The past two years have been a roller coaster ride, no doubt– moving from lockdown to lockdown, quarantining, and working from home, there has been a dynamic shift in the work environment we once knew.
The world has changed dramatically.
But this shift has its own benefit as well– no more waiting in long traffic while commuting to the office, more time to spend with family and friends, and most importantly, the luxury of doing all your work from the comfort of your couch.
As the saying goes, 'With great power comes great responsibility; with this dynamic paradigm shift comes a change in sales and marketing strategies.
But slowly and gradually, we are going back to our precious life routine – more or less.
And with life adjusting to the post-pandemic world, businesses are starting to follow suit.
Now, marketing communications are more vital than ever. It must, however, pirouette to reflect the reality around us.
The past two years have been tumultuous for businesses. They'll need to investigate post-COVID-19 sales strategies and tactics as they recover from economic adversity. In addition to being in a post-pandemic world, the Russia-Ukraine war has brought new business challenges.
Sales executives that plan will be able to train their representatives on the benefits of technology and how hybrid work arrangements will influence their business prospects.
Above all, instead of hoping for a return to business trips and lavish meals, sales representatives should learn how to communicate the value of their products/services to get the desired outcomes.
There is no manual as we approach the "new normal," but you can try to align your goals with thorough strategies to kick your businesses into high gear. If you are ready to put in the effort and invest in yourself and your business, this post-pandemic environment is ripe with potential.
Even though we're not yet out of the woods, it is safe to say that many sellers and buyers, including B2B buyers, are emerging from the trenches.
You've probably heard enough about the current economic market, but what does this mean for your B2B business and its marketing strategies?
Before we delve into that, let's cover the basics.
What do B2B sales mean?
Business-to-business (B2B) sales are defined as a sales strategy in which one business sells products or services to other companies. It is in contrast to B2C sales, or business-to-consumer sales, in which a business sells products or services to customers.
B2B sales processes are complex, extensive, and require several employees to act in various positions throughout a prolonged sales cycle. B2B sales processes are frequently conducted over several weeks through several dialogues rather than a single purchase.
Apart from the significant difference in target customers, B2B sales processes differ from B2C sales in several areas.
B2B products are often more expensive for starters since their solutions are often larger and more complex. Because of the large transactions, complicated solutions, and various stakeholders, they also have a substantially lengthier sales cycle. Third, B2B sales processes require many touchpoints to finish agreements, which are rarely completed in a single transaction.
Because of the pricing points, B2B transactions sometimes necessitate the involvement of numerous decision-makers inside a company.
Companies may use transaction enrichment tools that offer thorough insights and data about possible deals to speed up the decision-making process and facilitate B2B transactions
As a result, B2B sales processes are more sophisticated than B2C sales processes. While B2C sales strategies frequently appeal to consumers' emotions, B2B sales strategies and tactics frequently appeal to buyers' reasons.
What is a B2B sales process?
A B2B sales process is a series of processes designed to assist salespeople in converting prospects into customers. It's a scalable, repeatable sales success training handbook.
Improving your B2B sales process instantly leads to more sales and revenue. Consider this: the better you become at presenting your product/service and engaging potential customers, the more deals you will close, improving your payments and bottom line.
However, while a B2B sales process should be repeatable for optimum performance, no two clients or sales processes will be the same.
Evaluate your B2B sales strategy and process with Convin’s Sales Strategy software.
How have B2B sales processes changed post the pandemic?
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered business-to-business purchasing practices, with more online than face-to-face interactions. B2B manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors have had to scramble to keep up with the smooth online purchasing experiences that their customers experience in the B2C world.
Here are a few ways that the B2B sales process has changed.
1. eCommerce is at the top of the sales funnel
Covid has disrupted the traditional B2B sales processes. This implies that in the new post-pandemic era, a clumsy static website with an unending array of items is a swift race to the bottom.
