Before COVID-19 turned life upside down, the world was already undergoing a significant digital transformation. Technology was beginning to supplement more and more of the jobs previously done by humans alone. In some situations, automation replaced manpower, but in many cases, it has served to augment manual processes and complete everyday tasks with greater efficiency and accuracy.
The world of sales has felt a more significant impact than some other industries because it has always heavily relied on face-to-face transactions. Now, almost everything is virtual and unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic â€œnormalâ€ even when we eradicate COVID-19 from our daily lives. Recent McKinsey researchOpens a new window shows the new future of B2B sales:
- More than 70% of buyers prefer a platform where they can engage virtually with sales representatives and have all the information digitally available
- 75% of decision-makers believe as much, or more, in the efficacy of virtual selling as they did before COVID-19.
How can organizations continue to sell effectively in today’s hybrid world? With an ongoing pandemic and many temporary behaviors becoming permanent, it is time to shift the focus to virtual selling and digital sales rooms, which will be the basis of the modern buyer-seller dynamic.
Digital Sales Rooms
It is important to understand what a digital sales room entails. Digital sales rooms are the modern-day approach to the buyer-seller relationship. In a digital sales room, the seller becomes a concierge while the buyer navigates a secure experience, where everything is personalized, centralized, and easily accessible.
Buyers are â€œwelcomed at the doorâ€ with a personal greeting, then navigate through a tailored presentation, while sales representatives â€œwork the roomâ€ asynchronously to answer questions and deliver a clear and consistent message. Digital sales rooms offer an efficient selling experience with a human touch without the extra hassle of a face-to-face sales presentation.
Mastering Virtual Selling
Even though the way B2B selling happens has changed â€” potentially for good â€” the basic concepts of selling still apply. Successful virtual sellingOpens a new window still relies on aligning the needs and priorities of the seller with the needs and priorities of the buyer. The most successful digital sales rooms are based on excellent virtual selling skills, which start with mastering the art of selling.
Creating the Modern Buyer Experience
Barring something unexpected, the trend toward hybrid and remote business will become a more permanent part of our society. The digital sales room is made for modern-day B2B sales but developing a great virtual selling experience takes significant effort. How can organizations create the ideal buyer-seller relationship for 2021 and beyond?
1.Branded content experiences
Digital sales rooms offer an opportunity for sales and marketing teams to work hand in hand, designing content for every audience and situation. Utilize marketing insights to help identify which assets to deploy in every scenario to give your prospects the answers they need when they need them. Branded content, implementing the buyer’s logo, privacy statements and other individualized content enhances the experience for each customer or prospect, directly making them feel more comfortable and appreciated.
2.One central information hub
Digital sales rooms keep content in context. Having one source of truth makes selling and buying smoother and more enjoyable. One of the benefits of virtual selling is that it simplifies logistics like scheduling and travel, but it can quickly lose its luster if the process is scattered and hard to navigate. Digital sales rooms give sales reps control over collateral and essential materials from start to finish, and those materials live in one place. When buyers want a self-guided experience, the platform allows for that.
3.Right idea, right stakeholder, right time
With digital sales rooms, sales representatives can align the right data with the right stakeholder at the right time. To successfully sell a product or service to a business, different parties must weigh in with varying priorities and interests. Virtual selling can make that process more difficult if all stakeholders are not in the same place at the same time. A proper digital selling experience funnels everyone into the same â€œroomâ€ and uses both synchronous and asynchronous communicationOpens a new window to deliver a consistent, clear message.
4.The power of human touch
Many B2C online buying experiences can feel very impersonal. For example, when ordering a pizza, there is usually no video from the chef saying hello and showing that he is making the pizza. But buyers are not necessarily expecting that with an online food order. B2B sales are different; the human touch is critical, even in a virtual selling environment. Digital sales rooms offer the human touch buyers look for in a face-to-face conversation, like a personalized video greeting offering a self-guided experience or the option for virtual â€œface-to-faceâ€ time for questions and discussion. That greeting is not coming from a robot with a computer-generated voice, though; it is a real face and voice on the screen saying hello.
Embracing the Future
Virtual selling will not make B2B sales representatives redundant or completely replace the need for human interaction. The buyer-seller relationship is as much of a social transaction as economical. The challenge now is fitting both the social and economic aspects of the relationship into the new hybrid world of tomorrow.
Rather than running away from the inevitability of virtual sales, now is the time to embrace change. Brush up on the basics of selling to make sure your sellers’ priorities align with buyers’ needs. Then, work on implementing digital sales rooms that keep prospects feeling organized, appreciated, and engaged. The future of B2B sales is now and, if done right, digital sales rooms can be a huge competitive advantage.