How Technology Is Transforming the Sales Team
At the onset of the pandemic, the world became virtual almost overnight. That seismic shift quickly embedded itself into the new normal for many B2B companies, who now embrace remote-hybrid work models for globally distributed teams. As the digital-first workplace becomes more widespread, sellers are evolving how they sell and new technology is facilitating the rapid transformation of the traditional B2B sales environment.
In order to stay relevant, companies are embracing the latest technology to accelerate sales conversions, including shared content platforms, social media, engaging video, AI, and the metaverse. At the same time, B2B sellers need to deliver insight-led, relevant content that captivates buyers’ interest and drives conversations forward—without dependence on proximity.
Shared Content Platform
Organizations can utilize technology to fill gaps in the sales funnel, but it’s necessary to have one central location—and single source of truth—for all materials. A robust platform for all content, buyer engagement, onboarding, training, and coaching, accessible across multiple departments, creates streamlined processes and greater efficiency. With more collaborative tools, revenue-facing teams will ensure improved buyer outcomes.
When the sales, marketing, and customer success teams are all aligned, they can personalize the customer experience. Across different functionalities of the business when everyone has access to marketing-approved content in one shared platform, sales reps can customize and build tailored, creative go-to content to engage the buyer.
Digital-First Buyer-Led Approach
When it comes to sales motions, sellers must place buyers at the center of their experience and ensure that all their needs are met in order to convert them and build loyalty. Companies who employ a digital-first or hybrid approach are seeing clear benefits; 86 percent of salespeople say that digital sales have boosted revenues over the past year for their company, according to Showpad’s State of Selling Survey.
B2B buyers expect their experiences to be more aligned to B2C customer experiences where sellers provide tailored content and can anticipate their needs from the onset. With the right sales tools and platforms at their disposal, sales reps will be able to drive buyer-led experiences that steer buyers through an intriguing customer journey, from initial engagement to closing. Companies who utilize digital, collaborative, and insights-driven initiatives in selling will win out in the end.
Rise of AI
In sales, nothing can be more insightful than the conversations sellers have with their customers. With each conversation, critical details about the seller’s target audience can be understood and utilized and it’s important to document these conversations for others to learn from. Data intelligence introduces a convenient way to document customer intent, sentiment, and pain points. Collected data from sales meetings provides contextualized feedback so sales reps can understand which talk tracks win deals and which content supports the sales conversation best.
AI isn’t going anywhere and will increasingly lead to better sales enablement. The sooner an organization implements AI solutions and the more broadly they’re applied, the better they work. AI helps by automating the process based on behavioral trends and uncovering effective next steps while providing full-funnel visibility for sales managers. Effective selling tools constantly measure past performance and leverage results based on hard data to provide optimal ROI. The more accurate the data, the more effective sales reps can be at closing deals.
Embracing the Metaverse
For the first time, buyer preferences indicate that businesses must embrace the metaverse and augmented reality in order to get ahead and future-proof the B2B sales experience. Furthermore, almost two-thirds (59 percent) of the buyers Showpad surveyed say they committed to a purchase after seeing a demo in the metaverse or with augmented reality. The rise of the metaverse signifies a shift toward a digital world equivalent to the one we are used to interacting in. We’ll continue to see more immersive experiences and technologies, collaborative spaces and products, new social networks, as well the use of VR and AR adoption.
Personalized Video Recordings
There will always be a place for meetings in person, but when time is a buyer’s most precious commodity, it’s incumbent on technology to drive efficiencies. Sellers stand out from competitors and entice buyers in more engaging ways, for example through video, to have more productive interactions.
With prerecorded, personalized videos, sellers can utilize asynchronous communication to enhance the buyer experience. Buyers can review the videos on their own time, driving efficiency. This allows buyers to gain a better understanding of the sales content in a more holistic way at their own convenience. Video can also help to circumvent the labor of attempting to schedule multiple sales meetings across an increasingly busy cohort of stakeholders—who instead can tune in to the pre-record at a time that best suits them.
The role of social media in sales will be crucial as sellers look to customize the buying experience. Social advertising is financially accessible and scalable, allowing businesses to test and refine what engages potential buyers. It can be used as a key sales channel, targeted at specific demographics—such as those in particular sectors or with certain job titles—depending on the social platform. Sellers can also build up their personal brand on social media channels, including LinkedIn or Twitter, to engage with customers where they are. In fact, 75 percent of B2B buyers are influenced by social media during the buying process, so it’s ample time for salespeople to step up their social media presence and visibility.
According to buyers, this is the future, and they anticipate the role of social media in sales to increase over the next five years. Buyers expect that, in just half a decade, 28 percent of all purchases will be made through either social media, the metaverse, or with the aid of augmented reality.
Sales have rapidly evolved over the past few years with these technological advances. Embracing digital technology, adopting automation, and investing in the metaverse empowers sellers to fully embrace owning the buyer relationship and driving prompt deal closures. Organizations that are able to adopt cutting-edge technology into the B2B sales process will edge out the competition and will be better equipped to grow revenue, even against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty and the increased likelihood of a global recession.
Hendrik Isebaert is CEO of Showpad. Isebaert has worked in leadership positions across Showpad’s dual headquarters in the U.S. and Belgium. Prior to his appointment to CEO, Hendrik spent two years as COO, where he was responsible for the full customer journey, from prospect to close to upsell and renewal. He oversaw Showpad’s global sales, customer success, professional services, partnerships, revenue operations, and enablement, and refocused Showpad’s GTM strategy road map. Isebaert also previously served as chief of staff, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and SVP of revenue globally. Prior to Showpad, Isebaert held positions at Bain & Company and Procter & Gamble.