However, simply having an eCommerce presence is insufficient. The customer experience must be at the center of the whole online experience, with self-service at the forefront. If you already have an eCommerce channel, it should provide your customers with a seamless and straightforward buying experience and must be connected with all of your sales channels.
2. Customers want a seamless digital experience
According to a McKinsey research, organizations that deliver an exceptional digital experience are twice as likely to be picked as the principal supplier. It entails providing clients with an intuitive digital experience through a sleek eCommerce solution. Not only on your website but also on any other digital platforms you employ (such as apps).
With a world-class consumer online experience that is intuitive, responsive, and simple to use, you can boost customer happiness, retention, and sales in the long run.
3. Customers are making large purchases online
The ease with which B2B buyers make major new purchases and reorder online is the most visible indicator that digital sales have matured. Previously, it was widely assumed that e-commerce was mainly employed for small-ticket products and fast-moving parts.
But not any longer.
According to research by McKinsey, 70% of B2B decision-makers claim they are willing to spend more than $50,000 on new, wholly self-service or remote purchases, and 27% would pay more than $500,000.
4. Customers are looking for online sales experts
Online B2B consumers demand the same knowledge from face-to-face sales professionals, but they must also move this expertise online. According to a research report, live chat is the most effective method for researching vendors. If your knowledge has not been moved to live chat, you lose potential revenue.
Even though the digital experience is everything, it will never completely replace the personal touch. So in your B2B sales plan, make sure your clients can still have one-on-one interactions with your sales team.
5. Revising your GTM model for the post-Covid world
Your customers and their expectations have evolved, so make sure you re-evaluate your go-to-market (GTM) strategy, including your marketing and B2B sales strategies and tactics. With multichannel selling and eCommerce increasingly playing a significant role in business-to-business sales, you must include these developments in planning and assessment.
If you want to stay in business in the future, you must evolve. There is no time to wait, postpone, or observe how things unfold. The moment has come to assess your B2B sales strategies and tactics and make any required modifications.
Top marketing considerations for B2B sales post Covid-19.
1. Using relevant messages to market
When everyone was compelled to work from home, smart brands changed their marketing strategy to appeal to everyone. Phrases like "we're all in this together" were frequently used to make marketing messages more relevant.
It is much simpler to build a connection if you can present your product or service in a way that helps the customer relate to it better. Also, don't be hesitant to inject some fun, and humour is an excellent icebreaker in uncertain times.
A discount or special offer can also be combined with a relevant message. "We realise circumstances are tough right now, so here is a 20% discount voucher for your next purchase,". This will assist in attracting more customers.
2. Make it mobile-friendly
During lockdowns, everyone went online, from consumers searching for entertainment to corporate executives managing email and work. Although mobile use was already prevalent, the convenience took over everyone who was trapped indoors and compelled to work from home.
So, it would be best if you optimized your B2B sales strategies and tactics and your offers and landing sites for mobile devices. Assume that everyone will be using a smaller screen. Make your patch to your conversion objectives as straightforward as feasible with a few steps.
3. Build trust in relationships
Relationships are the core of businesses, and Covid-19 stressed the importance of solid relationships because everyone was compelled to transition to a virtual and digital world.
Businesses that had a solid relationship with their customers before the pandemic did better throughout the transition because the relationship was already strong, resulting in continuous business despite the ups and downs.
Imagine that you'd never be able to meet potential B2B customers face to face in the future. How would business be conducted? What criteria would companies use to decide which deals to pursue?
Everything comes down to trust. Focus on developing good connections by being transparent, communicating well, and expressing that you care.
4. Improve your customer service
When the B2B industry moved online, it increased customer support inquiries. Everything was changing, from how customers placed orders to handling the delivery. Hence, customer service has never been more important than now in the B2B world.
While customer service can always make or break your business, there are other factors to consider these days. You may need to change your customer support hours to suit organizations transitioning to remote teams.
