When B2B customers want to go digital—or not

30. August 2017

In B2B, products and services are not always self-explanatory, and this is one reason why many vendors have been slow to make significant investments in online sales channels. They often focus on a qualified salesforce to explain their complex solutions face-to-face to their customers.

But new research by McKinsey indicates that B2B suppliers cannot choose between a great sales force and great digital assets and capabilities. To drive growth, they need both.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Industry sector is not a factor. What determines the channel of choice is whether or not the buyer is making a first-time purchase.
  • The majority of buyers still asks for the expertise of a salesperson when making about first-time purchase decisions.
  • Online functionality will have to meet expectations for speed set in the B2C world. Buyers are frustrated if they cannot complete a repeat-order easily.
  • Be they online or off, B2B buyers want an immediate response. Slow response times are by far the biggest frustration for buyers, bigger even than pricing issues!

Investments in digital assets will indirectly help the sales force meet customer needs, freeing them up from dealing with routine inquiries. So, they can devote time to help customers with more complex needs, as well as seeking out new customers.

Relatively simple tools will help salespeople directly, for instance to track customers’ previous questions and help anticipate needs. Virtual product demonstrations on a tablet will assist in a sale. Customer-segmentation and value-proposition engines help sales representatives build tailored offers in the field that quantify the value for the customer. And as in the online world, advanced analytics can prompt buy recommendations.

MerkenMerken

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