B2B expresses new needs, initiated by the digitalization of the customer journey and influenced by individual behaviour, which lead to significant changes:
- The first contact with the trade occurs later in the proces
- The purchasing cycle is getting longer
- Buyers need sales representatives more than ever to answer the most complex questions or negotiate a price.
“B2B buyers are looking for a digital customer experience supported by highly qualified salespeople. “
The customer experience remains at the heart of the concerns, even if more digitalization means that sales teams have fewer opportunities to transform. It is therefore crucial to evolve your approach to offer a unique experience every time, from the company’s top layers to the last mile, driven by both the strategy and the compensation plan. In this context of transformation, companies are taking the opportunity to reposition the missions of the sales forces. The most striking example is the IT sector that is migrating from an annual licensing model to rental mode. The “personae” of the account manager has been adjusted to focus fully on development and sales missions, positioning tasks that do not create value on other teams, in order to optimize ROI.
This meets higher market expectations, impacting both growth and NPS. The “premium” has become the norm in customer relations, we even speak of “debt” to our customers.
Now, a new paradigm must be solved: offering more value before the first interaction with sales. The brand must be memorable, for its customers but also for its prospects. Future customers (“leads”) expect to be known and recognized, while being contacted in less than twelve hours; from their point of view 60% of the sales journey is already completed. Therefore, sellers must first focus on the highest potential and have immediately accessible sources of information to know and understand their audiences.
Upstream, the idea is to bring together sedentary teams to deliver an end-to-end service, analysis-marketing-sales-customer success, led by sales specialists to accelerate growth. This virtuous alignment is “completed” by the consolidated monitoring of KPIs covering the entire process, from MQL to SQL. It is a model that limits operating expenses and optimizes ROI: the cost is between field sales and distance sales.
The new standard profile of the salesperson is not only based on his commercial fibre, he is a graduate (BAC+3 at least), speaks several languages and has an appetite for the use of digital sales tools, to summarize the tools of the community manager of a few years ago.
Operating from excellent commercial centres, unlike the old cliché of the call-centre, these specialists reclaim the content produced by marketing and communication to prospect and connect with business subjects that will reach the targeted audience. They carry the brand’s values both by phone and on digital channels.
They are assisted daily by technology to simplify the process of connecting with decision-makers or to track shared content throughout the sales process. Augmented reality tools help to customize the live demonstration.
The A.I. is available 24/7 to train operational teams and accelerate continuous improvement, aligned across all departments that are in direct contact with customers. With these shared fundamentals, it is the seller’s humanity that will make the difference: to establish a diagnosis and respond to the need thanks to his relational intelligence. Influences that are found in products from several brands that focus first on the user experience and then build a technology that will support it.
It is an exciting time for customer relations and the people who ensure it: customer satisfaction is at the heart of all projects.