Redefining Enterprise B2B Sales with Hybrid Selling

November 9, 2023 | Dr. Stephen Timme

The state of enterprise B2B sales continues to evolve at a rapid rate. We have witnessed the change in customers increasingly taking control of the selling process to become more informed and empowered. Now comes an enduring change, initially driven by the pandemic, that has led to a notable shift in what buyers demand - hybrid selling.

Gone are the days of primarily one channel for enterprise sales, in-person, and now we have buyers requiring an omni-channel approach to interact with sellers. Consequently, the change has brought new opportunities and challenges for revenue organizations.

This article is the first in a series over the coming months on “Future Proofing Enterprise B2B Sales”, discussing the trends impacting sales teams and predictions on what 2024 has in store for sellers.

A white man with stylish glasses and business casual clothes works on his sales strategy on his cell phone.

Seismic Changes Continue in Enterprise B2B Sales

Hybrid selling is interacting with customers using a combination of online and offline channels. While in-person meetings will always be a part of enterprise selling to meet buyers’ dynamic needs, they now must be augmented by a myriad of channels. These channels can include virtual meetings, social media, webinars, and other digital avenues.

A succinct axiom of hybrid selling is “meeting customers where they want to meet”. This approach differs sharply from in-person selling, which forces customers into one channel for interacting with sellers. Today’s customers seek on-demand, convenient, personalized, and omni-channel engagement as they move through the buying journey.

  • In a McKinsey study, over 70% state they will consider other suppliers if their “core must-haves” are unmet.
  • From the same study, 65% of respondents preferred remote human interactions or digital self-service across the sales journey.
  • Remote sales reps can reach 4X of the accounts in the same amount of time and generate up to 50% more revenue.

The changes forced on society by the pandemic have shown that alternative methods to primarily face-to-face sales communications can be advantageous to both parties.

New Opportunities through Hybrid Selling

Embracing a hybrid selling model opens up many opportunities for your revenue organization. The following are the major benefits of adopting a hybrid sales approach:

  • Greater Flexibility. The changes in enterprise B2B sales have resulted in more informed buyers. To meet these new demands, a hybrid sales approach offers increased flexibility to adapt to their specific needs and requirements. Using various channels, your team can create a tailored buying experience.
  • Reach a Wider Audience. Migrating to hybrid selling increases your reach across more channels to help spread awareness about your brand to new audiences. This can bring in new geographies, buyer segments, or industries to your outreach.
  • Improve Efficiency of the Sales Process. The combination of new technology and strategies can improve the efficiency of your sales group. Reducing travel, utilizing new tools that automate tasks, and streamlining processes can enhance your team’s effectiveness.
  • More Customized Engagement. Hybrid selling and the myriad of channels at your team’s disposal create new opportunities to build a customized experience for a buyer. If performed skillfully, it will increase the likelihood of a successful sales pursuit. Plus, your buyers can easily engage more with your team than in an in-person model.

Challenges in Hybrid Selling

Transforming or even incrementally transitioning to a hybrid selling model involves some significant challenges. The difficulties in adapting to buyers increasingly moving between buying journey stages are now compounded by their moving between channels during the journey.

Seamless Buyer Journey: Creating a seamless customer journey as they move between various channels can be difficult. Previously, enterprise B2B customers had just a couple of sales and marketing touch points that augmented the overwhelming focus on in-person meetings—now they can have over ten.

Balancing Human-Centered and Digital Channels: Finding the right balance between the human factor and digital channels can initially result in some painful interactions with buyers. Ultimately, customers still want a sense that they are working with a person who is collaboratively seeking the best solution for their company.

Internal Systems: Because hybrid selling requires integrating systems that can be housed in different functions, ensuring efficient information flows is critical. This includes eliminating potential data silos and the ability to access aggregated account information. To achieve this, some level of technology investment will likely be required.

New Internal Communication Methods: Adapting to hybrid selling requires not only breaking down channel walls, but also the walls between functions in your organization. No longer can the traditional functions of sales, marketing, customer service, implementation, and other groups operate as standalone functions, but now must be tightly integrated.

Proficiency in Digital and Human-centered Interactions: Lastly, this is the biggest challenge for your internal teams. While some individuals will undoubtedly embrace it and thrive, another set will likely fight against it, and a third element will struggle to master the intricacies required of a hybrid approach. Undoubtedly, it is a change not to be understated and will very likely result in some upheaval in your revenue organization that will have to be managed as part of the broader change.

Crafting a Seamless Hybrid Buying Journey

Customers are not thinking in terms of engaging via discrete channels but are seeking an omni-channel experience from sellers. They want to flow back and forth across multiple channels for an intuitive, seamless, and personalized experience. To achieve this, your team needs to take a customer-centric approach to meet the demands of hybrid selling. 

The following are key takeaways from the internal changes necessary to implement a customer-centric hybrid selling approach in your organization.

  • Coach ‘em Up - With the transformative nature of hybrid selling, sales organizations must ramp up their training of the sales team and all customer-facing groups. New topics, such as remote-specific skills, video sales conversations, virtual negotiations, CRM utilization, and new technology training, must become part of the sales curriculum.
  • Enabling Technology: Crafting a cohesive buying experience entails some technology modifications to eliminate potential data silos and systems not integrated between customer-facing teams. Combining qualitative and quantitative inputs with data from digital customer interactions results in a richer, more timely set of actionable insights.
  • Building Consistent Omni-channel Messaging: A key element in a hybrid selling environment is maintaining the discipline and communications necessary to utilize consistent and compelling messaging. The selling team must create creative and personalized omni-channel messaging for prospects that addresses the client’s top priorities.
  • Fine-tuning the Omni-channel Experience - While keeping the face-to-face experience is essential in enterprise B2B sales due to the large deal sizes, finding the right mix of channel utilization is also critical to success. There are no simple rules, but some companies find in-person meetings crucial when reviewing a proposal, statement of work, or budget review.

Embracing a New Era in Enterprise Sales

The pandemic was the impetus for the transformative change to hybrid selling, helping to remove the paradigm of primarily utilizing in-person selling teams. This change results in new organizational processes, proficiencies, and internal dynamics.

To position your team for success, this change requires continually evaluating the delivered experience to prospects across the buying journey to ensure consistency and customer-centricity. By moving beyond the single-channel mindset, you are not discarding traditional sales techniques but expanding upon them to meet your customer’s needs.

FinListics - Customer-centric and Insight-based Selling Experts

Adopting a hybrid selling approach requires a transformative journey for your sales and customer-facing teams. FinListics offers a range of tools and services to help enterprise B2B teams meet the demands of hybrid selling.

To speak with one of our enterprise B2B selling experts and receive a free demo, please contact us today.


Posted in Selling Strategies