Selling in the Digital Age

July 30, 2019 | Melody Astley

AI financial technology

Remaining relevant in a digital world is one of the most significant challenges facing organizations today. As 2020 approaches, more B2B companies are investing in attempts to capture online interactions and are adapting the way they sell.

Through the information obtained in the form of data and analytics, sales organizations are hoping to extract informative insights into the buying behaviors of their buyers and customers. The solution? Tapping into AI and IoT as the answer to gathering customer information quickly and efficiently.

Impact of AI & IoT on B2B Sales

How do AI and IoT trends impact B2B sales? The answer is two-fold, it changes buying habits, and it depends on what type of salesperson you are. As the digital age continues to spread its footprint, buyer personas have changed in an impactful way.

Decision-makers are analytically driven and want to see data and business cases that are meaningful to them. Impacted by more stakeholders and staff than ever before, it takes a knowledgeable sales professional who truly understands a prospects business and pain points. One willing to dig deep into a prospect’s business and conduct peer comparisons to close deals with today’s buyers.

Most sales professionals have found themselves looking to expand their sales process through advanced training. Many of the changes are due to internal processes within marketing and sales. The emphasis is on aligning sales and marketing methodologies, enabling companies to be more digitally efficient with their marketing and sales efforts, and producing leads. Businesses and sellers are becoming driven by the digital transformation changing the landscape of how organizations conduct business and how they purchase solutions.

The Evolving Buyer’s Journey

At the risk of being a buzzkill, there is something amiss about all of this, which isn’t great news for everyone.  Automation has all but replaced the traditional order takers with self-service portals. Gone are the days when salespeople call on customers to personally fulfill orders.

As company websites become sophisticated and compelling, potential buyers don’t need or want feature functions explained to them anymore. Instead, impactful websites now provide these things in the form of how-to videos, detailed facts, and user-generated content. With technology expanding and getting better at explaining things, buyers don’t need sellers to explain their solutions.

For some, the change toward an automated sales process can bring up feelings of dread. However, it should not be viewed that way – queue in the role of the trusted advisor.

Buyers are looking for sophisticated sellers who can serve in an advisory role. These are people who explain abstract concepts, sell solutions, and build relationships. These professionals reside in a different space than the traditional sales rep. The sales advisor has positioned themselves with digital tools and industry knowledge to provide business insight.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020

The following research conducted by Gartner provides a glimpse into industry trends in 2020.

  1. Estimates predict 30 percent of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to augment at least one of their primary sales processes. Sales fueled by AI allows for more efficiency and effectiveness in business processes, with up to 30 percent higher conversion rates when engaging prospects or leads. Automation and AI are becoming attractive alternatives for sales organizations producing high volumes of lead processing and forecasting processes. It provides them with fast and accurate support when performing the different sales stages.

 

  1. Experts believe more than 40 percent of data analytics projects will relate to at least one aspect of customer experience. Data and analytics are already prominent across marketing, sales, digital commerce, customer service, social media management, and field service departments. Missing from the algorithms is the understanding of the customer’s attitude toward the majority of their solutions. What matters the most is not the customer’s attitude about a business or the technology they are selling, but the level of trust they have in the organization as a whole and their likely intent to remain loyal over time.

 

  1. Plan on augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality solutions to be assessed and purchased in 20 percent of large enterprises as part of their digital transformation strategy. Using these solutions, organizations expect to provide employees, customers, and suppliers with a means to obtain real-time information, experience virtual environments, and engage in social collaboration.

 

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF SALES PROFESSIONALS?

Sellers who have embraced the digital age are predicted to survive the changing sales landscape. They understand the importance of sales solutions that support digital transformation, and they know the importance of adopting new sales processes to integrate into the world of AI and IoT. These sellers enter into C-Suite offices and offer solutions to pain points. Solutions that increase efficiency while growing top-line growth for their customers.

 

Wondering how to ensure your business is ready for the new wave? See if your business has what it takes to adapt to the new generation.

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