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7 Ways the Pandemic Transformed B2B Sales and How Businesses Can Adapt

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

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4 MIN. READ

By now, we are all familiar with the myriad of ways the pandemic has impacted our individual lives. Whether that impact means mask-wearing, vaccination, working remotely or helping our children with their online schooling, the pandemic has transformed our lives. Equally impactful is the way in which the pandemic has transformed B2B sales and how businesses can adapt. That impact can be summed up in one word – digital. Is your B2B company ready for this transformation?

Both B2B Decision-Makers and Their Customers Prefer Remote Sales

 

More than 90% of B2B decision-makers feel that the remote sales model is here to stay. In fact, three-fourths of those decision-makers are comfortable with the situation.

When asked, B2B salespeople also prefer electronic contact with their customers and like conducting the entire sales funnel online. Nearly half (46%) of salespeople research potential customers online, and 43% are okay with using the internet to contact their customers for ordering and re-ordering supplies.

Buyers are even more comfortable with the distance sales model, with 99% responding that they prefer it. Even more surprising, most of these buyers are okay spending $50,000 or more online.

However, there are some differences among industries. Technology industries have an 81-90% trust in this new model. Advanced industries range from a 60-70% trust level.

B2B Marketing Trends Specific to Manufacturing

B2B manufacturing companies face a unique set of problems. Salespeople can no longer visit factories, and they can’t bring samples directly to buyers. Luckily, video meetings work well for initial contact, but closing the sale is more involved.

Many companies turn to video marketing of their products in action. Of B2B salespeople polled, 89% felt that video marketing increased their ROI by a large margin. Videos can include other customer testimonials about the product, or your company can use its imagination to create other sales options such as field use.

Keep the videos short and on point. Manufacturers do not have time to watch long videos.

Additionally, don’t forget about your company’s content marketing so that manufacturers can find your website! Keep your content fresh with blog articles about topics that interest your clients.

Always check your company’s rankings through your SEO tools as well. You want to make sure that your company name is close to the top of the list when manufacturers are searching for your B2B sales products.

Prepare your Sales Process for the Change

Many salespeople are used to finding leads and closing sales the old-fashioned way. It’s time to get your sales team on board with a new normal.

Compare your customer’s pre-pandemic sales journey with the methods they use today. When and how do they interact with your sales force remotely? Compare your current practices with the buyers’ patterns. Any gaps reveal how your company can improve your customers’ sales journey.

Pay attention to retention too. It's always more cost-effective to maintain a good customer than it is to chase new ones. Your current manufacturing customer base provides your company with a regular income stream. Potential new customers may or may not increase your bottom line.

Re-tool your sales concepts. Coach your sales team to prepare them for video calls, phone calls and other remote sales tools. Even those salespeople who are used to closing sales with a visit can learn how to close with video chats. This step is especially important since 60% of B2B sales will be data-driven and include technology by 2025.

Learn to be Agile

Remember that, throughout the pandemic, buyers have grown used to instant-gratification shopping. In their personal lives, this concept includes Amazon shipping the latest gadgets immediately and GrubHub delivering prepared food with a quick tap on an app.

While your company doesn’t need to meet those standards, it does need to compete on a similar level. Your manufacturing buyers are used to point-and-click shopping and quick fulfillment. What is your company doing to accommodate those expectations?

Artificial intelligence (AI) used by social media and search engines will help you collect information about your current customers’ buying habits. This information allows you to predict what they are likely to need in the future.

Similarly, the information you gather on your current customers can be used to decide which potential customers to bring on board. This way, your company continues to meet expectations while growing during a pandemic.

Take Advantage of the New Normal in B2B Sales

If all of this technology sounds like it’s too much for your company, think of the cost of not investing in the latest upgrades. You know that:

• The vast majority of decision-makers and customers are comfortable with remote interactions.
• Video marketing is an effective closing tool.
• Website improvements keep your company front and center.
• You need to prepare your sales team to meet new customer journeys.
• Customer retention is more cost-effective than gathering new ones.
• Customers make data-driven decisions.
• Agility is key.
• AI will help you achieve your goals.

Given those eight data points, your company only needs to find new customers to add to your current list of successes.

IndustrySelect provides you with all of the contact information you need. Our database of more than 460,000 U.S. industrial businesses and one million executives allows you to easily access this information at your fingertips. IndustrySelect offers a fully functional demo database, loaded with a few hundred sample manufacturer profiles. Click here to start your free demo today.

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