The dynamics in B2B sales and online selling have made way for newer strategies and sales processes. In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic since 2020, this has been further accentuated by the need to be more human and customer-centric as well as creative in every sales outreach.
Over time, the introduction of newer sales technologies has also contributed to a change in how sales teams need to function or how they are expected to function in a digital-first sales climate.
As sales trends have evolved over the last few years, B2B sales processes have also shifted, leading to a bigger focus on improved sales tech choices and use, prioritization of sales analytics, redefining what KPIs and metrics matter or should matter… these trends or ‘sales process needs’ constantly need to be evaluated and strengthened to meet changing market and customer dynamics.
In the midst of evolving sales processes, what should B2B sales teams keep in mind as they set up new salestech platforms or re-evaluate their processes? Here are a few pertinent thoughts based on conversations with industry leaders:
Building a Collaborative Sales Approach that Involves Customers
In order to scale and measure every sales activity, it is important to digitize every part of the sales process. Amid this need for digitization and improved use of salestech and other technologies to drive sales operations and output, sales leaders have to take into account the changes in B2B buying behaviors and buying models. Modern day B2B buyers are attuned to doing their own research online, reviewing products through peer review platforms, comparing features and prices with competitors – all by themselves, reducing the reliance on having to interact with an actual salesperson.
Adding sales technologies that enable sellers to act like partners to their prospects and customers is the need of the hour with a greater focus on implementing a collaborative approach through these tools. Traditional sales models are not going to work in a digitized environment. This is where sales leaders have to make the smarter choice and opt for sales tech platforms that help drive real-time interactions on the preferred channel of communication (e.g: live chat / email) with their audience.
With a rise in demand of self-serve options in business-to-business, most B2B buyers spend less than 17% of their total buying journey interacting with sales reps, according to research. On the other hand, millennial buyers are known to make buying decisions without the support of a sales rep at all.
Sales tools that help enable a collaborative approach where sales people can tap into a buyer’s journey at the right time, based on all of the above will help drive better output as opposed to traditional models where usual sales nurtures are used to drive buying decisions and move buyers through the typical buying stages.
A Strong Sales Operations Team that Manages and Runs your Sales Tech
Research suggests that just about 37% of a sales reps’ time is actually spent on sales activities and nearly 62% is spent on managing sales technology.
This can actually be a cause for concern. Sales people who have the knack of building customer relationships and enabling final sign offs on contracts need to have the right sales tech in place to enable their efforts. This is where sales operations and associated processes need to be structured with more thought to allow those who manage and run the sales technologies and those who actually sell and face the customers a defined framework that leads to a well-oiled, organized sales system.
Instead of a sales rep spending time analyzing data and integrating CRM information and such other (crucial!) tasks, a dedicated sales operations team should be breaking down this information, running all the automation and feeding the right information to the sales reps and sales leaders when they need it.
Complicated sales structures or even complicated deployment of sales tech can add to the internal burden and lead to more roadblocks as opposed to cleaning up and help scaling the end-to-end sales process.
Using an Array of Sales/Selling Channels Online
Digital marketing has to be multichannel in today’s environment. So does selling in a digitized environment. Not only are sellers spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of communication and automation platforms they can use to build better prospecting and real-time nurture cadences, they have a range of online selling channels to choose from too.
Some of the most proactive sales people in B2B are known to use email, then platforms like LinkedIn to follow up with a set of prospects and drive engagement. While using a multichannel approach in sales, utilizing omnichannel messaging, a robust communication strategy and identifying the key channels that can work based on the behaviors of a particular target audience are integral to enabling higher ROI.
In the near-future, not only will there be a rise in the number of salestech features and capabilities, including platforms to drive sales initiatives, there will be a consistent rise in the number of online channels through which sellers can drive engagement and sales conversations. Platforms like Facebook, WeChat, several others have already been enabling sales efforts across both B2B and B2C over the recent years.
Omnichannel selling using the most relevant sales channels based on the industry the salesperson belongs to are key to securing more sales meetings today.
Change is Constant, even in Sales!
To build solid sales structures and sales processes, sales teams need to keep revisiting how they do what they do in a dynamic environment. Balancing traditional sales secrets and using modern day approaches and tactics to meet changing selling environments with the right sales tech is what every salesperson will have to get accustomed to as the pace of innovation and rise of new salestech and sales channels keeps the industry on its toes.