If you want to remain resilient in a post-pandemic market, the way your sales reps interact with customers must change. Almost 9 in 10 B2B decision-makers say that new go-to-market sales practices that emerged as a result of COVID will remain a fixture in 2021 and beyond.
- Most B2B seller interactions have moved to remote or digital, aligning with B2B decision-makers’ preferences.
- 75% of companies said that emerging sales models are effective in reaching and serving customers.
- Willingness to buy online is growing. Twelve percent of B2B decision-makers surveyed are willing to spend $500K to $1 million through end-to-end digital self-service and remote interactions; 15% are willing to spend more than $1 million.
- More than 90% of B2B companies shifted to a virtual or hybridized sales model as a result of the pandemic.
The silver lining of the transition we’ve seen over the past 12-18 months is that it opens up new opportunities for sales reps. Sales reps no longer need to spend as much valuable time on the road or at the airport. They can take this lost time and turn it into more conversations with customers. But they need the right toolkits to do so.
Revisit how you support your sales reps so that they can be just as good working with a customer remotely as they are in person.
If you haven’t already, re-evaluate the responsibilities of your sales teams, and the tools they need to do their jobs effectively in a hybrid environment. That means the ability to consult effectively when they visit a customer, and to offer the same value when providing support remotely.
AI-powered tools can add a lot of value in a hybrid model. When armed with insights that arise from analyzing buying and shopping data aggregated from every customer on every sales channel (inside sales, outside sales, ecommerce, customer service, marketing and counter sales), reps can find the information they need to have highly consultative and strategic conversations with each individual customer. This includes predictions about what each customer is likely to buy — whether that’s a proactive re-order recommendation, wallet share growth opportunity or a cross-sell recommendation.
The right sales-enablement stack will also provide unparalleled cross-channel visibility for your hybrid sales reps. If a customer visits your website and browses a new product category they have not purchased from you before, your sales rep should be able to see that activity so they can follow up with the customer. Reps also need reminders to follow up on high-potential opportunities that may otherwise slip through the cracks, like quote follow-ups or checking in with a customer after they’ve purchased an expensive item for the first time.
According to the ebook, “The Future of Sales,” Gartner expects that by 2025 80% of B2B sales will happen in digital channels.
We were already on that trajectory — with sales reps’ roles changing and customers’ demanding less in-person engagement — but the pandemic hastened the transition. AI will help reps provide the best customer experience moving forward. When the right tools are used, sales reps can still serve customers and drive sales remotely, and improve both the quality and quantity of their customer interactions.
Benj Cohen founded Proton to help distributors harness cutting-edge artificial intelligence. He learned about distribution firsthand at Benco Dental, a business started by his great grandfather. He’s on a mission to supply distributors with an innovative technology they need to thrive in modern markets. Contact Benj at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit proton.ai.