As a consequence of the pandemic, we have all, particularly in our private lives, got used to doing more things, including buying and selling, via the use of digital technology. Some commentators say that we have seen an increase in the use of digital technology over the last 12 months that would have typically taken around five years to have achieved without the pandemic.
What does this mean for businesses? Well, in the B2C space, it is clear that in some sectors, but not all (think leisure, air transport), the move to digital means of selling and developing relationships with customers has been rapid, and, seemingly successful. The local restaurant who has developed a delivery service (either independently or via Deliveroo/Just Eat etc) or has worked with its suppliers to offer veg boxes to customers in an attempt to continue to engage and generate revenue.
For B2B companies, there was a slightly different challenge. Specifically, as sales forces were increasingly barred from visiting both existing and potential customers, the challenge was to be able to develop new, digitally based skills to maintain/develop relationships and generate orders/cash for their businesses.
So, now that the Covid rules are starting to relax, will that mean that sales teams will be able to go back to face-to-face contact? Whilst it is too soon to answer the question categorically, some evidence is emerging to suggest that customers rather like the new digital way of engaging with sales teams.
Research carried out by the consulting firm McKinsey suggest that B2B customers want to retain an element of digital contact in addition to welcoming some face-to-face engagement. When considering the three main marketing channels by which B2B customers engage with suppliers, McKinsey found that approximately 68% of respondents preferred remote contact (either remote interactions with real people or through the use of digital self-service) compared to 32% wanting face-to-face engagement. 1
Thus, businesses need to be able to operate across a number of different, yet aligned, marketing channels to maintain and develop their relationships and cashflows with their existing and potential customers.
How can this be done? Starting with the assumption that this multi-channel strategy is here to stay, businesses should consider the skills and attitudes of their existing sales force to determine the extent to which they can operate in such an environment. If some can not, then what technical competences do they need to acquire and, once acquired, what is the likelihood that they will be able to function productively?
These are crucial questions to consider because, from the starting point of these three articles, what got you here might not be able to get you there.
Reach Revenue works with business owners, leaders and investors to develop high performing sales and marketing teams aligned to the strategic objectives of their business. To find out how we can help you, please call 0203 858 8030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org