations have evolved. A recent buyers survey indicates that 87% of buyers expect us to know about them and their business before they ever engage with us. Of course, digital tools of all kinds now enable sales to know more about a buyer’s values, thoughts, habits and more. Conversely, however, buyers are experiencing digital fatigue – too many emails, IMs, text messages, DMs, RTs, replies, comments, and more. Smart sellers recognize this conundrum – that digital is both the answer and the problem – and are using the breadth of digital tools available not to bombard their buyers, but to create more personalized, value-added interactions. These include customizing email exchanges, creating short educational videos, replying to a buyer’s LinkedIn posts, texting with buyers. These sellers know that intentional, focused communication, no matter the medium, makes for more long-lasting professional connections with their buyers.
- Remote First
Screens have replaced handshakes. Over the lifecycle of the pandemic, 90% of B2B businesses moved to remote or hybrid work. Additionally, only 20% of buyers want to go back to in-person sales meetings. No longer will salespeople be able to rely on frequent flights or tradeshow meet-and-greets or just pounding the pavement in their local city. Buyers simply aren’t interested in going back to the way things were. Smart sellers are pivoting to meet those expectations – relying more on their cell phone, emails, and video conferencing to connect. This likely means a greater frequency of meetings (since there’s no travel time) which means more recordings, more note taking, more time logging interactions in your CRM. As such, sales teams should be looking for tools that will not only enable them to have better remote meetings, but that will also help expedite the necessary admin and follow-up work so you can sell smarter (not harder).
- Knowing Your Customer End-to-End
Knowing what your customer does is no longer enough. Now you need to know their business successes and challenges. How are they impacted by the ongoing supply chain challenges? Are they in a reorganization cycle? How did the pandemic impact their business overall (think about being a video conferencing service vs a commercial real estate company vs being a lumber company, for instance)? How do they expect to remain relevant in the market and grow their business over the next several years? And how can you align the product / service / solution you’re offering to help them overcome challenges and achieve greater success? One of the best ways to begin to answer these questions is to not only ask and listen, but to also get more closely aligned with your marketing org. Customer intelligence is a two-way street between marketing and sales – often built on the data found in your CRM. Sales can bring personalized knowledge to the table while marketing can bring data insight at scale. Working together means more productive new sales, upsell, and cross-sell cycle. Fundamentally, when marketing and sales work together, everyone – including the customer – wins.
The pandemic provides a pivotal opportunity for best-in-class businesses to reimagine the way they sell. Companies that seize the opportunity to marry digital tools and intelligence with greater personalization and can pivot their typical in-person tactics will realize greater productivity and greater revenue. Learn how our mobile app automates the routine busywork of logging sales activities, enabling you and your team to take full advantage of the new way to sell.
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