Adapting to the New Era of B2B Sales
27 Apr 2023
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the B2B sales industry has undergone a tremendous shift towards digital channels, remote sales processes, and a customer-centric approach to sales. To remain competitive, companies must adapt to these changes and shifts in the industry. McKinsey’s report, “Future of B2B Sales: The Big Reframe,” outlines five themes that have emerged from research on the new era of sales: putting the customer at the heart of growth, breaking the channel mindset, creating a scalable sales engine, rethinking the people strategy in an age of uncertainty, and making the change stick. In this blog post, we will discuss the main points of this report, including the shift towards digital channels and remote sales processes, the increased importance of data and analytics in sales, the need for sales teams to develop new skills, such as digital and analytical expertise, the rise of solution selling, and the decline of product-based selling. Lastly, we will discuss the need for companies to adopt a more customer-centric approach to sales.
The Shift towards Digital Channels and Remote Sales Processes
Due to the pandemic, the world has gone online, and sales have become virtual. This shift has presented challenges and achieved a surprising degree of success. The state of sales is evolving rapidly and will continue to do so, with customers becoming savvier and demanding more. The rise of digital and hybrid operating models, coupled with the "great attrition," is detrimental to talent. However, leading companies are seizing the opportunity and taking action with great success. Top performers put the customer at the heart of growth by offering value propositions and personalized experiences through effective analytics and tailored content that emphasizes solutions and expertise. They are also breaking the channel mindset and adopting a hybrid approach to connect with customers in ways they want.
The Increased Importance of Data and Analytics in Sales
In this new era of sales, strong customer analytics can lead to 1.5 times faster growth and increases in earnings of at least 15% to 25% or more. As such, companies are using analytical insights to find new customers, and the digital engagement model has shifted power from the seller to the customer. Customers are researching products and companies online before sellers can pitch them. Companies use analytics to predict potential customers, their pain points, and their next moves. They are proactively engaging with customers as early as possible. Top-performing sales functions have embraced the use of "win rooms," which bring together a cross-functional team to focus on closing deals. These teams constantly use analytical insights to refine solutions to fit customer needs. Companies are also investing in a narrow set of tools and technologies, ensuring thorough front- and back-end adoption and focusing on driving customer outcomes.
The Need for Sales Teams to Develop New Skills
To remain competitive, sales teams must develop new skills, such as digital and analytical expertise. Today's sales reps need analytical, strategic, and technical skills and must be able to work with data and derive insights. They also need to stay ahead of the customer, strategize on the next steps, provide the best solution, and keep an eye on the customer's business objectives and profit and loss. Good sales reps can also manage senior executives across different areas of a buyer’s organization, from technical managers to chief financial officers. Companies can use data analytics to develop targeted training programs for their sales reps by identifying areas where reps spend too much time on non-selling activities, improving coaching programs, and focusing on the most important skills for sales growth.
The Rise of Solution Selling and the Need for a More Customer-Centric Approach
Customers nowadays expect more, and companies need to shift to put them at the center of sales. They expect simpler, on-demand, omnichannel engagement that puts their needs first. They expect informed conversations with vendors who can demonstrate expertise in their industry, product, and market challenges. Companies are finding that to become truly customer-centric, they need to embrace a genuinely customer-centric mindset, starting with the language they use to define success. In the new era, top performers obsess less about an internal view of their sales funnel and more about guiding customers on a personalized buying journey. Leading B2B companies build rich signals beyond traditional customer data to offer a fully rounded view. They are using unexpected customer data sources at a granular level, such as identifying customer buying opportunities by tracking hiring patterns.
Future of B2B sales: The big reframe
The B2B sales industry has undergone a significant shift towards digital channels, remote sales processes, and a customer-centric approach to sales. Companies that adapt to these changes and shifts happening in the industry will remain competitive. McKinsey’s report, “Future of B2B Sales: The Big Reframe,” outlines five themes that have emerged from research on the new era of sales. These themes include putting the customer at the heart of growth, breaking the channel mindset, creating a scalable sales engine, rethinking the people strategy in an age of uncertainty, and making the change stick. Companies can remain competitive, attract talent, and drive sustainable growth by embracing these themes and new skills, such as digital and analytical expertise.
Spiky can play a critical role in helping companies adapt to the new era of B2B sales. Our AI-powered sales enablement platform helps sales teams improve their performance by providing personalized coaching, real-time insights, and data-driven recommendations. With Spiky.ai, sales reps can focus on building stronger relationships with customers and closing more deals. Our platform is easy to use and can be integrated with existing CRM systems, making it simple for companies to adopt. To see a demo of Spiky in action, start your free account today.
Join 2,000+ subscribers
Stay in the loop with everything you need to know.