Must-have coaching: digital sales in post-corona times
While the world of work seems to be slowly normalizing towards the end of the pandemic, B2B sales are going through a number of changes. Companies have already moved away from the traditional purchasing model – towards a digital one that encompasses more voices and allows different perspectives.
According to Gartner there are no longer the typical buyers of a B2B solution, but rather a group of buyers consisting of six to ten decision-makers. In addition, more than two thirds of these purchasing groups rate the purchasing process as very complex. Traditional methods such as generic PowerPoint presentations and mass-produced promotional materials have also lost their effectiveness.
Instead, the experts found a lack of customer engagement and it has become more difficult to attract cross-departmental advocates within a complex purchasing team. And especially for younger generations – both buyers and sellers – who consume personalized content on digital platforms such as Google, YouTube and TikTok, the traditional sales model seems long out of date.
Covid-19 has accelerated the shift towards digital models and further increased the pressure on salespeople to adapt. McKinsey quantified this shift last year. It found that company sales from face-to-face visits fell 55 percent, while sales from digital interactions with sales reps rose nearly 70 percent. Companies have recognized these advantages for themselves and are increasingly using digital sales – especially since geographical barriers are no longer applicable and costs for personal visits can be saved.
But how well are the sales teams equipped for this and how well do they prepare their employees for success in a digital sales landscape? One thing is certain: a lot of potential remains unused. CSO Insights reports that most companies (62.9 percent), despite the need for training, do not feel responsible for further training in digital sales and leave that to the individual manager.
It’s not just about helping sales teams; a lack of training also means lower sales. A recent one opinion poll found that 67 percent of B2B companies that have had a professional sales coaching program in place for at least three years saw high sales growth. But what is important when it comes to further training in digital sales?
Decades of industry experience in large companies is good, but it is no substitute for data-driven insights. Digital interactions with customers are normal today. This makes data that provide essential details about transactions all the more important. In this way, possible weak points can be identified quickly and addressed in a targeted manner – through tailor-made coaching and further training as well as feedback. Solutions that provide real-time insights into interactions and historical developments, but also into trends of the entire sales team, are particularly helpful: Which content appeals to customers the most? Which resources are being ignored? Which communication tools lead to the highest conversion rates?
- 4. Win back customers
Young customers can be reached better via social networks, while offline advertising is more successful with older customers
- 3. Segmentieren
A complete profile is created from the previously determined customer base. Within this profile, the customers are classified in different groups. In the end, it can be deduced from this whether the corporate strategy still fits the current market requirements.
- 2. Identify
Which customers are there? What was the last thing you bought? Is reactivation worthwhile?
- 1. Why is the customer inactive at all?
Has the customer’s consumption behavior changed? Or has the company modified its offer in such a way that it no longer fits the customer’s requirements?
Such solutions help to optimize processes and offer managers a central point of contact that shows the progress of individual employees. Data cannot completely replace soft skills, but using it across the organization can lead to field service effectiveness that is otherwise difficult to achieve.
It’s no secret that equipping sales teams with solutions that lead them to success is an individual investment in growing themselves. However, set goals are easier to achieve when sales managers, trainers and colleagues invest equally in employee success. A data-driven approach enables effective goal setting while also providing insight into individual progress. A coaching plan can also help, which includes measurements of the initial situation, formulated and measurable goals and regular controls.
The majority of sales coaching does not follow a methodical, template-like process that can simply be copied. In order to optimally set up sales, companies should develop a coaching model and equip employees with tools that make it easier for them to interact. Instead of a briefcase full of brochures, digital solutions should be part of the sales model that allow content to be easily customized.
In addition to the generic training courses, there are individual, virtual formats based on the data of the individual employees. Companies that set up a training portal that is available at all times give their employees the opportunity to use this offer when it suits them best. And most importantly: less is more. Well-chosen technologies help avoid having to constantly introduce and learn new applications or processes.
Modern B2B buyers are more impatient today than ever. This means that the added value of a product or service must be quickly visible. A digital approach to training enables companies to prepare sales and marketing teams for the needs of today’s B2B buyers and the new hybrid workplace. Companies can develop further training courses in a targeted manner – right up to individual coaching for individual sales employees. Not only does the model make life easier for sales teams, it also leads to greater customer loyalty and better results.
More about sales:
B2B sales after Corona
8 tips for acquiring new customers
Advantages and disadvantages of (in-) direct sales
Sales in times of corona
What you can do better with indirect sales