Having worked in direct and channel sales for over 30 years, I have witnessed the evolution of technology in what was once a largely manual process. Today, B2B buyers and sellers are increasingly preferring digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.
A recent McKinsey survey found that more than three-quarters of B2B decision-makers now prefer these methods, even after the pandemic subsides.
The trend towards digital self-serve and remote engagement is not limited to small purchases either. The same McKinsey survey found that 70% of B2B decision-makers are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000. Sales teams need to be agile and cost-effective to adapt to this new reality.
To be successful in this digital environment, sales teams must embrace new tools such as video and live chat. According to McKinsey, video-related interactions have jumped by 69% since April 2020 and have become the most-used channel for communicating with suppliers across all stages of the decision journey. Live chat usage has also increased by 23% since April 2020 and is now the third most preferred channel for researching suppliers.
While the transition to digital self-serve and remote engagement can present challenges, sales professionals can play a vital role in supporting and educating buyers. By providing guidance and helping to build a roadmap for maximizing their investments, sales teams can help buyers overcome these challenges and thrive in a changing business landscape.
So, if you are a sales professional, it is time to adapt to the new reality of B2B sales by leveraging new tools such as video and live chat, optimizing your online presence, and using data and analytics to target customers. If you are a buyer, consider working with sales professionals who can help you navigate the new landscape and maximize your investments.
In conclusion, the future of B2B sales lies in embracing digital self-serve and remote human engagement. By taking action now, you can position yourself for success in this rapidly evolving business landscape. If you are a sales professional I would be very interested to hear about your experiences and how you have adopted automation to your sales cycle.