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GetAccept blog: Selling from the beach - taking your sales strategy digital

Selling from the beach: taking your sales strategy digital

Frida Ahrenby
July 22, 2021

Think back to the beginning of 2020: the world looked vastly different. Now, what we thought would be “just a few weeks” of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how sales teams close deals.

After more than a year of remote work, and with the emergence of hybrid work models, we're more reliant than ever on digital tools both personally and professionally.

Thankfully, digital solutions such as eSigning tools can help sales teams adapt to our new way of working in an efficient and secure manner.

In this blog post, we will share our insights about how B2B sales has evolved from an in-person sales process to a digital one

The new B2B buying journey

There is no doubt that the B2B buying journey is more complicated in the digital age.

The modern buyers’ journey is full of twists and turns. Buyers have so many different touchpoints before reaching a decision.

Because of easily accessible digital information, the buyer will spend a lot of time gathering and digesting information independently before even requesting a demo or speaking with a sales team.

When B2B buyers are considering a purchase they spend only 17% of that time actually meeting with potential suppliers.

The six B2B buying “jobs” that a buyer needs to complete successfully in order to finalize a purchase are:

  • Problem identification
  • Solution exploration
  • Requirements building
  • Supplier selection
  • Validation
  • Consensus creation

At the same time, the buying process also involves 6 to 10 decision-makers and 77% of B2B buyers state that their last purchase was very complex or difficult.

Year over year, the number of buyers involved in typical sales cycles has increased, illustrating the hurdles modern sellers face in navigating complex purchasing decisions - with reduced influence and mechanisms to influence customer choices.

In order to finalize these steps, the buyer may have to go back multiple times and jump between each of the different “jobs” to arrive at a completely validated decision.

Each time and in each step, new information gathering is carried out to move forward in the process, which adds to the complexity of decision making.

Read more: Why buyer experience is the most important thing in sales

Sales must adapt to meet new expectations from buyers

Our experience from helping sales teams close more deals tells us that buyers value suppliers that make it easy for them to navigate through the buyer journey.

How do you make that process easier for buyers? By sharing relevant information at the right time to help them through the different stages of the process.

Buyers appreciate concrete information, such as statistics and figures about your product and its track record of success. They’ll appreciate it if you don’t include anything overtly self-promotional.

Highlight how customers in a similar industry have faced the same problems and combatted them successfully with your solution to build trust and provide social proof.

Focus on the customer and the problem they are facing. Put your own sales targets aside and concentrate on understanding the customer’s needs in order to build trust and help them make the right decision.

Opportunities and challenges in digital sales

Being in the business of sales enablement and eSigning, 95% of our sales have always been digital.

The digital sales process, like any other process, has pros and cons. Here are some of the key challenges and opportunities an online sales process presents:

Challenges in a digital sales process

A fully remote sales process amplifies a few challenges of in-person sales. When face-to-face communication is minimal, sales teams need to identify specific ways to build personal connections in a digital environment.

  • Demonstrating value: It can be difficult to demonstrate value and to bring a personal touch to a buyer meeting. It also might be more difficult to explain and show your product within a limited time frame in a video call.
  • Assessing buyers' purchasing intent: Nonverbal cues such as body language Digital environments make it hard to assess a buyer’s feelings about a product.
  • Creating interpersonal trust: It can be harder to create trust and credibility on a personal level.\
  • Bringing helpful information to the table: When customers are actively doing their own research and online education has created a more informed buyer than ever before.
  • Managing buyer expectations: Expectations around free product trials can make it difficult to maintain dialogue or to represent the offering in the best way if the customer is using the solution on their own.

Opportunities in a digital sales process

Digital and remote selling present many opportunities to increase efficiency and get ahead of the competition. Here are a few advantages we've seen:

Digital process automation = time saved for sales reps: There is time for more activity and more meetings when no time is put on transportation to and from customer meetings. You also get more time to review all existing sales processes and methods without sacrificing too much market opportunity.

