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Building Your B2B Business Through Omnichannel Selling

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, March 16, 2022




How many times have you been on an automatic answering system and had to repeatedly enter the same information? Worse, if you reach a live representative, you’re forced to give it all again. In this frustrating and infuriating situation, you may even be tempted to give up.

Buyers using an unintegrated multichannel process experience a similar waste of time and effort. Omnichannel selling addresses this severe obstacle to closed deals by giving you multiple ways to contact manufacturers in the U.S.

What is Omnichannel Selling?

Omnichannel selling means using more than one channel to communicate with your customers. But instead of requiring mindless repetition, the system integrates the multiple channels to offer a smooth experience. Customers can jump from one medium to another, keeping the data they’ve already entered intact.

For example, many customers may start with a simple text chat but bump up against a situation the channel can’t handle. Users can automatically switch to a video interaction to address the problem. This type of system allows them to continue the conversation without re-inputting information.

Evolution of Omnichannel Systems

Historically, B2B sales relied on personal interaction. Skillfully presenting your product and giving a firm handshake could seal your deal. Those days vanished as the pandemic came crashing through the business world. Sellers went digital to survive. But capturing sales and retaining customers required more.

As filling up the tank did in the gas-strapped 1970s, service moved from personal to self-serve. But self-serve can’t always provide the input customers require. Live reps must work seamlessly with e-commerce to deliver the experience your customers want. B2B sales teams need to work in concert with digital channels to offer the complete package.

B2B Omnichannel Selling and the Rule of Thirds

Consider channels customers use at different stages of the sourcing process, including:

• Face-to-face.
• Videoconferencing.
• Online chat.
• Online sales sites.

The "rule of thirds" arises from these different ways to contact manufacturers in the U.S. In the first third, customers choose from a mix of in-person forms such as meetings. The second third is remote communication, such as phone calls or video conversations. The last third is pure digital interaction, whether chatting with a robot or hitting the "buy" button.

While many companies may protest that their industry is different, statistics gathered by McKinsey support the rule-of-thirds distribution. According to the numbers, you’ll make two-thirds of your sales either remotely or online.

One result of the COVID-19 pandemic is that customers' loyalty to reps who knocked on their doors fell by the wayside. The good news is that more B2B customers than ever are willing to make large purchases remotely or online. Up from 27% in February 2021, 35% of these buyers will spend at least $500,000. An impressive 75% will spend $50,000 or more.

The bad news is that most customers McKinsey surveyed reported that they would start searching for a new supplier if their present vendor wasn’t making the grade. More than 80% insisted on a performance guarantee such as a full refund. They demanded immediate transparency for product availability and pricing. They also expected consistency across channels. Omnichannel selling can satisfy these demands.

The Channel Array

So, how do you implement omnichannel selling? You may have some or many of the channels already in place. These are common elements:

• Email. This channel is readily available. Engagement through this method has grown substantially since the start of the pandemic. IndustrySelect's premium subscription provides access to direct executive email. Learn more
• Short message service (SMS), such as texts. Customers open texts an astonishing 98% of the time.
• Websites.You can use these to provide information, increase customer awareness, connect to customer services and set up a marketplace.
• Social media.These include Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
• Online messaging tools. WhatsApp is a prominent example.
• Virtual events. These are helpful for generating leads.
• Video.This category covers many formats, including YouTube, live streams and webinars. It’s ideal for reaching large audiences. Marketing statistics show that 78% of people watch videos at least once per week. Even more vital, 54% of customers want to see more videos from businesses they support.

Building a System

Any channels you choose must be integrated to give customers the optimal experience. That involves developing a common platform where all the media can interact. One way to accomplish this is with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Streamlining your internal communication will also accelerate your customer service.

Whatever methods you employ to establish an omnichannel system, remember to keep the customer experience personal. Increased personalization yields better conversion rates and higher growth. Your platform can enable you to collect information to enhance the connections you need.

Powering Up Your Omnichannel System

Omnichannel selling relies on the right data. Whether you're looking to launch an email campaign, find prospects on social, meet clients in person, or contact them directly by phone, IndustrySelect' comprehensive industrial business profiles provide all the data you need to fuel your omnichannel process. Want to see for yourself? Set up your no obligation demo loaded with 600 free company profiles.

Want to keep up with the latest sales and marketing trends and exclusive industrial statistics from MNI? The free weekly IndustrySelect Insider email is the industry's top source for sales, marketing and industrial news you can't find anywhere else. Subscribe here.

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