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3 B2B Buyer Shifts for Remote Selling in a Post-Pandemic World

B2B Buyer Shifts for Post-Pandemic Sellers

Do you remember when the 2020 COVID lockdown first started? Offices shuttered their doors until a date “TBD”, employees bought (and expensed) home standing desks, and sales teams went into limbo, wondering how their buyers’ behavior would be affected by an absence of in-person meetings. Pressing questions crept into the minds of many B2B salespeople and sales leaders alike…

Would B2B decision makers have the confidence to make substantial financial investments, without ever meeting a member of the sales team in-person? Where would buyers congregate to do research, compare products, and make decisions? Could remote sales teams effectively recreate their buyers’ journey using all-digital touchpoints?

With a year of remote selling under everyone’s collective belt, McKinsey Research and Salesforce collected survey and revenue data from various global B2B selling organizations that help answer many of the pressing questions above and also tell us a lot about how B2B buyers are behaving in this new environment. In this blog, we’ve compiled the McKinsey and Salesforce research into 3 actionable insights that sales teams can use to inform their digital sales strategy in 2021 and beyond.

#1 – Meet B2B buyers online because they actually prefer it

Conventional wisdom says that B2B buyers respond well to a white-glove, high-touch buying experience. However, the data overwhelmingly suggests that interacting remotely is preferred by 70% to 80% of B2B customers. What gives? If we think of B2B buying like we do other forms of buying, it starts to make more sense.

Remote selling to B2B Buyers has shifted

Being able to “buy-at-your-own-pace” (ie. conduct research, consult peers, review product sheets, compare pricing info and even complete a purchase) has proven to be effective. Since the pandemic, over 70% of sales organizations in North America and Europe have found that remote selling models for reaching and serving customers are just as or more effective than traditional approaches.

#2 – Align around multiple channels (but don’t stop hitting the phones)

While post-pandemic buyers have generally broadened their information sources across a variety of channels, the data also reveals that phone calls are still the best way to get a buyers’ initial attention. In North America, high-performing reps relied on cold calls more than unsolicited emails, making 82% more cold calls than low performers and sending 26% fewer unsolicited emails. Unsurprisingly, video chat has also emerged as a top channel for connecting virtually.

However, these channels make up only 2 out of the 9 channels that the average customer turns to in order to browse products, seek out advice and reviews, and make purchases. Most of these channels aren’t managed by sales, which highlights why sales and marketing alignment is more critical than ever to high-growth companies in a remote sales environment.

#3 – Relationships still matter

Even in an ever-evolving selling environment, the rise of remote communication does not mean that the key pillars of sales success have eroded. Buyers still value trust highly, and 82% value it even more than they did a year ago.

B2B Buyer Shifts - Trust (Source: Salesforce)
Source: Salesforce State of the Connected Customer 2020

 

This is why it’s critical for sales leaders and revenue teams to invest in technology that empowers remote sellers to build meaningful, lasting connections that are based on an honest exchange of value. Groove is wrapping up the analysis of its own study to be released next week that highlights key trends in this area.

Are you undergoing digital transformation and wondering how best to build relationships and drive revenue at scale? Reach out to us, we’d love to help.

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