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How has COVID-19 changed the way B2B businesses sell?

COVID-19 has accelerated the evolution of the B2B sales process, and in turn redefined multiple job functions across the entire sales and marketing ecosystem.

With buyers moving away from the traditional in-person engagements with their sales reps to buying online through self-serve digital channels, business leaders must ask themselves: how do I equip my sales teams with the tools and insight to deliver value as they engage customers? Do I have the ability to easily engage customers and prospects digitally how and when they want? And through what channels? Do I have the ability to offer channel fluidity to customers in a manner that creates a seamless compelling experience that meets their expectations?

It is clear that

digital-savvy B2B buyers

are not turning back to offline engagements. They are blazing ahead and driving the engagement with sellers to yield the offers they want and need. Sellers need to adapt to this buyer empowerment. Truly innovative sellers will have already made investments they can further expand to keep pace with how buyers want to buy.

As we move to a ‘new normal’, sales and marketing functions must integrate more than they have ever before to strategically win this new digitally driven customer or be sidelined as competitors step in to fill the gap.

Data driven insights extracted through machine learning and artificial intelligence are how these functions are able to achieve a common, consistent view of the buyer and the constant shift in preferences and needs. That data is a combination of intent data and transaction history, data on what peers have purchased, seasonality, commodity prices and more. It ensures that the offer a seller ultimately crafts reflects the moment and need of that buyer.

Channel fluidity is critical as buyers want to take charge of the experience and pace but still need guidance and counsel, particularly when purchasing highly complex goods. B2B businesses need to consider the engagement process in a manner that architects the ability to initiate an eCommerce transaction, divert to a phone call with a sales rep for additional support, and then transition back to eCommerce as a singular fluid transaction.

Today, the job of both sales and marketing combined is to engage digitally. You earn customers time by giving them what they want when they want it – insight into how to solve a problem, how to make the right choices, and how to make sense of the world around them. Salespeople must also bring experience and expertise to help buyers navigate internal process and external challenges. You give advice to help them make good decisions.

Sales and marketing alignment is all about the customer. And that power to align across the entire business on meeting and

exceeding customer needs

, is where digital selling transforms entire markets, not just businesses.

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