  • More flexibility to book meetings: It might be easier to book meetings with potential customers, since the availability for online meetings usually is better than meetings face to face. Customers usually feel that there is less commitment and easier to accept an online meeting, which from a seller’s perspective is a great springboard.
  • Expanded customer base: A digital sales process might open up for new perspectives on your ideal customer profile (ICP). It might be possible to reach new regions, new industries, new personas when going digital compared to a physical sales process.
  • Reduced inefficiencies and bottlenecks: With the time for increased activity and more meetings online, sales might increase with reduced inefficiencies and bottlenecks from within an office environment. With the time for increased activity and more meetings online, sales might increase with reduced inefficiencies and bottlenecks from within an office environment.
  • Reduced competition: Other competitors may struggle in the transition to a digital environment - opening up further opportunities for more agile firms.

Making the most of your digital sales process

Clear communication and feedback between you and the buyer is all the more important in a digital sales environment.

Make sure to summarize the key takeaways of each digital meeting, the expectations for both the buyer and the seller, and make sure both parties give their commitment to what’s been discussed as well as the next steps.

Use references and customer cases to cement trust with your buyer. People always like to hear about other customers, compare needs and solutions.

When buyers have a wealth of information about your company, social proof becomes even more important to the buyer decision.

In addition, make sure to engage and create a feeling in your buyer. Humans make many decisions based on feelings and it’s important to create that personal relationship also when meeting online.

One way to do this is to use video for your meetings, but also when presenting proposals and agreements.

Dare to be different and keep the dialogue personal. Also, try to reach out through new channels, such as social media, in combination with emails and phone calls to stand out from the crowd.

Digital tools every sales team needs

The purchase journey has changed and sales needs to adapt. Here are the digital tools necessary to be able to meet changing buyer needs and stay one step ahead of the competition.

CRM software

The CRM is core in any sales business and helps manage all customer data. It provides a structure for the seller and based on the data and insights, the seller can take action.

Make sure to use dashboards to visualise the most important KPIs and understand the nuances of your sales pipeline.

Prospecting tools

Prospecting tools will make it easier to find the right prospects to go after.

Make sure to put some time and effort into defining your ICP by using the data from your CRM, identifying value segments and customers.

Then, use those segments in a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify promising prospects to reach out to.

LinkedIn Sales Nav

Video conferencing and messaging tools

Video is key to forming authentic connections with buyers. Conferencing tools like Zoom give you the chance to make online meetings as personal as possible.

Engage, ask interactive questions, maintain eye contact, and make sure that both video and sound is on!

You can also use video in messages to make communication outside of meetings more personal. They also can capture the attention of buyers with creative thumbnails.

Build trust with video

Employee management tools

Employee management tools in order to track and measure the wellbeing of employees.

Carefully follow the trends over time, discuss and act quickly to make sure your organisation stays healthy.

E-learning platforms

E-learning platforms that support certification can allow you to quantify the uptake on new digital learning modules and improve sales team performance.

Sales analytics tools

Sales analytics tools enabling recording and coaching of customer meetings, makes it possible to understand how meetings are done, and how the sales dialogue is carried out.

Sales analytics provide insights for how to improve the business in general and the process in particular.

Gamification tools

Gamification tools inspire better performance and motivation.

Teams can be measured and rewarded on clear KPIs and competitions, creating a fun and engaging culture.

Proposal management and eSignature tools

Presentation, proposal and e-signing tools are a way to simplify and streamline the sales process and create buyer engagement.

Contract management

Digital sales solutions help you sell from anywhere, even the beach

Sales has officially gone digital. Buyers are overloaded with information and need help to make the right decisions. 

Make sure to provide them with the right information at the right time, to push them forward in their decision process.

Keep the personal touch throughout the digital sales process, create engagement by using video and chat tools in combination with your online meetings.

Take the time to look over your ICP and B2B sales statistics for 2021, there might be hidden opportunities with new target groups!

Take full advantage of and use digital tools for different functions and touchpoints. There are many great tools out there! Take the chance to look over your tech stack.

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