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How Digital Transformation Changes B2B Sales

 

According to McKinsey, 65% of B2B decision-makers claim that remote selling models serve them better than traditional ones. On the other hand, Gartner reports that business customers who had no contact with sales reps regret their purchase more often.

There is no turning back from digitalization, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. In this article, we’ll discuss how digital transformation influences B2B sales and what you can do to make digitalized selling more effective.

IT Systems and Tools Integration

Most companies operate on multiple systems and use many databases in their daily business routines. The main problem of this approach is the lack of communication between those systems and the people who use them.

Digital transformation forces this approach to change. Efficient information exchange is essential to ensuring an outstanding customer experience. By integrating the systems supporting eCommerce (like content management systems (CMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), product information management (PIM), marketing automation (MA), etc.), you can easily share valuable data between different departments.

For example, integrating an eCommerce platform with:

  • ERP can help to distribute sales commissions fairly among sales reps and increase their motivation to use online channels.
  • CRM can support collecting data about customers and provide it to the sales team.
  • PIM can provide complete product information, which saves customers' time and helps them make a purchase decision.

Systems integrations can solve many problems caused by silo-like organizations' structures and make eCommerce more useful to sales teams. It can boost online sales and help build an organizational culture focused on cooperation and sharing knowledge.

Multidisciplinary Sales Teams

B2B customers are not an easy target. They demand an experience similar the B2C market – more automation, self-service solutions, and better experiences. At the same time, they want all of this to be matched with their specific business needs and complicated purchase processes.

Those demands and needs are forcing companies to reinvent their sales teams. Managing customer journeys, including significant touchpoints and multiple sales channels, requires cooperation between many departments. It leads to creating new multidisciplinary teams, including people with different skills like sales reps, marketing experts, technical developers, etc.

Such teams should have the knowledge and resources to redesign ineffective processes. For example, they could identify factors that lead customers to abandon their cart – or, quite the opposite, that move customers to close high-value transactions. Then they could find technological solutions to  automate interventions in such critical situations.

Automation with a Human Touch

Another consequence of digital transformation is increasingly advanced automation. A data-driven business approach supported with machine learning, artificial intelligence, etc. allows companies to automate ever more processes. Some studies estimate that up to 40% of sales tasks can be done without human engagement. But this does not mean we no longer need skilled salespeople.

B2B customers want to easily and quickly make simple purchases using eCommerce platforms. However, they still appreciate human help when dealing with complicated products or services. Algorithms can identify those moments and let salespeople intervene only when needed. This relieves reps from repetitive tasks and allows them to focus only on high-value moments. Moreover, reliable data can help close the B2B customer experience gap – the difference between the B2C experiences people know and what they get when making B2B purchases.

In any case, the purpose of automation is not to replace people; it’s to support them. By merging automation with a human touch, companies can reach digital maturity and succeed in B2B eCommerce.

Emphasize the Human Element of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation requires companies to implement, adjust, and integrate many IT systems, digital tools, and automation algorithms. When properly carried out, it can increase profits and reduce costs. Still, there’s also the possibility that digital transformation initiatives could make employees feel threatened. This is especially true when leadership does not explain and justify the new technologies' role.

Therefore, companies must put humans at the center of all those changes to reach digital maturity. By taking care of employees' experiences and reinventing the outdated processes, organizations can open themselves up to change and thus succeed in the digital market.