COVID-19 has impacted the way we work. PWC reports that 77% of workers want to change their skills, especially the digital ones and that remote work is in demand (source). McKinsey, on the other hand, states that the pandemic accelerated changes that were already under way at a faster rate than anyone could have predicted (source). The Gartner CFO survey revealed that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift employees to remote work. As Entrepreneur.com noticed, it is Big Tech firms that are leading the way.
Some companies cannot transition into digital so fast as Facebook, Twitter and the rest did. Some of them rely on face-to-face communication and they lack relevant tools and knowledge to transfer to digital so swiftly. What’s more, they do business with companies for whom digital transformation is a shock, too. Although they try to adapt to the remote-first approach to work, the lack of human-to-human communication can slow down their business. Online meetings simply don't cut it for them.
Nevertheless, B2B firms need to act fast and embrace digital communication to stay in the business. That’s especially important when it comes to B2B sales and customer experience in commerce. Let’s see why.
Online B2B sales is now more important than ever
The current world situation created new opportunities. Specifically, it helped non-believers who were certain that they cannot sell through the Internet, reach for digital channels to save their businesses (see: Many brands are using e-commerce for the first time because of the pandemic). Let’s analyze three reasons why online B2B sales matters right now more than it did ever before.
- B2B buyer's preferences are changing because of lockdowns
When planning a sales strategy for any company, you need to account for the buyer, and ask yourself a series of questions:
- Who is the buyer?
- What do they need?
- Where can we find them?
- How to reach out to them?
- When do they buy our product?
Salespeople need to know the answers to those questions to succeed. Yet, due to the COVID-19 and digital transformation, B2B buyer’s preferences are changing (See the McKinsey report about B2B buyers.) They start to resemble the ones of B2C markets. People want to shop online. That’s one of the reasons why online B2B sales is extra important right now.
- Online B2B sales brings profit these times
What’s more, switching to B2B can make a business more profitable. The pandemic has affected business outcomes in a negative way. A lot of B2B companies lost MRR from not getting new customers, and in effect, their ARR dropped down last year.
Lockdowns weren't such a huge deal for consumer goods. They focused on digital channels, investing in DTC online stores and social media channels. Case studies from companies like Coca-Cola show that online sales can be as effective as face-to-face relationships.
Similarly, remote work opened possibilities for huge cost optimization that were difficult to notice when everyone worked in the office. It occurred to many that there’s no need for - to name just a few examples - leasing a fleet of cars, petrol cards or spending the whole working day on getting back and forth from a single business meeting. life and business can go on, while executed remotely. We can optimize.
- Online B2B sales means more actionable data
Digital tools have one powerful advantage over face-to-face meetings. You can track every interaction. Most things can be measured - and you get insights concerning customer’s behavior, engagement, or even attitude. You can compare data across devices, timespan, locations, etc. Using that knowledge, you can plan and execute a sales strategy. See our post about the value of data-driven sales.
Does face-to-face B2B sales still matter?
For a long time, it’s been hard to imagine B2B sales without face-to-face meetings. Forging business relationships couldn’t happen without seeing the person and negotiating with them. Then, 2020 forced us to work from home and people needed to adjust to the new reality without business trips.
What happened? People adjusted. They found tools to work together. It was Zoom that was the most talked about app of the year. Video conferencing was all the rage for sales meetings. It’s certainly better than a phone call in connecting people and creating bonds between them.
Face-to-face is still valid, but it’s not the only way to conduct business. Digital tools also are a great way to sell products and services, even the ones that are complicated to understand (See: How to sell super complex products online?).
How to start selling online fast?
Online sales are the new reality for B2B firms. They’re certainly not a fad. Nevertheless, it will pay off to move your business online as fast as you can. How can you do that fast?
A lot of articles advise you to transfer everything that you do at your company to the cloud. Yet, it’s not realistic for you to do that fast. First, you would need to analyze the pros and cons of each tool, pick the most efficient one and create workflow around it. You would need to teach your employees new tools, plan new routines, etc. It would slow you down and cost you money. There’s a smarter way of handling digital transformation.
What do we recommend to do instead? In order to digitize your company, pick one tool and start with it. You can slowly add new tools. A single tool is not going to overwhelm you. We would recommend our tool: Meetsales. Why?
Meetsales is a great transition tool
Most companies can’t afford to lose time and money right now. They need a reliable app that helps their salespeople get back on the right track. This is where Meetsales comes in. It gives your team the right toolkit to execute what they are good at - recognizing buyer’s needs and catering to those needs.
How does it work? You can start a video chat with anyone you want, present your products live and make them buy without switching between tabs. Afterwards, you can generate reports, get data-driven insights and learn what works and what doesn’t.
Online B2B sales is growing in importance and it won’t stop
A lot of companies are going through digital transformation as an aftermath of COVID-19 and a growing preference for digitizing work. Yet, there are also other factors why moving business online matters for B2B companies - consumer preferences have changed, companies can profit and optimize their workflow thanks to digital, and they gather more data from online tools than they can do in offline communication. The fastest way of moving online is by implementing one tool. We recommend Meetsales and invite you to chat about it - schedule a demo!