Social Selling has become an increasingly popular topic over the last two years however, the recent crisis has just accelerated its importance.
Sales teams have found themselves physically disconnected from their customers and unable to reach them via their office phone numbers.
Not surprisingly, the shift to remote working has forced a behaviour change on those companies that were, until now, hesitating to invest in modernising their sales approach.
Recent research from McKinsey now shows how attitudes have (not surprisingly) changed towards social selling. Digital interactions are now considered twice as important.
However, the effectiveness of digital engagement is up for debate among B2B decision makers (below). For every respondent who cited it as “less effective,” there was another who thought it was equally or more effective.
Whilst organisations are forced into this remote way of engaging customers there is scepticism around how effective it is.
However, I believe this might be as a result of sales teams being forced into this new way of working with little or no enablement about how to do it effectively.
This inevitably causes frustration and confusion (similar to what we see when sales teams are given LinkedIn Sales Navigator licenses without any enablement).
But this isn't just the responsibility of sales.
If we need any further evidence of the much needed alignment between sales and marketing, then this is it.
B2B buyers are turning to self-service channels to learn more about your business - they are now researching, evaluating and even ordering (if they can) via your website.
Therein lies the frustration (according to McKinsey's research with decision makers).
When we asked our sample of decision makers to select their top-three most frustrating issues with suppliers’ websites:
36% cited the length of the ordering process
34% the difficulty of finding products
33% technical glitches with ordering.
Other common concerns were confusing websites, a lack of information on delivery and technical support, and difficulty setting up payments.
Digital buyers want a friction-less buyer journey. They want to research and self-educate (and even buy) online.
At Tribal we think of it like a flywheel and not a funnel. Buyers don't proceed through a funnel-like journey anymore. Their relationship with a supplier is deeper and more engaged - it's a relationship. It takes time.
It's the role of marketing to move the buyer via a friction-less journey on the website as far as the buyer may want to go. Some may want to pick up the phone, others will want to transact online. The more obstacles put in the way, the more frustrated your buyer will get.
But this is the responsibility of sales however it impacts the sales process. Sales and marketing alignment starts with the customer - not each other.
Similar to what we’ve seen in the B2C environment, the importance of digital channels for B2B companies has grown significantly in the past few years and has radically increased since the COVID-19 crisis began. Sales leaders on average rate digital channels approximately twice as important now as they were before (Exhibit 2), with B2B decision makers in Spain and the UK rating them even more highly (close to triple their previous importance) while those in Japan and South Korea, at the lower end of the scale, rated them closer to 1.5 times more important than