Digital sales are the future, and they’re here to stay. B2B buyers now implement a divided mix of sales channels, including traditional interactions, digital self-serve, and digital human interactions. The split between them is close to one-third each.
This means around two-thirds of buyers in 2021 chose remote human interactions or digital self-service over traditional in-person sales interactions. This polarization will likely continue to skew towards digital models in the future, whether self-serve or human-led.
According to Gartner, B2B buyers spend only 17% of their sales journey with a rep. Further, 44% of Millennials would rather not interact with a sales rep in a B2B setting – and these are the people taking over decision-making positions, shaping the future of sales.
While traditional sales models have their place, companies that will close the most deals are the ones that harness the power of digital experiences.
Why the shift towards digital models? Here are 4 reasons.
First, the apparent reason. Covid accelerated everything digital, including remote work, video conferencing, online networking, and sales. People’s preferences have shifted permanently as the power of digital experiences became evident, and sales must follow suit.
Social selling is a recent trend where companies use social media and influencers to engage buyers.
The pandemic accelerated this trend by making in-person experiences risky and shutting down modern society as we knew it. Forced into their homes, people turned to online shopping and digital experiences to engage with brands.
The array of technology we rely on today is a relatively recent phenomenon that made digital anything possible. Technology will only become more prominent, and so will digital sales.
Millennials are taking over positions of power, accelerated by Covid when many older individuals retired. Millennials prefer sales experiences without sales professionals and with a digital-first approach, so that’s how they’ll build out the selling process.
Since digital sales experiences are the future, what can you do to optimize yours? Here are 5 suggestions.
Frictionless experiences are a must. Customers expect to be able to gather information across channels and have an accessible experience.
Here’s a starting point for offering seamless digital experiences:
- Use analytics to track and improve everything
- Have a mobile-friendly site
- Establish a customer journey across channels
- Tailor the sales experience to the individual prospect (send optimized information about your product at the right time, using analytics to do so)
- Choose a digital platform that enables all of this
Ultimately, the platform you choose to host digital sales experiences underpins everything. This platform should allow customers to gather information and contact sales reps. Any information you send – slide decks, contracts, pricing sheets, etc. – should be stored here for easy access.
Using one central hub prevents friction and saves sales reps time by allowing customers to answer their own questions. Looking for the perfect platform? Try Dealintent.
Sales and marketing reps must be trained to operate differently. They need to understand how the buying model has changed since the pandemic and what customers’ new preferences are.
For marketing, this means producing more digital assets and working with sales teams to understand customer journeys and what digital information should be sent. Have digital assets for everyone at every stage.
Sales reps, in particular, must understand that their role remains crucial, but their level of involvement will shift. It’s up to company and sales leaders to track data and use it to coach sales reps on engaging buyers in this new era. Tried and true practices may not work as well anymore.
We’ve already said it, but we’ll repeat it: analytics should underpin all digital sales decisions. A digital model means data can be collected at every point and later analyzed for insights.
The platform you choose to host digital sales experience should offer in-depth analytics on funnel trends, qualifying opportunities & leads, generating forecasts, and proactively engaging customers.
Using these analytics, sales teams can better engage customers with optimized digital assets.
The future of sales involves helping customers make sense of excess information rather than simply providing it.
The digital era means answers to almost any question are at our fingertips, and this can quickly overwhelm prospects, especially if you’re contributing to it.
Sales reps must help potential customers sift through information instead of just offering more, even if some information comes from competitors. The companies that will succeed are the ones that disseminate information for their leads.
As the sales field evolves towards digital and hybrid experiences, it’s up to sales leaders to hire and train their teams accordingly.
According to McKinsey, in 2021, 62% of companies increased their digital sales teams, and 60% of them increased hybrid sales teams. To succeed, your business will need to follow suit. Build out these teams and train them according to your data and the best practices you determine.
At a high level, training digital sales teams includes:
1. Understanding client pain points in the digital era
2. Offering consistent training throughout one’s career as digital experiences evolve
3. Reviewing sales wins and losses
4. Pairing new employees with experienced digital sales leaders
5. Combining pre-training modules with in-person experiences
Only your company can create its own digital sales future.
The success of your digital sales efforts depends on the platform you choose.
Dealintent enables frictionless online sales experiences by hosting information in one place, minimizing confusion and back-and-forth. Our platform offers in-depth analytics to help you understand what content drives the most sales and which leads are most likely to convert. Contact us today to learn more!