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The digitalisation of the sales process (and what you can do about it)
Covid-19 simply accelerated the inevitable. Your changing buyer behaviour means you must refresh and modernise the sales process to align with the shifting demands and expectations of a very complex customer base.
How can you begin to digitalise your sales process? Some thoughts here to get you started.
The big thing we try and talk about often in Plan.Grow.Do.and our methodology and approach to sales is the modernisation of the sales process, is the joining up of buying and selling and more so the digitalisation of the sales process and how that fits into a salespersons toolkit and approach to what they do.
But instead of us, just keep saying that and repeatedly trying to get that across, we wanted to share with you some research that we’ve been doing to hopefully back up the point and give you a few ideas about what you can start doing differently to approach sales, the modernisation of sales and the online-offline journey
to make sure that you are aligned with your buyer perhaps earlier than what you usually are.
We can see here some stats and perceptions around social media for B2B sales and you can see that over on our website in the latest news section. Some more modern research here suggests that 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur on digital channels by 2025. Now, that’s not that long away if you’re not catching up or at least getting a groundwork in place for what that looks like in terms of communication in a digital sense.
How far behind will you be in 2 or 3 years time?
44% of millennial B2B customers will prefer not to interact with a sales rep at all.
How do you see that playing out in your work?
How are you, therefore, going to remain relevant?
How are you going to become that Leading voice and expert in your field that is the go-to person and is that point of contact and support, earlier on in the buying journey?
Because 89% of LinkedIn members drive business decisions.
What does that mean?
Well, they are decision makers.
They have the authority to work with you.
And if you’re not playing in that space, more often, more deliberately and more strategically, what are you missing out on?
If all you’re doing is shouting on LinkedIn, if you use it all, buy my stuff or sharing without context corporate posts, what are you missing out on?
Because if 90% of LinkedIn members are decision makers and 44% of B2B millennial buyers/customers don’t want to interact with you but your behavior is that is just of a sales rep or a sales person (on social media), there’s gaps starting to emerge.
Already we can see a quarter of the workforce is made up of Gen Z and we talk a lot about the attitudes of different cultures, different generations working together for the first time ever.
We’ve got 4 generations working potentially in one workplace, from Baby Boomers through to Gen’s Z and a quarter of those now are Gen Z’s. So if you’re not enabling as a Baby Boomer, perhaps or as a Generation X or if you’re not enabling the Millennials and the Gen Z’s to communicate how they want and if you’re not enabling those conversations in that digitallisation, which is where these people are hanging out then you’re not only risking upsetting the staff, who can’t do their jobs how they want to, you’re also missing out on huge opportunities because you’re not where your customers are.
And also, 90% of buyers say online content has a major impact on purchasing decisions.
Now, this might be where some of you go that’s ‘marketing’s’ job. But we have to start getting beyond that if we are to remain relevant to our buyers, relevant to our customers.
We have to move earlier on in their buying journey, and therefore, become more active in the sales process earlier on. That has to play out in the form of content.
- What do we stand for?
- How do we position as an expert?
- How do we help and support a defined group of people?
Modern Sales Leadership is required for better digitalisation.
Our book, Modern Sales Leadership, introduces more to the topic of sales culture and how organisations can become more customer focussed by developing a well-rounded sales culture. The book is a “must-read for all sales professionals” and is available on Amazon now and from our mini-site; Modern Sales Leadership.
Opportunities in a digital space.
There are opportunities, undoubtedly in this space to incorporate digital into what it is, you do. If you’re more of a traditional business, great, don’t ditch the tradition that works, but you have to become open to opportunity and open to evolving changes in not only how customers and buyers want and expect you to show up, but, how your workforce wants their company and employer to enable them to be able to communicate this way.
It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen.
So how you position yourself now is really, really important.
So what can a B2B business do to enable the digitalisation of the sales process?
But where does it all start?
You’ve got to first off adjust, adjust your perceptions, adjust your approach, adjust your mindset, adjust the lens, adjust the culture that you’re creating for the joined-up workforce that you have.
Adjust so you can personalise and create more human digital connections.
Be personal online, don’t just hide behind corporate banners. Adjust to it and be open to change and therefore adopt to new methods of communication.
You must adopt to new methods of marketing and sales working together and adopt to the requirement that you have to become more active earlier on in the buyers, buying Journey. Because it’s okay, ultimately to not know something, but once you’re aware of that, you have to ask yourself, how can we do this?
How can I become responsible for this?
Not “that won’t work in our industry” because it’s not going like that. The digitalisation is here and it’s only accelerating and as more and more Gen Z’s fill up the workplace, as more and more Millennials become influencers, and customers and buyers. It is incumbent on us to create that space, to allow that to happen, because we have to join up buying and selling, we have to become adept to it and we have to adapt therefore to the evolving landscape.
Social media is social media as of today.
Digital is as it is today, it is going to evolve and have to become adept at it, and adapt again to changing customer needs because we have to stay true to the fact that we have to sell how our buyer expects to buy and not how we are comfortable to sell and do what we’ve always done because that’s how it’s always done and will always be.
So some thoughts there around the digitalisation of your sales process and joining up buying and selling
and what you can start to do to hopefully not only to shift your focus but also enable others in your workforce to shift theirs and enable them to start talking directly to your best customers earlier on in the sales process.
Further links around the topic of the shifting buying journey and the challenges B2B sectors face in modernising their sales approach can be found on the blog here at Plan. Grow. Do.