The COVID-19 pandemic forced B2B buyers and sellers to go digital in a massive way. What started out as a crisis response has now become the next normal. There will be big implications for how buyers and sellers will do business in the future.
The way we conduct business has changed in a drastic way as a direct result of the pandemic. The consumer side of this fundamental shift in behavior tends to receive a majority of coverage across various media outlets. Similarly, the evolution that has been occurring beneath the surface is pointing towards even bigger changes in the realm of B2B buying.
B2B marketing is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from consumer marketing, a trend further accelerated by the pandemic. So, what are the new trends B2B marketers are seeing in 2022?
Getting personal is no longer taboo
Lockdowns and working from home blurred the divide between our professional and personal lives. As our partners became our deskmates, so did pets, kids, and the neighborhood construction crew.
Disruptions that were traditionally inappropriate in a business setting became very tolerable, very quickly. Prior to the pandemic, 62% of employees believed having loud conversations around others was a violation of workplace etiquette. After just 12 months, that number dropped to 16%.
Savvy sales teams should build on this integration between the personal and professional. By bringing personal experiences and a little dose of reality into sales messaging, you can cut to the connection quickly.
Pandemic has transformed the B2B model
The pandemic has ‘digitized’ B2B client engagement for good. The restrictions on travel and savings on daily commute time to and from the office have freed up time for enhanced client coverage and improved sales productivity.
Video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco’s Webex have allowed connecting with a wider swathe of clients. The rapid adoption of these platforms for webinars and e-conferences has also kept networking alive. It has also helped in building thought leadership, establishing connections, and remaining top of mind with one’s clients. Last but not least, with employees working remotely, digital contracting tools like DocuSign have become the go-to solution for closing deals and getting clients on board.
Shift to remote or digital channels
Over the past couple of decades, while consumer-facing business operations have experienced a marked diversification out of brick-and-mortar and towards digital, the bulk of B2B commerce has remained largely unchanged.
Sure, most companies have a website and e-mail for communication. However, the vast majority of marketing, sales, services, consultations, and negotiations all still happened in face-to-face settings.
Increase in online order values
The disruption of travel and lack of congregation has affected the ways in which companies conduct business internally. It has also had a direct impact on the way sales are attained. Online order values have seen a parabolic spike across all industries. This has resulted in a need for organizations to allocate more resources towards their e-commerce operations as well as increased automation of the entire sales process.
Businesses have had to adapt to allow even the largest of transactions to be processed via online ordering. The automation of the sales process allows businesses to be able to keep up with customer demand while conserving their own resources.
Customer touchpoints have changed
The ways customers interact with your brand have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital channels such as social media and search engine results pages have become increasingly important for businesses. That trend is reflected in the increased interest in digital marketing.
Many companies were forced to make an immediate transition to digital marketing to survive. The change has forced people to develop new skill sets. Companies have been forced to master digital marketing channels or hire people with experience in digital marketing.
That shift in the way businesses approaches marketing could be permanent. As economies slowly pick up, expect increased competition across digital channels as marketers funnel more money into various forms of online advertising.
it’s time sales leaders think about what B2B sales might look like in a post-COVID world. We’ve witnessed a fundamental shift in how we all communicate at work. The sales teams that anticipate and meet the new landscape will be the ones who win.