How B2B Sales Have Changed During COVID-19

Since the pandemic hit, business-to-business sales practices and models have changed— the rapid and abrupt need to go digital. These shifts were caused by changes in consumer behavior and market dynamics, which forced many B2B buyers and sellers to reinvent how they interact, communicate, and serve customers. Presently, the biggest challenge is actively monitoring and reviewing how these changes have affected and will affect B2B operations. Tactics and strategies that started out as crisis responses have become the new normal.

However, despite the impacts of COVID-19 on sales and marketing, B2B organizations that were able to adjust quickly not only survived but also succeeded. Below we share some emerging trends in the b2b marketing dynamics caused by COVID-19.

1. The Salesforce Has Changed Direction and Momentum

The ‘bulletproof’ sales campaigns and strategies that were once promoted and praised within various B2B organizations have stopped being as effective as they were.

This means that the way of analyzing sales, predicting customer patterns, and growing revenue has changed.

For example, before the pandemic, a spike in online visits meant an increase in sales. However, research across Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States currently shows that despite a 32% rise in online traffic, B2B sales have fallen 17%.

Here are some sales tips that B2B leaders should adopt in line with current changes:

  • Show your B2B sales team support and guidance to help them understand this new environment. 
  • Train your sales team on how to thrive in digital marketing.
  • Double down on the right opportunities.
  • Reward your sales talent accordingly. 
  • Forge virtual relationships with your clients, suppliers, and sales team.
  • Constantly monitor the competition and changes in the markets.
  • Find effective ways of getting new leads.
  • Update winning strategies and sales resources to position your products and services to reflect the new customer priorities. 
  • Implement customer-oriented problem-solving goals.  

2. Shift to Digital Approaches as Long-term Solutions

With face-to-face meetings and communication proving unreliable, B2B buyers and sellers have had to rely on virtual events to connect to clients. An online presence is not just vital; make your brand impactful and relevant. To do this, you should:

  • Boost bold new means of using virtual tools.
  • Make use of social media influencers.
  • Ramp up your website and social media pages.
  • Use video, e-commerce, cold calling, and other means of marketing. 
  • Readjust your online content accordingly. 
  • Get up-to-date sales and marketing Apps and Software.

The good news about going digital for B2B organizations is that self-service systems generate information that can be used to predict and respond to customer challenges and opportunities. Although the digital experience is the new norm, it cannot completely replace the human touch. 

Buyers still want remote (online) human interactions with reliable, affordable, reasonable, and simple solutions to their problems. 

3. Massive Change in Customer Needs and Wants 

This is the time for B2B companies to rediscover their customer needs and deploy means of creating and sustaining relevant connections.

The services and products that B2B companies might have prioritized pre-Covid are either more important or completely irrelevant. 

‘What does this mean for B2B sellers?’

There is a 50/50 chance that current consumer patterns will be outdated in the next year or so. 

Therefore, there is a need to implement strategies that can be easily and promptly revised and readjusted. 

Pointers on how to stay connected to your prospects:

  1. Constantly communicate with your clients.
  2. Meet your buyers’ needs continuously and efficiently.
  3. Find innovative ways of understanding market patterns.
  4. Personalize messages to your prospects, adding empathetic and value-driven solutions. 
  5. Invest in social selling and predictive analysis tools.
  6. Nurture meaningful consumer connections.
  7. Listen, learn, and adjust as you go.

4. Outbound Sales; Cold Calling

Activities that you might not have considered beneficial to growing or nurturing a B2B organization months ago are becoming more and more popular. 

Cold calling in B2B companies is a marketing strategy that entails making companies in your industry aware of the products and services you offer through calling them. 

For example, a law firm representing news broadcasting agencies can contact broadcasting companies that have never heard of their services and acquaint them with the benefits of working together.

Below are some notable benefits of cold calling.

  • Increase new leads: When done correctly, it is an effective tool for reaching out and converting prospects. This is why calling agents must be equipped with adequate training and resources.
  • Identify and approach your target audience: Before approaching a prospect, you need to know their goals, challenges, understand their brands, and be familiar with their practices. With this information, you will know exactly who to approach and how to approach them. 
  • Help gain insight on your buyers: Cold calling practices emphasize listening to your client’s pain points and suggestions..
  • Reach out to new customers: It helps you proposition customers who are not aware of your services. They might need a company with your expertise but not know how to get them. By reaching out, you can form new bonds and strengthen existing connections. 
  • Economical: It is cost-efficient because you need minimal resources such as agents, software, computers, and telephones. You can make sales regardless of the location of your team. They just need good training and adequate information to win over clients.

5. Sales Team Training has Evolved

As a B2B leader, you should embrace approaches that encourage, support, and train your sales team.

Create a marketing team that can anticipate massive shifts in the market and, at the same time, take advantage of changing consumer patterns.

B2B sales leaders must build an adaptive, understanding, professional, and future-ready workforce that can resolve unmet client needs.   

The best way to motivate your team:

  • Listen to their concerns, needs, and recommendations.
  • Hold regular meetings to discuss goals and marketing strategies.
  • Give them incentives like bonuses.
  • Recognize good work and practice positive criticism.
  • Allocate duties fairly. 
  • Do not pressure them to meet targets.

When you pair predictive technology with a tech-savvy sales team, you stand higher chances of staying ahead of market trends.

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