Everything you need to know about how Covid-19 impacted B2B markets, how global sales leaders responding to it, and how B2B selling models & B2B sales operations will look significantly different in the future than they were before the pandemic.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has spread at an alarming stage, infecting millions and bringing economic activity to a halt as countries imposed strict movement restrictions to halt the virus’s spread. The economic damage is already visible as the health and human toll rises, and it represents the world’s largest economic shock in decades. Its consequences have brought many changes in B2B market or selling models worldwide.
For sales, when it comes to deciding how to respond, sales leaders must put their customers first. The sales leader manages and adjusts with new customer habits and for making their customers permanent, sometimes they provide discounts on their goods and services.
Change in customer behavior is due to an amplification of digital trends that were started before the pandemic. It is believed that B2B market operations will look significantly different in the future than they were before the pandemic.
Interaction Between Seller and Buyer: A New Equilibrium
Research has been carried out by McKinsey & Company for B2B markets across 11 countries to better understand how both buyers and sellers are interacting with each other. Following are the three emerging trends that help in reaching a new equilibrium (Figure 1)
Spend: While most of the businesses are cutting down on spending, a significant number are increasing the same, with rates varying by company size, industry, and perhaps the most important i.e. location in the world.
Digital: Digital contacts are two to three times more significant to B2B market clients than traditional sales interactions.
Remote: Nearly 90% of sales have shifted to a videoconferencing (VC) /phone /web sales model, and more than half believe that it is more effective than pre COVID-19 sales models.
The sales leaders can only navigate their business by facing the current situation, planning for the future, and visualizing the future normal. They are already moving rapidly to overcome the crisis. The best of them are focusing on preparing for the recovery and how to implement the targeted changes that will help their companies weather the storm.
Importance of Digital Channel for B2B Market
The new digital channel will be with us for a long time. More than three-quarters of buyers and sellers said that they now prefer digital and self-guided services because of their ease of scheduling, fuel savings, and general safety. This pattern has continued to increase even after the lockdowns were lifted.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B market leaders around the world have switched from being forced to adopt digital to a growing belief that digital is the way to go. In fact, more than 80% of B2B buyers aim to avoid face-to-face encounters with customers in the future.
B2B buyers are demonstrating a comfort level with making major new purchases and reorder online that shows the rise of digital sales today. Today, e-commerce isn’t just for booking tickets or ordering clothing & accessories. Most of the B2B decision-makers say that they are open to making new purchases worth six figures or more digitally as the digital fear is gone from their minds.
Ways to Promote B2B Business Digitally:
To generate traffic, simply publishing the content about a product isn’t enough. To drive high-quality traffic and get the intended results, you must get it in front of the right audience at the right time and in the right place. Any content marketing plan must include content promotion. Here are some digital marketing channels for promoting your B2B businesses digitally in a way that generates more leads:
Online Advertising: Advanced targeting capabilities are available in Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook advertisements, allowing you to deliver content to a particular segment of the audience with the proper messaging to maximise engagement and click-through rate.
Email Marketing: Email marketing is a fantastic way to spread the word about your services or products. It targets more leads and moves them along the sales funnel. Sending the correct message to the right audience at the right time can help in getting the best results.
Social Media Marketing: B2B buyers are increasingly using social media to keep up with industry news and exploring new products. Sharing useful and relevant information on social media allows you to participate in the conversation and gain the trust of the target audience.
Implementing video and chat strategy: Set up your demonstrations and record each one with a member of your team presenting. Most engineers watch videos weekly for work, and listen to podcasts or attend webinars regularly (Figure 3).
B2B Business Moving to Remote Selling:
Since lockdowns, social distancing has forced individuals to stay at home. B2B sellers have reacted quickly as most of them work via videoconferencing or through phone (Figure 4).
The sudden and large shift to remote working caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has far-reaching implications for how businesses sell to and buy from one another. Salespeople are already working hard to adapt to the crisis induced by the pandemic.
Because of the rapid growth in the usage of digital and self-service channels, businesses must consider not just how to enable efficient digital interactions, but also how to strategically deploy their sales reps to the best effect.
Sales leaders need a clear understanding of what their consumers want and what measures their organization can take to meet those demands in an environment where habits and practices have evolved so swiftly and will likely continue to do so. Traditional face-to-face encounters have given way to videoconferences, webinars, phone calls, human chatbots, and other methods of sales and service support.
Switching from traditional counterparts to digital channels due to the ease, travel cost reductions, and general safety, COVID-19 has changed the thinking of B2B customers for the better.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the WorldRef.
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