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B2B Sales to Remain Hybrid in the Future

“Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.” This is a famous quote by George Penn, vice president, executive, and advisor for Gartner’s human resources (HR) department. In other words, a hybrid workplace combines features of both digital and remote working methods, which enables businesses and employees to create long-term, sustainable plans rather than making short-term changes that don’t promote success in the long run.

B2B Sales: Then & Now

B2B is an acronym for business-to-business and B2B sales are sales when one business sells a solution to another. But the traditional B2B sales methods have lost their efficacy due to the changing markets over the past few years, especially during the post-pandemic period. Previously, in an organization’s sales process, the marketing team led lead generation for the sales funnel. The sales team oversaw transferring those leads into a sales pipeline and finally converting them into sales.

Today, the purchase process of an organization has undergone a significant transformation. Each buyer’s journey is unique due to access to a plethora of information via the internet. Consumers base their purchases on internal research ranging from Google search to scouring numerous other websites to interacting with sellers online.

According to the statistics by McKinsey & Company below, most B2B seller interaction has shifted to digital, self-service and remote human interaction from the traditional B2B sales processes and channels. This is in response to the changing needs of today’s customers.

Digital and remote human engagement is replacing traditional sales channels and processes in B2B sales.
The shift in B2B seller interaction away from conventional sales channels and processes and towards digital and remote human interaction.

Sales Shift from Conventional to Hybrid: Pre-Pandemic & Post-Pandemic

B2B customers today want the ideal balance of in-person interactions, remote communication via phone or video, and self-service through e-commerce sites. Therefore, B2B firms must transition from “conventional” and “internal” sales to “hybrid” ones to adapt to this new dynamic and alter their sales methods while keeping customers’ needs in mind.

Decision-makers in every nation polled globally have embraced the change to digital and remote involvement, making it a global phenomenon. In the early days of COVID-19, B2B sales leaders were “forced” to adopt digital means in response to the widespread shutdowns. Now, however, they are becoming more and more convinced that digital is the way to go. In India, confidence in the viability of the digital sales model has only increased, as observed from the graph below.

Digital sales models are becoming more accepted in India.
India continues to witness a rise in acceptance of the viability of digital sales models.

Prior to 2020, almost all B2B sales of complicated solutions and services were made in person. The COVID-19 epidemic caused all this to shift. The pandemic had a lasting impact on B2B sales. By adopting a hybrid strategy, businesses can continue to forge strong, reliable bonds with their leads and customers while also enhancing the sales cycle with more effective digital tools and platforms. For sellers, hybrid sales provide more flexibility and customers are also drawn to it as they also prefer prompt and remote interactivity.

B2B selling is not returning to its pre-pandemic state, like so many other facets of work. Very few B2B buyers prefer returning to conventional sales models. By 2024, hybrid selling will be able to generate 50% more revenue than traditional sales methods.

An Omnichannel Approach

An omnichannel approach to B2B sales is necessary for hybrid sales and will continue to benefit businesses for decades to come. Omnichannel outreach entails interacting, promoting, and following up with customers in person, over the phone, and online.

The Economic Times reported that during lockdown months, the share of eCommerce sales increased by 30–40%. The significant increase in e-commerce sales, according to retailers, is probably going to be a permanent change for their business as they attempt to grow through the omnichannel model by opening all of their storefronts to online sales.

Among the top three countries for omnichannel adoption is India.
India ranks in the top three for omnichannel adoption.

Based on the graph, respondents at B2B companies in Brazil, China, and India are far more likely to indicate they are happy with the performance of their sales approach.

A hybrid sales model for B2B sales fundamentally combines digital and in-person outreach. By using omnichannel outreach to communicate with sales leads and deliver information about a product or service, hybrid sales models respond to a customer’s choice for digital interaction.  A sales staff contacts the prospective customer to follow up in person, via digital channels (like email), over the phone, or by utilizing a combination of all three. A specialized sales team is assigned to “follow up” with potential clients via email, chat, and in-person meetings. Hybrid selling is adaptable, scalable, and usually more profitable. A method to lead outreach that smoothly combines digital forms of contact with the personal touch of an in-person sales team is the ultimate objective of a hybrid sales model.

Conclusion

Due to salespeople’s ongoing virtual acculturation, hybrid sales will be a work in progress. Since change is difficult, sales leaders must be emphatic about why they are operating in this hybrid market in a different way and show empathy for their direct reports as they undergo the transition. Sales professionals need to be skilled at utilizing all communication modes to succeed in a hybrid sales model. They must be able to meet the customer where they like to communicate throughout the sales cycle. Social skills like reading body language and having an executive presence are still crucial in a hybrid sales environment. There is no going back to the outdated methods utilized by sales companies to generate leads and acquire clients. The pandemic accelerated long-brewing technological developments and changes in people, and these transformations have permanently altered how we conduct and ought to conduct business.

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