We all know things have changed significantly in b2b sales since the start of the Covid pandemic, but how can businesses move forward and continue to succeed in our rapidly changing world? In this article, we talk about b2b sales trends for 2022 and what businesses can do to plan ahead.
1. Omnichannel sales are here to stay
Whilst a large proportion of b2b sales used to rely on face-to-face contact, the pandemic accelerated the need for omnichannel interactions. Video and eCommerce were quickly adopted by businesses wanting to continue trading and now that cross-channel mix is here, it is here to stay. There is every indication that buyers prefer the option of choosing in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions in equal measure. For 2022 businesses need to plan for smooth and integrated interactions across all of their sales channels.
2. From in-person to hybrid sales reps
With the acceleration to omnichannel interaction has come the need for sales reps to adapt too. Customers have become used to interacting with a company through their eCommerce site, phone, apps and video conferencing offering as well as face-to-face. This means hybrid sales reps, who can interact with customers wherever they are, are becoming the key sales role.
Although in-person sales are unlikely to disappear, they are becoming a much smaller part of the sales process. Upskilling staff to the hybrid sales model is essential for meeting customer expectations moving forwards. Thought should also be given to making remote interactions feel as intimate as in-person experiences.
3. Digital self service leads the way
Digital self-service is likely to be a dominant element of the b2b sales model going forwards.
According to McKinsey, 96% of b2b buyers claim they will make a purchase in an end-to-end, digital self-serve model, with the vast majority very comfortable spending $50K or more online.
To succeed with digital self-service, your trade portal must provide your customers with a slick personalised ordering process. The ability to personalise offers, promotions, prices and payment terms can help to up-sell and cross-sell products, encourage product trial and increase basket size – which all adds up to more revenue.
4. Video conferencing is critical
For product demonstrations, customer support and account management video conferencing saved the day for many b2bs during Covid restrictions by providing an alternative to face-to-face interactions. It has now become a go-to method of connecting with customers and is here to stay, preferred over audio/phone by 3 out of 4 b2b buyers.
For 2022 businesses should work towards developing digital demos to give buyers an equivalent level of insight to physical walk-throughs.
5. A reduction in physical locations
As well as a shift away from in-person sales, successive Covid lockdowns and restrictions have also meant that many companies have realised they can often function just as successfully with a reduction in physical work locations. As more and more of the sales process moves online, one in three b2b companies have already reduced both their in-person sales FTEs and number of physical locations. This trend of staff homeworking is set to continue into 2022 and beyond.
In order to make the new omnichannel sales trend as effective as possible for your b2b, it’s essential that thought is given when planning for 2022 to make the sales process as smooth as possible. For help with optimising your b2b eCommerce platform get in touch.