While phone and email assistance were once sufficient, you now need to include SMS support and live chat in your B2B sales strategy. Hiring more virtual support workers to eliminate wait times is another thing that more businesses are doing to provide better service.
5. Show empathy
The value of empathy has expanded in the post-pandemic world, and as a business, you must prioritize human emotion in your marketing strategies. Last year demonstrated that marketing during a pandemic is more about doing the right thing than being revenue orientated.
Last year, several companies went out of their way to assist individuals in need. For example, Morrisons, a UK-based grocer, updated its brand goal to "feed the country" and teamed with Amazon to expand home deliveries. The adjustment was made to satisfy the demands of customers who may have been isolating or sheltering themselves.
Top B2B sales strategies for the post-pandemic world
Here are a few critical takeaways to remember when you adapt your B2B sales strategies to the New Normal:
1. Have a reliable, consistent sales process in place
Go back and re-evaluate your sales process. When things are going well, many B2B sales companies become complacent about going with the sales process flow or handling every customer conversation the same way. The post-COVID world is just too competitive to allow for such laziness. Every transaction is more important than ever, and complacency will only cause you to lose out. You cannot assume that every customer that contacts you is prepared to buy.
Create a consistent B2B sales process that takes into consideration each stage of your customer's journey, such as:
- Stage of initial interaction and discovery
- Initial phone conversation with a sales representative
- Product demonstration
- Conversations with stakeholders
- ROI computations
- Discussion with decision-makers
- Deal completion
Not every business or industry has the same sales process, but this is a good starting point. You may choose to modify the process to suit your business's needs. Of course, not every customer must go through the full sales process, and some consumers may require more time in one step than others.
However, if you can identify a few essential phrases and joint actions in the customer journey, you will be better prepared to lead your customers through each stage of the process, save time and effort, and make them ready to buy.
2. Revisit your "cold" sales prospects
Too many businesses underestimate the significance of "cold" sales leads. If you have sales prospects who hadn't gotten a follow-up call before the crisis began, now may be an excellent time to contact them. Even if the prospective buyer was not ready to buy or dealt with their concerns a few months ago, their circumstances might have changed. Some large corporations have not stopped spending but have shifted their expenditure into various sectors or with different vendors. Some organizations may have adjusted their procurement procedure to be more advantageous to your company.
Whatever the circumstances, it's a good idea to evaluate your list of long-term sales leads and follow up with the "cold" prospects, even if they didn't appear to be high-priority leads six months ago.
3. Be proactive in your customer outreach
You can't sit back and wait for leads and opportunities to fall in your lap. Put your head down and get to work. Create a B2B sales plan for customer outreach and lead creation using all available channels, including outbound lead generation (cold calls, email campaigns, direct mail) and inbound lead generation (search engine marketing, social media, PPC ads).
Also, become more proactive in soliciting referrals from existing clients. Request that everyone on your team discuss and create a list of potential customers or sales leads from their work and social networks. Now is the time to pull out all the stops and find where and how to contact your potential customers.
4. Adapt to a changing environment
The entire world is shifting dramatically from one day to the next, and it seems like the only constant changes. So, be ready for your prospects' requirements to move. All the businesses you're selling to are dealing with the same level of volatility and unpredictability. You may now be able to offer solutions that some businesses didn't earlier require. Other businesses may acquire your prospects. Your prospect's vendor may go out of business, necessitating the addition of a new vendor (you!) to the prospect's company.
Remember that all of your sales engagements must reflect this energy and resilience. How can you assist your customers' businesses in being more assertive, leaner, more efficient, less expensive, or less risky? What value can you add to their companies? Your B2B sales strategy needs to be dynamic and adapt to the changing environment.
Moving with the times,
B2B sales are strategies entering a new and exciting era.
Optimism prevails as immunization rates rise and sales teams discover new business opportunities.
It's time to change your B2B sales process to empower your sales reps and increase your business's revenue. There is much potential in this post-pandemic world.
Are you ready to make the most out of it.
Results first, payment later.