B2B is currently at an inflection point where sales leaders are being forced to adopt a digital selling strategy or risk putting themselves at a stark disadvantage that they may never be able to recover from.
Imagine you discover that your roof is leaking after a bad storm. Would you immediately go to ACMERoofRepair.com to schedule someone to come fix it? Probably not. It’s more likely that you would do a Google search to figure out how serious the issue is and whether you needed to patch something up or get a whole new roof. Well…today’s B2B buyer acts in very much the same way. In fact, Forrester has shown that 90% of B2B customers start their journey with digital search. This is clear evidence that if your company doesn’t show up during these online searches at the beginning of the buyer’s journey, you most likely won’t even make the shortlist of vendors to be considered.
This change in the way buyers buy demands that sales leaders transform their approach to one that integrates traditional selling techniques with more modern, digital ones that involve collaborating with all customerfacing functions in a different way especially Marketing. Modern buyers have come to expect a seamless, omnichannel buying experience due to the amazing B2C interactions they experience outside of work with companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Zappos, and more. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. This is why it has become missioncritical for all B2B sales leaders to adopt DigitalFirst SellingTM.
What is Digital-First Selling™?
DigitalFirst SellingTM is a process that leverages digital tools, content, and channels to identify, target, and seamlessly engage buyers throughout their entire buying journey. This approach leads to higher engagement and acceleration of speedto revenue. Its primary objective is to help today’s sellers get into the right conversations, with the right people, at the right time.
Some of the key benefits of adopting this strategy include:
- Improved lead quality
- Reducing sales cycle length
- Growth of inbound leads
- Increased sales rep productivity
- Improved ability to map out and connect with key decisionmakers in the buying group
The Digital-First Selling™ Blueprint
As a sales leader, you must become the change agent for the organization to adopt these new digital selling principles. Here’s how:
Step 1: Understand the Digital-First Buyer Mindset
Increase revenue leaders’ knowledge about how the modern buyer’s preferences have evolved. This can be achieved through activities such as attending workshops, developing a reading list, working with a consultant, and more.
Step 2: Develop a 360-degree View of the Buyer
Connect all sources of customer data (i.e. email, CRM, web leads, etc) to develop a holistic picture of the buyer and establish a single source of truth for the organization.
Step 3: Co-Create a Cross-Functional Revenue Plan
Work across customerfacing functions to gain alignment on the most effective strategy to achieve company revenue and growth goals. This should include agreeing on key gotomarket elements such as product positioning, customer segmentation, ideal customer profile (ICP), product messaging, and more.
This plan should also include a comprehensive path to revenue that starts at the bottom of the sales funnel and works backward to determine the functional contributions ((i.e. marketing qualified leads, conversion rates, etc.) necessary to successfully achieve revenue targets.
Step 4: Orchestrate a Cohesive LeadtoRevenue Process
Map the buyer’s journey based on feedback from actual customers. Ensure the map expands across all customerfacing functions (i.e. marketing, sales, customer service)
Step 5: Develop Buying Interactions that Build Confidence
Identify where gaps exist in content and/or other types of buyer interactions that empower the buyer to progress through the different stages of their buying journey. Ensure each function clearly understands the different stages of the modern buying cycle and how their role can best add value to the customer during each of them.
Step 6: Optimize Digital Selling Tools and the Revenue Tech Stack
Audit both the sales and marketing tech stacks to ensure you have the optimal mix of tech that is right for your business. Also be sure that sales reps have the right digital tools they need to be successful such as video conferencing, sales enablement, automated scheduling, and more.
Step 7: Create a Digital Sales Playbook for Reps
Create a resource that helps sales reps understand how to incorporate all the different selling channels that are available to them in order to have a cohesive conversation with target buyers. There will most likely also be a need for digital sales training.
Step 8: Establish a Formal Feedback Loop
Schedule a consistent cadence of crossfunctional revenue team meetings to focus on pipeline health, sharing business intelligence, and adapting to changing market dynamics.
The shift to digital doesn’t happen overnight. However, the benefits will supercharge your sales team’s ability to target the highest value prospects and close deals faster. Take action today by reviewing this blueprint with your crossfunctional leaders and developing your action plan to thrive in the new normal.