You’ve heard it before, but the fact is, sales is forever changed.
The shift to digital selling doesn’t mean in-person selling is gone forever, though. People love human connections, and many are ready to get back to in-person meetings and conferences.
The future of sales can be considered a hybrid model that combines in-person deals with online selling activities to ensure customer safety and convenience in the “new normal.”
What do hybrid virtual and in-person sales look like?
A hybrid of digital and in-person sales means sales professionals meet in-person with potential customers but also rely on digital tools to close deals.
A hybrid B2B sales model could include socially distanced sales meetings, video calls, and virtual deal rooms where deals are closed.
So, what do you need to consider as you start (or refresh) your business model for sales?
1. Meet buyers where they are, virtually or in-person
Today, buyers have more access to products and buying options than ever before. Buyers expect to engage and interact with sellers on their timetables and terms.
According to McKinsey, more than 75% of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.
This report demonstrates that buyers have seen how successful and efficient digital meetings have been. It’s likely they will continue to engage in a virtual sales process.
It’s simple: focus on the way that buyers want to buy. Whether in-person, digital, or a combination of the two, your business model for sales should meet the needs of all customer experiences.
2. Emphasize engagement
Sales engagement is a critical piece of the sales business model.
An effective sales engagement strategy that includes the right technology will ensure sales reps engage with prospects with the right message, at the right time, at every stage of the buyer journey. Digital tools and in-person interactions can boost sales engagement.
Tools that enhance the digital selling experience can also enhance in-person meetings.
When in-person interaction resumes safely, the meeting landscape will look different. Meetings will likely be with smaller groups, and “elbow bumps” could replace handshakes, but buyers will expect the immediacy of digital selling.
Sales reps can capitalize on the new hybrid sales model by Immediately following up with a thank-you video from the buyer’s lobby, outside their building, or even in a car.
Quick videos can provide a quick recap and ask for feedback about the meeting via chat. This keeps the meeting top-of-mind for the buyer while providing easy-to-use digital resources
With an emphasis on engagement, the in-person experience will be enhanced with digital experiences.
3. Align the right resources with the right channels
Time is precious, and each interaction with the organization must stand out from the crowd. It’s critical to have the right resources with the right channels.
According to Gartner, buyers only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when considering a purchase. It makes sense, then, for sales teams to dedicate appropriate resources to the virtual and digital channels where buyers are spending the most time.
Think about trade shows. Trade shows have a long history of being a successful avenue for lead generation and early pipeline. Over the last year, we’ve found that it’s challenging, but not impossible, to replicate the experience of the trade show floor in a fully virtual setting.
Business occurs in person on the trade show floor, where businesses can demonstrate their products and make valuable personal connections with potential buyers.
In 2021 and the near future, shows will likely require social distancing in the booth, which means buyers and businesses can’t send as many sales reps as in the past.
Now, sales reps will need to be skilled not only with one-on-one and many-to-one sales but also in sales at a distance. Sales representatives at trade shows will also need to use video to engage and build relationships straight off the show floor.
Reps that attend trade shows of the future will be product experts, positioning gurus, and time management ninjas.
Learn and embrace the hybrid model trade shows will soon adopt as you allocate sales resources across digital and in-person opportunities.
Embrace virtual and in-person selling for success in 2021
A new business model for sales is emerging: the hybrid sales model.
Organizations will figure out what their ideal structure looks like for their new sales business model. But there are some strategies that remain universal - sell the way buyers want to buy, emphasize engagement and align the right resources with the right channels.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out our content library for more ebooks, playbooks, and content to help design your sales model for the future.