Why Sales is Never Going Back to Pre-CoVid Times

sales-pre-covid

It is not an exaggeration to say that coronavirus has changed the way sales reps sell. The face-to-face meetings have become screen-to-screen, the group work has now become asynchronous and team managers look at digital data sheets and metrics to do their job. Buyers are not moved by sales copies anymore and networking sites have become conference halls.

And if you’re thinking that this all will go back to ‘normal’ once the miraculous vaccine is out, well, no it isn’t.

The pandemic has pulled the future of sales to 2020 when it was the most unexpected. Given the benefits of remote and digital selling, it is difficult to say if it will go back to pre-CoVid times. Let’s see why.

Both B2B customers and the sales team are already DIGITAL!

digital

We did see it coming, didn’t we? More than 70 percent of B2B buyers fully define their needs before engaging with a sales representative. They are independent researchers who consume content online and only require a sales rep to guide them through the process. They don’t fall for in-person preferential treatments like lunches and outings but are influenced through relevant opinions and content that your brand is using to engage with.

To adapt to the ‘new’ B2B buyer, the sales reps have also evolved in the way they prospect and interact with clients. They are now tech-savvy and flexible enough to accommodate changes in their pursuing methods. Today, even your average sales rep knows how to market and network on social media platforms, how to engage clients on digital platforms, and add value to the pitches they deliver. You will not find them running behind prospects for an appointment or waiting for a reply; instead, they will be found communicating with prospects effectively on phones, emails, or even chats.

The future is here and both consumers and inside sales teams have whole-heartedly accepted the ‘digital’ shift to businesses.  

Everything is about minutes, hours. NEVER DAYS!

time

The shift of prospecting and selling to the digital medium has made sales reps workaholics. The new mode of communication has made everything faster and the consumers are well aware of this fact. Hence, they associate value and interest with the time you take in responding to them. It should ideally be some minutes of a couple of hours, but never days – you’re going to lose the prospect.

Sales pros who try to reach leads in one hour are 7x more likely to have meaningful conversations (read: sales success). Delay in responding or even following up after registrations or sign-ups shows that you’re not very invested in dealing with the prospect.

The pandemic has clearly shown how important it is to accelerate the sales process. Speed is a crucial characteristic both for the modern seller and receiver.

The ‘new’ norm is to start the conversation on networking platforms, then transition to emails and text and finally close the deal. Buyers and sellers in B2B are now working at a pace that helps them to solve company problems faster and more efficiently through products and services. Sales cycles are not going to remain long for long!

Sales reps now add value beyond the basics

importance of sales rep

A significant development in the B2B industry has been the balance that the buyer has achieved in terms of the decision-making process. Earlier, most buyers had little or no clue of their immediate needs and would be influenced by the salesperson who made the best web of words. However, it is not the same today. So, the question arises, ‘what exactly is the role of the sales rep?’

Now, sales reps are required to add value to the thinking process of the buyer because they are exposed to a plethora of information and need the assistance of an experienced person to filter it for them.

65.2% of respondents said that they found value in discussing their situations with salespeople and only these reps will make it through the new selling phase. If your sales reps can correlate the prospect’s information and their business, they help them save a lot of time and effort. That is exactly what a buyer will look for in a rep, and if you can do that, you’re good to go.

Every action of Sales Reps is being Tracked and Instrumented

everything on track

Our traditional sales reps were like geeks who always used to stay in their own zone and work as they pleased. It was completely normal if they reported less, entered even lesser details on the CRM, were not really seen anywhere but working in offices, and swore to their Bible of secret tricks. There was no accurate way of knowing if they’d made personal visits or calls to prospects and what exactly was there standing with a particular client.

But 2020 has changed this practice. They can no longer hide away in their offices. With most communication shifting online, there is adequate information about which rep is working on which client, how many meetings they are taking, and for how long. It all comes in the form of a log; with the help of different tools and softwares. 360-degree tracking of sales reps is to analyze what is working for them and then reflecting on the results to help make the consumer experience better. If digital offers you this kind of screening, would you ever like to go back to the dark?

Consumers are now a lot MORE informed

well informed customers

By MORE, I mean a LOT, LOT MORE! The Internet is a gold-mine for information – B2B buyers can just Google the products/services and there will be a list of organizations offering them never-seen-before deals.

74% of business buyers told Forrester they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. Also, in B2B marketing techniques, content marketing is ruling the charts, hence it only makes sense if different firms have strategically communicated their vision as a part of their content marketing strategy.

With the sudden explosion of digital marketing during the pandemic, buyers can now research and have all the information they need at their fingertips. Plus, it is more trustworthy because they’re learning it themselves rather than from a biased sales rep.

It is not bold to assume that a buyer today will know more or as much as a sales rep does about the market and all the companies that offer similar features at competitive prices. Reps have to be even more careful about what they say because it’s not just ‘I can offer you the best deal’ and ‘Our products are the most superior’ now!

RELATED POST: B2B Sales after COVID-19: What changes and what doesn’t?

The new world of (Digital) Selling is here!

digital selling

Someone has to say it, so let’s hear it: there’s no turning back from here. TO all the salespeople who are still hoping that sales will go back to pre-Covid, here’s an eye-opener for you: It Won’t. So, it’s only wise that you start preparing for this “new” normal. If you need help in reengineering your sales efforts to this “digital” world, you can also seek expert advice from B2B marketing and sales consulting firms. They will not only help you gain an extra edge in the market but also ensure that you are pre-prepared for all that there is to come.

Let’s admit it: If not anything else, the pandemic has surely taught B2B buyers and sellers that virtual selling and transaction is easier and cheaper than the conventional methods. In fact, stats suggest that 67% of the buyer’s journey is also done digitally. So, why are we still expecting the world to go back to in-office meetings?

Are you prepared for this “New” world? If not,
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and we will take it up from there!