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The Future of B2B Sales: From a Buyer’s Perspective Part II

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Buyers are savvier than ever, and their expectations are higher than ever. When they shop for B2B products and services, they expect an intuitive, friction-free customer experience that they trust out of hand. Sales are constructed from the foundation upwards. Companies must develop a trustworthy and dependable relationship with their customers to ensure the partnership endures over the years.

 Buyers and sellers have grown accustomed to the traditional approach to conducting deals, reminiscent of simpler times before technology drastically altered established practices. As methods evolve, everyone must adapt accordingly to maintain efficient and successful business interactions with one another.

A Digital-First Model for B2B Buying

Buyers have a lot of access and will soon have even more accessibility because technology is continuously evolving. Technology is a huge factor in the way that deals are made. Going forward, most B2B sales interactions will only be made digitally, which is an adjustment for all parties involved because we have multiple generations working together these days, and the push-and-pull process of “tradition vs. technology” and what works and what doesn’t is an ongoing learning process for all.

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Researching is a crucial action that buyers are actively participating in more and more now…again, the ease and convenience of technology make the process a lot less stringent than in days past.

Buyers can see most of the information they want about a product or service, thanks to the Internet. It allows the potential buyer to access information without an official meeting.

Buyers will figure out why the product they need is important. Sellers are way more likely to tell a buyer what the product wants from the customer, not why the customer may need the product. Buyers expect more from companies and what they can gain from the product or service – detail, detail, and more detail. The nitty-gritty.

The goal is to have the seller completely help the buyer understand every aspect of the product. The buyer wants to see things, obtain the information they can’t uncover, and ultimately understand what makes the seller and its products and/or services unique from its competitors.

The Role of Hyperautomation in the Future of B2B Sales

One of the primary benefits of hyper-automation is its ability to streamline the sales process. By automating routine tasks, such as data entry and order processing, sales representatives can focus on more value-added activities, such as building customer relationships and closing deals.

 This shift towards a more consultative sales approach is expected to be a key driver of the future of B2B sales as businesses look to differentiate themselves from competitors by providing personalized and tailored solutions to their clients.

Accuracy and Data-Driven Insights

Another significant impact of hyper-automation on the future of B2B sales is the potential for increased accuracy and data-driven insights. By leveraging AI and ML algorithms to analyze customer data, businesses can better understand their client's needs and preferences, allowing them to tailor their sales pitches accordingly.

This data-driven approach is expected to become increasingly important for the future of B2B sales as businesses seek to differentiate themselves from competitors by providing personalized solutions that meet each client's unique needs.

Better Customer Experiences

Hyperautomation is also expected to improve customer experiences by reducing the time and effort required to complete sales transactions. By automating routine tasks, such as order processing and invoicing, businesses can provide faster and more efficient service to their customers.

This improved customer experience is expected to be a key driver of the future of B2B sales, as businesses look to build long-term relationships with their clients by providing exceptional service and support.

Scale and Grow

Finally, hyper-automation is expected to enable businesses to scale their sales operations more efficiently. By automating routine tasks and leveraging data-driven insights, businesses can quickly identify areas of opportunity and expand their sales efforts accordingly. This scalability is expected to be a critical factor in the future of B2B sales as businesses seek to capitalize on new opportunities and grow their client base.

Personal Relationships vs. Digital Experience

Buyers will start to see a change in how connections and bonds are made. People will rely on relationships they build with people – in this increasingly everything-digital age, human relationships without a bot standing in as a member of the human species means a lot more now than ever. Buyers are looking for personable companies that are in tune and connected with social, cultural, and economic causes.

In B2B sales, building strong customer relationships has long been a key factor in driving success. However, with the rise of digital customer experiences, many businesses are beginning to wonder whether traditional sales rep relationships are still necessary in the future of B2B sales.

While there is no easy answer to this question, it is clear that both sales rep relationships and digital customer experiences will play an important role in the future of B2B sales.

A Delicate Balance Between Personal and Digital

On the one hand, sales rep relationships have traditionally been a critical component of B2B sales. By building strong customer relationships, sales reps can gain valuable insights into their needs and preferences, tailor their sales pitches accordingly, and ultimately close more deals. In addition, sales reps can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the sales process, helping customers navigate complex products and services.

On the other hand, digital customer experiences are becoming increasingly important in the future of B2B sales. With the rise of e-commerce and self-service platforms, customers can now research products and services, place orders, and track shipments online without ever interacting with a sales rep. In addition, many businesses are beginning to use AI-powered chatbots and other digital tools to provide personalized support and guidance to customers, reducing the need for traditional sales reps.

Where To Put the Emphasis

So, where does the future of B2B sales lie? The answer is likely somewhere in between. While digital customer experiences are certainly important, they cannot fully replace the value of sales rep relationships. Many businesses are beginning to use digital tools to enhance their sales reps' capabilities rather than replace them entirely. For example, sales reps can use customer data and analytics to understand their customers' needs and preferences better, enabling them to provide more personalized and targeted solutions.

