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Digital Challenges Force Businesses To Adapt Their B2B Buying Processes


Entrepreneur, 30 years of experience, getting results by using technology in the marketing & sales process, CEO of CRM excellence and Fueld.

The digital world changes rapidly. Since the pandemic, there has been tremendous growth in the online customer landscape. This affected digital sales strategies for both consumers and business markets.

B2B buyers remain satisfied with digital possibilities and transactions with suppliers, and organizations keep enhancing their IT infrastructure to create successful outcomes for the new sales and marketing approaches. These developments entail a few 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 team.

Why Your Digital-Go-To-Market Has To Blossom In 2022

Essential to the buying process is trust. This is why sales is accustomed to face-to-face interactions with buyers. Due to the pandemic, which pushed for further digitalization, there is a shift toward online communication. B2B purchases mainly take place without human intervention. The increase in rep-free buying processes is going to affect the way we organize our commercial processes and shape our customer profiles. But how did these changes emerge?

The buying process on a smartphone differs significantly from the use of a desktop and is highly trending. Look, for example, at the following numbers:

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• There are currently 6.6 billion smartphone users worldwide.

• Consumers use mobile apps about 4.8 hours a day.

• Mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide.

Businesses must consider strategies to optimize the buying process for different devices to meet these changes. This is especially important considering the increase in mobile use and mobile technology. Organizations should think about how mobile and mobile apps contribute to the buying process and customer journey as a result.

2. Innovations On Social

Customer relationship development continues to increase on social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, organizations have 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 forecasted to grow to 17.8%.

New tools are also developed to increase customer engagement and digital sales strategies. Instagram developed and released shoppable posts—posts including items that can be bought directly on the platform. The use of new LinkedIn functionalities, such as company page and product page, remarkably increased in 2021, and Facebook continues to innovate its digital possibilities, despite negative publicity during the last few months. These trends develop toward a user-friendly transaction possibility for 2022.

3. Millennials Prefer Rep-Free Sales

Millennials will take over decision-making positions within companies in the upcoming years. This generation highly prefers to seek knowledge online, without interaction with the sales team. In fact, 44% of millennial B2B buyers prefer no sales rep interaction. At most, 17% of the total buying process occurs in direct contact with a salesperson, according to Gartner. Organizations should rearrange their sales department to support virtual buying processes and fine-tune the sales process to meet the preferences of the new generation of decision-makers.

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Adjust With The Use Of Technology

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

Processes

To meet the preferences of millennials, organizations must focus on hyper-automation in which digital channels are connected to data-driven systems that support internal processes. Because online and offline customer contacts merge, you have to link all data surrounding customer view and contact points. Because of social selling methods, personal contacts are, in most buying process cases, no longer leading.

Martech: Data And tools

I detect an increase in technological innovations that are used to reinforce marketing goals and provide sales with qualitative leads. I believe tools, data and analytics will transform within the next five years into an advanced AI for sales to improve the online buying experience and build a trusting relationship with the customer. Without the right tools and data, it will be difficult to realize fitting digital customer experiences. The customer and their behavior is a central theme in the two challenges that remain:

• Using the means of contemporary martech to build the digital sales experience.

• Collecting relevant customer data to support the buying process.

Artificial intelligence and customer engagement data are used to build useful customer profiles. This is a distinctive ability for organizations compared to their competitors without these qualitative data. Examples are:

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• IP tracking.

• Virtual CTAs.

• CRM-driven marketing automation.

The CRM domain is a central platform to support data-driven sales techniques. That is why it is so important to decrease boundaries between marketing and sales processes—to be able to concentrate on one customer profile used for commercial activities. Several CRM and marketing tools, such as HubSpot and Salesforce, have already embedded this strategy within their system.

In the future, digital interactions are going to be collected and filtered through one digital platform to keep customer data organized. This data covers all customer contact points with your business—customer service, technical support, product interactions, sales and marketing—to broaden your knowledge of contemporary customers.

New skills essential for this sales approach include:

• Digital knowledge to use martech tools within sales strategies.

• Analytical abilities to extract the right conclusions from available data.

Digital Approach For Sales And Marketing In 2022

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


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