December 1, 2021
The pandemic has altered the way both B2C and B2B buyers are making decisions. We have all spent the past year investing time and energy in new sales and marketing strategies to meet demands that had already been changing, just at a much less seismic rate.
How do you continue to grow revenue by meeting your buyers’ needs as we continue to navigate an environment in flux?
Remote Is Here to Stay
While many companies are looking forward to getting back to face-to-face sales–and many already have, at least to some extent–buyers have become accustomed to the convenience of buying nearly everything virtually. In fact, almost 90% of sales take place remotely, and a majority of B2B buyers believe this is equally or more effective than the sales models used before COVID-19.
Whether conducting business in person or virtually, the fundamentals of what make you successful still stand. Consistent communication with customers and prospects is key, whether it is via Zoom or in person.
According to AchieveUnite, a 100% virtual channel consulting and education firm, video-based communication is 65% more effective than voice only and 25% less effective than face-to-face. Customer discovery and post-sale business planning can be just as effective if you account for the delivery medium. For instance, ensure everyone stays engaged in the conversation by insisting that they keep their video on during a call. And consider adding some fun to your interactions; schedule your business planning session to precede a wine or chocolate tasting. Many local food producers and microbreweries will help host a virtual event for you and your customers. Getting more creative will help make you stand out in a crowded market.
Help Your Buyers Choose You When Researching Online
Even before the pandemic, almost half of B2B buyers identified specific solutions they wanted to purchase before speaking with a salesperson. In a recent study, 51% of sales and marketing professionals believed buyers conducted more research over the past 18 months than previously, and 50% of buyers required more business justification. Everyone has experienced an increase in online research and purchases in their personal lives, and it is no different with B2B buyers.
As I spoke about in the first section, as everyone has had to move away from common sales practices of going into prospects’ places of business and sitting across from them, buyers are spending increasingly more time researching their buying options prior to making decisions. With so much online content to search through–often including pricing information–due diligence is easier than ever.
How can you continue to compete? A digital presence is more important than ever. You don’t have to spend a lot on a slick website, but a simple, mobile-friendly site that focuses on solutions that solve your customers’ biggest challenges will help differentiate you. Read more about focusing on customer solutions in my previous article, “Micro-Segmented Solutions for Success.”
To grab prospects’ attention and help convert them to buyers before you even speak with them, highlight these items on your website:
Customer service success numbers, such as high on-time implementation rates
Descriptions of how your solutions match your customers’ specific needs
Your thought leadership
What Hasn’t Changed? Buyers Continue to Change
Even before the pandemic took hold, technology buyers were changing. It became increasingly common for business-line owners to make their own technology decisions rather than depend on a centralized IT department or, in smaller companies, a designated IT expert.
When looking to understand what challenges you can help your customers solve, try to connect with as many business unit leaders as you can, either virtually or in person.
For example, the training manager might be trying to train the sales team remotely, more effectively. Or HR might be responsible for finding the right work-from-home strategy. Connecting with the leaders will not only help you uncover new opportunities, but it also will help you become an expert in your customers’ business.
And remember, when you knock that sale out of the park, make sure to talk about it on your website.
As a Senior Director at Cox Business, John is responsible for the overall readiness strategy for the indirect business sales channels. His team has the primary responsibility to develop, implement and sell solutions utilizing the Cox Communications network throughout the country. John has more than 25 years of experience in business management, which includes sales and leadership positions with companies such as Polycom, Sprint and EDS.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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