At the same time, businesses must also invest in digital customer experiences to remain competitive for the future of B2B sales. This means providing a seamless online experience, offering self-service tools and resources, and leveraging AI-powered chatbots and other digital tools to provide personalized support and guidance.

Ultimately, the future of B2B sales will depend on finding the right balance between sales rep relationships and digital customer experiences. By leveraging both strengths, businesses can provide exceptional service and support to their customers, differentiate themselves from competitors, and drive growth in the years to come.

From Strict Channels to a “Hybrid” Approach

One of the emerging trends in the future of B2B sales is the "hybrid" model, which combines the best of both fields and inside sales and remote and digital tools. This model is gaining popularity due to the increasing need for flexibility and efficiency in sales.

The hybrid model of B2B sales involves a mix of in-person and virtual customer interactions. Sales teams use digital tools such as video conferencing, chatbots, and social media to engage with customers remotely. This approach enables sales reps to connect with customers from anywhere, anytime, without expensive travel or face-to-face meetings.

At the same time, the hybrid model also incorporates field sales, which involves in-person meetings and site visits. By combining field and inside sales, sales reps can build stronger relationships with customers and better understand their needs and preferences. This approach also enables sales reps to provide more personalized solutions and tailored customer support.

The Benefits of the Hybrid B2B Selling Model

The hybrid model of B2B sales is gaining traction because it offers several benefits. First, it enables sales teams to be more efficient and flexible. Sales reps can use digital tools to engage with customers and close deals more quickly without the need for extensive travel or in-person meetings. This approach also allows sales teams to work remotely, improving work-life balance and reducing the costs associated with maintaining a physical office.

Second, the hybrid model enables sales reps to provide a more personalized experience to their customers. By combining digital tools and in-person meetings, sales reps can build stronger relationships with customers and better understand their needs and preferences. This approach can differentiate a company from its competitors and drive customer loyalty.

Finally, the hybrid model of B2B sales can improve the overall customer experience. By using digital tools to provide fast and efficient support, sales reps can ensure that customers receive the help they need quickly and efficiently. This approach can lead to higher customer satisfaction and retention rates, which can positively impact a company's bottom line.

Other Trends to Watch for the Future of B2B Sales

Innovation: Embracing Digital Transformation and Emerging Technologies

The future of B2B sales will be increasingly digital, with new technologies playing a significant role in streamlining the purchasing process. Buyers can expect:

  • E-commerce platforms: B2B e-commerce platforms are becoming more sophisticated, offering seamless online experiences that cater to the unique needs of B2B buyers, such as bulk orders, customized pricing, and tiered discounts.
  • AI-driven tools: Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to enhance the B2B buying experience by providing personalized recommendations, automating routine tasks, and delivering valuable insights that help buyers make informed decisions.
  • Virtual and augmented reality: Buyers can leverage VR and AR technologies to virtually test and explore products and services before purchasing, reducing uncertainty and improving overall satisfaction.

Personalization: Demanding Tailored Solutions and Experiences

As B2B buyers increasingly expect personalized experiences, businesses must adapt to their needs and preferences. Key trends in personalization include:

  • Customized offerings: B2B buyers expect suppliers to provide tailored products and services that address their pain points and requirements rather than one-size-fits-all solutions.
  • Data-driven insights: Buyers will leverage data and analytics to identify suppliers that best align with their needs and preferences, allowing them to make more informed purchasing decisions.
  • Omnichannel engagement: Buyers will demand seamless, personalized experiences across all touchpoints, from initial research to post-purchase support, making it essential for suppliers to have a consistent and well-coordinated presence across various channels. This includes not just the digital experience but also remote and/or in-person human interactions.

Collaboration: Seeking Strategic Partnerships and Co-creation Opportunities

The future of B2B buying will emphasize collaboration between buyers, suppliers, and partners to create value-added solutions. To ensure success, businesses must focus on:

  • Strategic partnerships: B2B buyers will seek suppliers willing to form long-term, strategic partnerships to develop innovative solutions that address their evolving needs jointly.
  • Co-creation: Buyers will increasingly engage in co-creation initiatives, collaborating with suppliers to develop new products and services that better meet their needs and foster a sense of ownership and investment in the final solution.
  • Vendor consolidation: Buyers will look to consolidate their supplier base, preferring to work with a smaller number of trusted partners that can provide integrated, end-to-end solutions

As time progresses, the B2B sales world will continue to change and evolve when it comes to selling and buying. Companies need to keep up and adjust to the technological times that we live, work, operate, and play in today to be able to satisfy buyers’ wants and needs well.

Decisions will continue to be made differently from the ways of “old” because companies and customers are still adjusting to the newer world of selling – and thanks to the 2020 pandemic, the rate and speed of adjusting multiplied unexpectedly significantly. Buyers will ensure they are getting the best they can from the seller and the product, and the same should hold for the company, its products and services, and its valued relationships with its customers.

The impact of technology on B2B sales has led to a loss of 57% of traditional selling strategies. Update your strategies with this whitepaper and keep up with the future of sales.

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