The Next Generation of B2B Sales: How to Sell Virtually in 2020
We’re living in a time of accelerating change.
The new reality has shown with the overnight growth of eCommerce sales.
With B2B, the reaction has been just as swift, expediting three trends that were already picking up steam:
Buyers prefer self-guided digital research before talking to sales: According to Forrester, In 2018, 67% of B2B buyers said that they do not want to interact with a sales representative as their primary source of research.
B2B Products are being commoditized: As suppliers supply a wider group organizations, B2B companies must move upmarket so as not to become a commodity. This means offering more complex products that come with higher margins.
Once in-touch, buyers expect more engagement from sales (but not necessarily more phone conversations): Buyers expect a multi-touch “amazon-like” buying experience that exists across channels of their choice. And in most cases, they'll opt for convenience over long standing relationships.
Here are three ways B2B teams can sell virtually and drive more sales right now
1) Sell across the entire customer journey
When B2B buyers were polled by Forrester in 2018, 70% said that buying from a website was more convenient than buying from a sales rep when purchasing products or services for work.
The first step is to make sure you’re letting prospects do full discovery of your product so they feel comfortable reaching out to sales.
Are your prospects able to build, customize, and price your product from your website? If not, consider if you are satisfying what 70% of B2B buyers say “I want to do my own research first.”
Here’s an example of Oak Beams Truss, a Threekit customer, they allow prospects to build truss beams using parametric configuration
and to customize the style, design, amount of wood, and cost, all in real-time.
Last, consider enabling eCommerce functionality so B2B buyers can buy immediately from your site. Coca-cola reported that it reduced its average cost per interaction by 85% by moving offline B2B customers online.
2) Differentiate your product
Today’s prospects are less likely to believe tag-lines like “our customers come first” — increasingly, you need to show, not tell.
Instruct sales on a more consultative sales process. This means building the product in real time so that it addresses the complex needs that the buyer is describing.
When your sales team knows the prospects challenges, competitive threats, and opportunities, they can show the prospect exactly the features that will make them faster, lower cost, and more efficient.
B2B customers value efficiency and convenience. By doing these things quickly and easily, you're implicitly showing the prospect that your company is easy to do business with.
3) Engage customers in new and innovative ways
Buyers expect engagement from sales and that means across email, video, chat, and text rather than just phone calls.
Sales reps should plan on engaging prospects with video calls, even on the first call. Seeing a friendly face and connecting visually is one of the easiest ways to build trust.
After intro’s encourage reps to get into the product and act in a consultative way. It’s less about “selling” and more about guiding the right resources to prospects.
Threekit B2B customers start a zoom meeting and in real time configure their product to the needs of their prospects.
After the demo, the sales rep sends the chosen configured product (via link or PDF) to the prospect with every customization done, a full bill of materials (BOM), and pricing finalized.
An additional follow up is a QR code that the prospect can scan (and send to others) to see their configured product in 3D on their phone and also easily place it in augmented reality.
If prospects still want to explore your product, then you can give them access to the configurator and let them come up with their own ideas.
The future is bright for virtual B2B sales
The landscape of B2B buying has changed dramatically and rapidly. More than ever B2B companies should focus on selling across the entire customer journey, differentiating their product, and engaging buyers more. Those that manage the change will benefit with a bright future.