So, anyone who has lived through the last six months knows the digital transformation in business-to-business (B2B) sales has been extraordinary. Before the pandemic, most organizations were slowly making the transition to virtual sales because they wanted to increase efficiency while delivering more convenient and effective buyer experiences. However, COVID-19 accelerated the race to moving businesses online in ways no one could have ever imagined.
How major has the transition been? McKinsey, the global consulting company, has conducted research, and based on it, the answer is monumental. The firm surveyed 3,600 B2B decision-makers in 11 countries, representing 12 business sectors and 14 business revenue level categories.
Why is this important? Comparing your operation to those included in the broad and deep McKinsey study can help you determine whether your business is keeping up with the current pace of digital transformation.
Digital transformation by the numbers
So, what’s changed for B2B companies since the beginning of the year? Here are some highlights.
- On average, since the pandemic started, twice as many B2B buyers prefer to do business online. In countries like Spain and the United Kingdom, the rate increases to three times as many. If your company isn’t digitally adept, you could be losing out on a lot more opportunities than you were just a few short months ago.
- The top way people prefer to research new B2B suppliers currently is through online chat. This is a tactic that was often discounted as inefficient prior to the pandemic. However, it could make sense now that many salespeople and customer service reps are working at home. They could be available to deliver meaningful chat experiences at any time of day. Or, because of the demand, it might be worth the cost of developing automated chatbot artificial intelligence, logic, and responses that resemble human interactions, not ones that feel like they are generated by a machine. If there ever was a time to invest in chat, it’s now.
- There has been a 30 percent increase in B2B customers who prefer to place orders through an app. In other words, if developing a sales app prior to the pandemic seemed too costly for your business, it might make more sense right now.
- Put another way, McKinsey reports there has been an increase of 250 percent in mobile app ordering because of the pandemic. This is added proof that an investment in an app will likely pay off in increased sales.
- McKinsey has found that it’s now twice as likely that a business will select another business that provides a superior digital experience as a primary supplier. Twice the likelihood of bringing in a new client is a BIG motivator for improving your digital operation.
- Beyond this, 96 percent of B2B selling teams have fully or partially shifted to virtual selling. This is as close to absolute as statistics get. If your sales team isn’t committed to virtual selling, what are you waiting for?
- Of all business decision-makers, 65 percent say the remote business model is equal to — or more effective than — traditional ways of doing business. This proves that virtual selling is no longer secondary to the “real” thing.
- Almost 80 percent of B2B sellers are committed to continuing their COVID-19 based digital transformations for a year or more after the pandemic is over. This proves that any investment in virtual selling now could pay off over the long term.
Are you convinced B2B digital transformation isn’t just a short-term trend and that it IS the future? If you are, here’s how you can prepare your business for what’s going on today and will likely be happening in the future.
- Pay attention to what B2B buyers care about most. No matter what channel you do business in, make sure you, your sales team and everyone working at your firm focuses on efficiency, transparency, and expertise in your area. Sure, price is important, but during times like these, other values are more so.
- Optimize your e-channel platforms so you provide your business customers with what they expect. Make sure your end-to-end experience is seamless.
- Fix the hiccups in your online sales process. All those disconnects on your website are no longer tolerable to the typical business buyer. If your digital experience isn’t flawless, your customers will move on to competitors who provide a better one.
- Integrate your digital sales process with your human one. If someone becomes frustrated with your online operation, make it simple to connect with a person who is empowered to make things right.
- Hire the right people. Of course, individuals can learn new things and evolve. However, few “traditional” salespeople and leaders are able to make the transition to digital selling. If you have doubts about your team’s bench strength, it could be time to make some changes.
- Rethink your sales journey. Clearly, times have changed, and so have expectations about selling. Adjusting things ad hoc is good. Reimagining your sales process for a new future is much better.
Need help transforming your business for the digital age? Contact with a friendly and helpful Mobile Locker representative. Many businesses leverage our app to help them stay organized and coordinated during periods of dramatic change like we’re living through today. It can also help you understand what parts of your digital sales transformation are resonating with prospective clients and which are not.
What are you waiting for? Things won’t be slowing down any time soon. If anything, the process of transformation will only accelerate. Find out how Mobile Locker can help you get on board.