The pandemic has significantly transformed how B2B organisations operate. Many are now conducting much of their business through digital channels or in a hybrid fashion, with virtual events and meetings commonplace across industries
Customers are also showing an appetite for digital interactions. Recent research from McKinsey showed that the number of digital channels being used by customers has doubled since 2016, with over two-thirds now preferring remote human interactions and digital self-service.
This has led to content overload and subsequently much heightened competition for customer attention within these digital channels. Businesses must therefore work harder to ensure their messages are super crisp and targeted enough to cut through the noise.
The plethora of digital tools and data available can be equally overwhelming for employees. It has become increasingly difficult for sales teams to catch up with the new systems and tools that they need to do their jobs, not to mention all the new messages and products that they need to learn and sell.
So, what can businesses do to enable their teams to be more productive and effective in delivering desired business results in today’s highly competitive digital landscape?
Embracing a digital-first approach
The first step B2B organisations must take is to define how they would digitalise their sales process, leveraging data and technology. This goes beyond simply adding more solutions to their tech stack. Instead, businesses must assess their strategic priorities and analyse key operational requirements through a digital lens so they can reach the position to be able to take considered steps to meaningfully improve sales operations.
Establishing core business processes for the digital realm will empower sellers to more effectively engage new prospects and customers across all channels while ensuring consistency and compliance. Not only that centralised data processes will help improve speed and accuracy, solutions capable of capturing content engagement data will further enable sales professionals to continuously improve their delivery across the full buyer journey and customer lifecycle.
What makes leading businesses more competitive than their peers is the ability to enable sellers to understand the impact of specific content at each stage of the sales cycle across a large population of accounts, consistently at scale. According to recent research, 80% of buyers believe that a vendor’s content has a positive and significant impact on their final buying decision. In addition, 65% indicated that they were more likely to choose a vendor that demonstrated strong knowledge of the solution area and business landscape, while over half chose a vendor based on the availability of content tailored to each stage of the sales cycle.
This demonstrates how important it is to provide engaging content that specifically addresses buyer pain points and speaks to their specific situation. Giving sellers visibility into how their content resonates with buyers (or not) based on engagement data means each prospect interaction can be optimised. That’s how sellers can stand out in a crowded market.
Since a large amount of B2B interactions are now taking place on digital channels including social media, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to capitalise on the wealth of data generated from these digital interactions. For example, content consumption data, time spent, actions taken and how these data are mapped against firmographic/demographic data and stage of the sales cycle – all can be analysed to help inform effective selling. Indeed, with the help of AI-powered, data-driven sales enablement solutions, sellers can be supported by real-time content recommendations that will help them build and maintain trust with prospective buyers. As a result, B2B sales professionals will be enabled to take the necessary accountability to improve their productivity and effectiveness to drive greater deal conversion.
A personal touch
To ensure success, businesses must also look beyond technology. Focusing on personal development and fostering a continuous learning mindset is just as important for organisations seeking to deliver sustainable business performance. This can be achieved by providing teams with on-demand training and recommendations informed by real-time data insights for specific types of buyer interactions, coupling with dynamic practice for effective and timely coaching.
Enabling sellers with interactive lessons and playbooks based on real-life scenarios that are optimised through data analytics will help new sellers to get up to speed quicker so they can start adding value to customers and the business sooner. Taking things one step further, ongoing analysis and coaching tailored to individual seller’s performance will drive continuous improvement in specific skills. In-the-moment advice on what to do, say and show at different stages of the sales cycle will allow B2B sales professionals to deliver differentiated buying experiences – as well as ensuring that content is relevant and has a positive impact on prospects. By equipping their sellers with such individually tailored programmes and necessary tools, successful businesses forge their ability to continuously improve selling effectiveness, in order to navigate today’s complex digital selling world.
Ultimately, B2B businesses must address both people and process as part of a holistic digital strategy to ensure success in today’s digital selling environment. By implementing digital-first processes and fostering a culture of continuous development, businesses will give their sellers the tools to exceed expectations and contribute to business growth.
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