The COVID-19 era has left most of us feeling numb as we go through the frustrations, fears, and pain we’ve suffered. The word ‘coronavirus’ has changed everything, and phrases like ‘unprecedented times’ have been so frequently used that they have become almost meaningless dribble.
Evers since the stay-at-home protocols were issued last year, prognosticators in the world of business have been making predictions about the ‘new norm’ we will all have to adapt to during and post-pandemic.
Since coronavirus raised its ugly crown, reliable researchers such as McKinsey and expert sales professionals such as SalesHive have revealed some dramatic changes in the B2B world. For example, up to 80 percent of B2B buyers now prefer remote human interactions or digital services. Furthermore, over 70 percent of these buyers are willing to spend US$50000 through online commerce or the said digital services, with remote contacts with salespeople.
Given this, traditional in-person sales and face-to-face interactions in this area have dropped massively by over 50 percent. It’s correct to say that the pandemic has put many B2B businesses between a rock and a hard place. The coronavirus-related economic strain has forced B2B leaders to find new ways to push sales and stimulate growth while at the same time downsizing resources.
Here are five key ways to yield opportunity during this disruption to ensure that you set up your B2B sales for better customer journey experience:
- Understand the Post-Pandemic Consumer Behavior
It’s quite understandable that most B2B businesses are putting their best foot forward to stay afloat in these atrocious times. Most firms are adapting to new approaches to find their way through these uncharted waters. However, marketing to B2B consumers will no longer be limited to the way you stir the boat. Instead, you will need to have a better understanding of consumers’ behavior post-pandemic to stay ahead of the game.
As mentioned prior, most consumers are already switching priorities – for instance, preferring virtual transactions more than face-to-face interactions. As a business, you need to ask yourself several questions in the bid to understand your consumers more during and post-coronavirus crisis: what are my customers’ pain points now compared to pre-pandemic? How has my business engagement with my customers changed since the pandemic? Which customers have my business lost and why?
Finding answers to these questions will help you understand your customers better, which can accordingly allow you to align both sales and marketing strategies. By tapping into your consumers’ behavior today, you can gain actionable insight, develop a profitable sales strategy while adapting to the new hybrid consumer culture.
- Scale Your Outbound Sales
Most businesses have concentrated their efforts on inbound sales, overlooking the power of outbound sales. If your B2B business has had a major share in inbound leads pre-and during the pandemic, it’s time to shift your attention to outbound sales now, from now on. Times are changing, and therefore, a more proactive strategy towards sales is becoming highly beneficial.
For instance, during this pandemic, professional cold calling is one of the fastest ways to obtain direct prospect feedback to optimize B2B pitches and market strategies. In addition, during this pandemic era where remote business operation is key, cold callers prove to be effective in consistently booking meetings for B2B clients from just cold calling.
Aside from cold calling, B2B firms are also leveraging the power of building a strong email subscriber base to boost outbound leads. This is enabling such firms to share exclusive content and weekly newsletters to prospects with just email lists. In the same vein, it is vital to leverage LinkedIn, which is indisputably one of the most efficient platforms for B2B lead generation.
- Empower Your Sales Team
As suggested previously, approaches such as cold calling can massively empower your sales teams. This implies that while investing in more sales tools might not be the greatest of ideas right now, the right tools can make a world of difference to your ROI.
The world of technology is advancing at an extraordinary pace despite the pandemic. In fact, it is suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating this pace. As a result, various sales tools are emerging that can help your sales team optimize sales processes and enhance effectiveness tremendously.
For instance, advancements in machine learning, big data, and analytics are helping B2B sales professionals get useful insights into what consumers want or what might be missing in the current sales tactics, ultimately helping them improve.
Account-based marketing software is also advancing, which is helping B2Bs build scalable and hyper-targeted account-based marketing campaigns that both marketing and sales teams can use. Investment in CRM tools is also proving to be effective in gathering customer data and using it for personalization and segmentation.
- Use Teamwork as a Strategic Tool
‘There is no I in a team.’ This age-old maxim is proving to be less of a cliché and more strategic challenge during the pandemic than ever before. Team success is on the rise, while individual sales prowess is dwindling. Forward-looking B2Bs are those embracing the power of teamwork, which is forcing firms to abandon traditional sales team hierarchies.
The focus is now to get different departments working together, including marketing and sales teams. If teams aren’t fully in sync understanding what’s going on at every corner of the organization, you’re in for a massive mess of miscommunication, misplaced blames, and bogus metrics.
Integrating various key team players is therefore vital to the future-forward movement of teamwork in the firm. The lines between field sales and inside sales are also becoming blurred, especially in regards to the shift from physical to virtual meetings.
- Build Strong B2B relationships
Lastly, it is time to go above and beyond for your existing clients. Although attracting new customers will always be fundamental to most businesses, building stronger relationships with existing customers during the pandemic might be equally important, if not more.
Start with understanding the changes in consumer loyalty since the pandemic and then find methods of stemming attrition. Building recognition and trust with your existing clients will prove to be critical in your survival post-pandemic.