Digital challenges are forcing companies to adapt their B2B purchasing processes

Entrepreneur, 30 years of experience, results achieved by using technology in the marketing and sales process, CEO of CRM excellence and fueled up

The digital world is changing at lightning speed. Since the pandemic, the online customer landscape has grown enormously. This impacted digital sales strategies for both consumer and business markets.

B2B buyers remain satisfied with digital capabilities and supplier transactions, and organizations continue to improve their IT infrastructure to drive successful outcomes for the new sales and marketing approaches. These developments pose some challenges for sales professionals, as you can read in part one of this series. In this piece, we’ll look at the important role data and tools play in supporting the sales force.

Why your digital go-to-market should thrive in 2022

Trust is essential in the buying process. This is why sales are used to interacting face-to-face with buyers. Due to the pandemic, which pushed for further digitization, there is a shift towards online communication. B2B purchases mainly take place without human intervention. The increase in rep-free procurement processes will affect the way we organize our business processes and shape our customer profiles. But how did these changes come about?

1. Mobile use

The buying process on a smartphone is significantly different from using a desktop and is very trending. For example, look at the following numbers:

• There are currently 6.6 billion smartphone users worldwide.

• Consumers use mobile apps approximately 4.8 hours one day.

• Mobile accounts for approx half of web traffic worldwide.

Companies should consider strategies to optimize the sale process for different devices to meet these changes. This is especially important given the proliferation of mobile applications and mobile technology. Organizations need to consider how mobile and mobile apps thus contribute to the buying process and customer journey.

2. Social innovations

The development of customer relationships continues to increase on social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. That is why organizations need to focus more on the benefits of social media. in 2021, 14.9% of marketing budgets were spent on social media strategies and that percentage is expected to grow to 17.8%.

New tools are also being developed to increase customer engagement and digital sales strategies. Instagram has developed and released shoppable posts, including items that can be purchased directly on the platform. Use of new LinkedIn features, such as company page and product page, increased remarkably in 2021 and Facebook continues to innovate in its digital capabilities, despite negative publicity in recent months. These trends are moving towards a user-friendly transaction opportunity by 2022.

3. Millennials Prefer Sales Without Reps

Millennials will take over decision-making positions within companies in the coming years. This generation prefers to search for knowledge online, without interacting with the sales team. In reality, 44% of millennial B2B buyers prefer not to interact with the seller. at most, 17% of the total buying process occurs in direct contact with a seller, according to Gartner. Organizations need to rearrange their sales force to support virtual buying processes and tailor the sales process to the preferences of the next generation of decision makers.

Adapting using technology

These changes in the B2B approach mean that organizations must adapt their sales strategies to meet the expectations of digital buying processes and to build prospects’ trust. With all this available data, marketing tools, data and AI become an essential part of the sales process to support the customer journey and hyper-automate buying processes. These changes are based on the following aspects:

Processes

To meet the preferences of millennials, organizations must focus on hyper-automation, connecting digital channels to data-driven systems that support internal processes. Because online and offline customer contacts flow together, you have to link all data related to customer image and contact points. Due to social selling methods, personal contacts are no longer leading in most cases of purchasing processes.

Martech: data and tools

I detect an increase in technological innovations that are used to enhance marketing goals and sales to provide quality leads. I believe that tools, data and analyzes will transform within the next five years in an advanced AI for sale to improve the online buying experience and build trust to the client. Without the right tools and data is difficult to achieve appropriate digital customer experiences. The customer and his behavior is central to the two remaining challenges:

• Leverage the resources of today’s martech to build the digital sales experience.

• Collect relevant customer data to support the buying process.

Artificial intelligence and customer engagement data are used to build actionable customer profiles. This is a differentiator for organizations compared to their competitors without this qualitative data. Examples are:

• IP tracking.

• Virtual CTAs.

• CRM-driven marketing automation.

The CRM domain is a central platform to support data-driven sales techniques. That’s why it’s so important to narrow the boundaries between marketing and sales processes – to be able to focus on one customer profile used for commercial activities. Several CRM and marketing tools, such as HubSpot and Salesforce, already have this strategy embedded in their systems.

In the future, digital interactions will be collected and filtered through one digital platform to keep customer data organized. This data includes all customer touch points with your company – customer service, technical support, product interactions, sales and marketing – to broaden your understanding of today’s customers.

New skills essential to this sales approach include:

• Digital knowledge to use martech tools within sales strategies.

• Analytical ability to draw appropriate conclusions from available data.

Digital approach to sales and marketing in 2022

To succeed in this new rep-free sales world, organizations must focus on data, martech solutions and AI, which can help the entire team support the customer journey. These are necessary changes as the pandemic has a long-lasting effect on collaboration and because millennials are here to stay.


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