How B2B Winners Grow – McKinsey Pulse Survey 2023

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In this month’s blog we are going to be discussing the results of the latest McKinsey B2B Pulse survey. In today’s uncertain economic environment it’s so important for businesses to know exactly what areas are worth investing time and money into, and the results of this survey can really help with this, so we wanted to share them with you here.

The pandemic kick started the growth towards digital channels, and the desire for a great omnichannel experience for B2B customers has been evident for a while. This latest McKinsey survey reveals that it’s not enough just to ‘give it a go’ when it comes to offering B2B customers multiple channels to buy from. B2B customers are demanding the same experiences that they get in their personal lives – they “want the ability to buy everywhere, all at once, and all of the time”. More than 3,800 decision makers across 13 countries took part in the Pulse survey and the findings showed that companies who offer the best omnichannel experience are improving their market share by at least 10 percent annually.

B2 companies winning the most market share have a very clear focus, which includes:

  • Embracing ecommerce
  • Excelling in offering customers an omnichannel experience
  • Investing in hybrid sales teams and in advanced sales technology
  • Delivering not just personalisation to customers but ‘hyperpersonalisation’
  • Leveraging third party and company owned market places

Embracing ecommerce

For years B2B customers have been asking for a similar buying experience that they expect in their personal lives. It’s important to remember though that traditional B2B selling is not going away, customers want an even mix of traditional, remote and self-service options. Buyers are transitioning to ordering and re-ordering online, and so a modern ecommerce website that offers live stock updates and feature rich customer experiences is vital.

B2B ecommerce is now the most effective sales channel – 35% of the survey participants rated it as their preferred buying choice, followed by in-person sales and video conference. Those companies that are holding the market share offer multiple self-service options including their own ecommerce website and third party market places.

Not only is online the highest rated buying option, B2B customers are increasingly willing to spend larger amounts of money when shopping with ecommerce, so this is definitely an area B2B companies need to invest in.

Excelling in offering an omnichannel experience

Omnichannel is the new standard – offering a combination of digital channels and human interactions is what customers are asking for. While human interaction is still very important, digital channels are essential for reaching and engaging with B2B buyers. The Pulse survey found that today’s buyers are more likely to use digital channels to learn about new products and services, compare prices, and make purchases. “Over the life of this research, we have seen the number of sales channels people use across the entire buying journey double from five channels in 2016 to ten channels in 2022. In 2023, buyers are still using about ten channels, but there are some surprising shifts, especially early in the sales process as people increasingly evaluate suppliers through digital technologies such as mobile apps, social media, and texting”. With the tough economic climate in mind, when one bad customer interaction can lead to a lost sale, the takeaway here is that it’s not enough to perfect one sales channel. To stand out above competitors, companies must excel in all channels. 

Invest in hybrid sales teams and advanced sales tools

As already mentioned, we’ve discovered that B2B customers want a mix of face to face and remote interactions with sales team (with ecommerce at the centre of it all). Those companies who use this model are winning 57% of the market share, according to the survey results. Winning B2B companies are also investing in advanced sales tools such as bots for customer chats, automated lead nurturing and automatic meeting logging to make it easier for customers to do business with them.

Delivering hyperpersonalisation to cutsomers

Winning B2B companies are not just dabbling in personalised sales and marketing tactics, they are investing in sophisticated marketing techniques, focusing heavily on hyperpersonalisation. They are providing individual decision makers with tailored messages based on their needs, purchases, behaviours, and interactions. These winning companies are also investing in advanced technology and predictive analytics to help them deliver hyperpersonalised offers in person too. McKinsey’s research found that companies that personalise their marketing efforts are 1.5 times more likely to grow their market share than those that don’t.

Use targeted strategies for third party and company owned market places

McKinsey says that “whether third party or company-owned (or both), marketplaces are the place to be”.  As much as 50% of companies either already have or are planning to build their own marketplace. Third party market places are a great way to sell products, as they already have a large number of active buyers. 88% of the survey participants sell through Amazon, and these marketplaces can help businesses increase sales by providing them with a convenient platform to sell their products or services.

We hope you found these results helpful and can implement them into your own business. If you would like to read the full results from the survey please click here. Companies that combine these strategies will be well positioned to achieve sustained growth in the years to come. If you don’t yet have a modern ecommerce website with built in sales and marketing personalisation features then please get in touch with us at GOb2b.