Every industry has seen a tremendous shift during the last two years because of a plethora of reasons including technological advancements, the Covid-19 pandemic, and digitalization. The future of B2B sales is changing in tandem with these developments. Because of the pandemic, businesses have gone digital, and the move to remote and hybrid work settings has caused a paradigm shift in the sales environment. Today, remote and digital selling is becoming the new norm. Despite this, the majority of businesses are still seller-centric, and take months to close a deal. However, the need to change the old and painful process is so pressing that Walnut together with other leading sales platforms have launched a movement called "WeAreProspects" to make B2B buying simple, fast, and customer-centric.
I have prepared a list of four trends that currently dominate and will continue to dominate the B2B sales landscape in the foreseeable future.
Customer-Driven Sales Model
Traditional B2B sales cycles are endless, and buyers want to make a purchase decision quickly without a sales representative’s interference. As a result, focusing on customers’ needs is the most crucial trend to take into account in B2B sales today. Keeping the customer at the center of the process ensures higher chances of success.
According to Forrester, 75% of B2B buyers prefer a no-rep buying experience. They believe that sales representatives are more concerned with achieving their sales goals than with meeting customer needs. In addition, the majority of B2B buyers today are millennials, and they have little patience to wait for a demo call to see the product. They want to try things early in the sales cycle so that they don’t get caught up in later stages when everything is about the sales rep’s performance. Sales representatives should act as customer advisors and help them move through the various stages of the purchasing process by facilitating the process and listening to and resolving any issues that arise. We are seeing a rise with leading startups like Substrata and Gong that have built behavioral intelligence platforms that assist dealmakers in making better choices in order to close more deals.
As a dealmaker, what you need to keep in mind, is that before approaching a prospective customer to sell products directly, it is important to first determine the prospect's need. Buyers are increasingly seeking greater independence. Before engaging with a vendor, most buyers complete half of the buying process, such as online research and information gathering, and most buyers even prefer a seller-free sales experience. This indicates that businesses should prioritize the customer experience while placing a greater emphasis on product-driven sales.
Buyers now have more opportunities to compare various options. According to a survey conducted by Gartner, buyers spend most of their purchasing time on independent learning both offline and online. As a result, the average customer has become unpredictable, leaving little room for each sales team to influence the buyer's decision as they search for a product or service via multiple channels.
Given this, there is a need for better customer service, particularly for information-related resources, so that buyers do not have to visit multiple platforms to compare and learn about the product or service into which they will be investing their money and time. In this case, sales and marketing teams should have firsthand knowledge of what the buyer is looking for, their needs and concerns, and the best way to contact them.
The best way for improving customer experience is to reach out to them through multiple channels. Being present at multiple digital touchpoints at the same time will improve customer experience because the sales team will be able to address customers' concerns more quickly. According to many recent studies, approximately 90% of buyers consider immediate responses to their questions to be a deciding factor when making a purchase. This means that omnichannel outreach is a critical component of sales growth. Because buyers have more opportunities to evaluate different options, the next most important trend in the B2B sales process is personalization.
AI & Personalization
Personalization is one of the most important trends in the entire buying process. Because millennials are actively involved in B2B buying, it is critical for sales reps to personalize the process. By collecting and analyzing large amounts of customer data, AI can assist sales teams in identifying actionable insights to deliver hyper-personalized sales pitches.
The sales team can use its algorithms to determine a variety of factors such as customer buying behavior, purchase history, and other specific expressions in order to match their sales to the right people at the right time. Furthermore, the sales team can access information about the problems that their customers are experiencing and can find solutions based on the customer journey and interaction data. Such systems assist sales teams in personalizing their demos for both current and prospective customers.
AI adoption in sales will ultimately boost sales productivity and profitability because it can automate and augment much of the sales process. This frees up salespeople's time for higher-value tasks. Automation can help with non-sale activities such as data entries, managing calendars, or scheduling meetings.
A sales automation system is a must-have as it makes the process of creating sales demos simple, useful, efficient, personalized, and reliable. Additionally, it ensures that sales representatives focus their time on the more important tasks such as sales engagement, lead generation, and closing deals.
The B2B sales process is evolving and expanding at a rapid pace, and companies that fail to keep up with these trends could face major hurdles to growing their business in the coming years. Partnering with a software company that offers access to sales automation strategies and other technologically advanced sales solutions could prove to be a game-changing decision for any company in the long run.