How to adjust your B2B sales strategy for a remote audience.
It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has drastically changed the landscape for B2B sales, just how many of these changes will remain for the foreseeable future is yet to be seen. But, if there is one change that will remain after the recovery it’s remote working. With companies such as Facebook and Amazon allowing remote work, there will no doubt be others who will follow their lead.
With this workplace transition, it has also led to B2B buyers changing their buying behavior. Sales teams are going to have to recognize these changes and adjust their B2B sales strategy. Adopting a different approach to attracting and nurturing a predominantly remote audience. The disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic have underscored the crucial role of technology supporting remote working and sales enablement.
Impact of remote working on a B2B sales strategy
B2B sales teams, many now working remotely themselves are faced with an entirely new situation:
How should they be talking to their customers? Can they develop an approach that also helps a customer’s internal decision making? Should they be working internally, with colleagues across the business? Can they continue to support business development? What impact will there be on the B2B buying journey?
Add to this environment multiple new communication channels and more stakeholders to the sales process. It’s no wonder that businesses are struggling to generate and nurture sales leads.
Sales teams will need to work out how to communicate their product's true customer value. Recent changes in buyer behavior require businesses to be lazer focused on a buyers’ specific needs and preferences. Sales needs to reinvent how they sell, to reinforce the value to buyers of their products and services.
So - How can I adapt to this new buying journey?
We have put together five steps that you can tackle all in one go, or work on then step-by-step. All of these steps can be undertaken with little or no cost. But they will need you to invest sufficient time to get the returns from your B2B sales strategy.
Step 1. The new buying journey
The B2B buyer’s journey has today an increasing number of digital touch points, different stakeholders and multiple decision makers. It has made the B2B buying process far more complex and longer than it has ever been. So, to gain ground digitally it is important to adopt a mindset that is “customer focused and buyer-centric”.
For mature companies this could represent a major mind-shift to listen rather than always be in a "selling mode". It means also the tools you need to present your case are different. Without a face-to-face audience to engage with, sales will need to be able to visualize complex value selling calculations. Customers will look for a higher level of interactivity, inputting variables themselves and presenting alternative scenarios internally.
Step 2. Get to know your audience!
First, as a business you’ll need to rethink your approach to your ideal customer profile. The B2B buyer mindset has shifted in recent months and businesses are trying to adapt to these changes. According to McKinsey, customer-behavior research shows digital interactions with B2B customers is now two times more important than traditional channels. That is a more than a 30 percent jump since before the COVID-19 crisis hit.
The reality is that a B2B sales prospect will find you when they’re good and ready. It's important to be easy to work with, and present value selling in a format that a remote audience can interact with.
According to a SiriusDecisions Study on B2B Buyer Behaviour - "Up to 67 per cent of the buyer’s journey now occurs digitally, shortening the actual time for sales engagement."
The B2B buyer can be difficult to reach through traditional sales and marketing methods. Nowadays they prefers to self-educate using the Internet, use their network and work colleagues. Recent research from Demand Gen B2B Buyers Survey Report 2016 found that the main sources of information that buyers reference were taken primarily from their web search activities, vendor websites and insights from peers.
Step 3 - A new Buyer Persona
Sales teams need to understand a prospective customers motivations to buy along with their digital habits and behavior. Companies often believe they have a well-developed sense of what their customers want and why. But the market is now so radically different, they should now question everything. It will help create messaging and a value proposition to match their customers’ new needs.
As a business you should take a step back, draw up a buyer persona and then map it to your product's features and benefits. Each type of ideal customer has different wants and needs, with a relevant message that builds trust and credibility.
A buyer persona is your semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer.
The first step is to challenge your own personal view of the customer. It could be a little narrow if you rely just on your own feelings. Start researching your persona's profile by looking through your own contact database, customer forms and data fields. And don't forget to get feedback from colleagues and directly from customers.
Step 4. Refocus your brand to connect with and be relevant to buyers
Customers are likely to remember brands whose behavior has been particularly responsive to these tough new times. By creating a positive user experience and listening to customers you'll generate new leads and build loyalty.
Step 5. Rethinking value selling
Since customer behaviors and attitudes will continue to change, sales strategies should follow suit. That means essentially re-looking at a new digital approach to remote selling because previous assumptions and processes may no longer apply.
Companies need to re-think their business value proposition to meet the customers changing needs, re-assess which products and services can best deliver on that value proposition, and change how they communicate those values.
The important thing is to build what customers want, will use, and drives their satisfaction and repeat business. To understand what that is and how your product fits those needs, follow our five steps and start to plan how to incorporate digital selling.
Evaluate your buyer persona and their buying journey. Remember to keep an open mind on how and where you can interact with them digitally.
Assess how effective your digital approach is. Are you creating the user experience for example on your website that your customers prefer, do you know which digital touch points you can influence to get a greater share of mind?
Don’t forget that to get a digital commerce program running at full speed, that it needs to be impactful both in its calculations and visualization.
Sales can only increase their impact if you allocate time for strategy and planning. Be dynamic in your approach, test, experiment and assess all the time your actions. If you cannot measure it - you cannot grow it.
If you want to hear more about ValueVisualizer™ or to hear how we can help you re-invent how to work remotely with complex value calculations, don't hesitate to book a Free Consultation: email@example.com