What B2B Sales Looks Like after a Pandemic

The past couple of years have been hard on B2B sales teams. COVID-19 changed how we interact with each other, and salespeople felt some of the harshest effects. Working in sales often relies on building personal relationships with your clients and identifying needs through persistent conversations. Now that the majority of the business world has accommodated to working remotely and making purchasing decisions digitally, buyers have learned to rely less on interactions with salespeople. With the burgeoning concept of “passive purchasing,” how can businesses adjust to this new era? 

Balancing Remote Work 

You have more than likely had video calls on platforms like Zoom or Webex by now. It’s a given that sales teams have adjusted to meeting virtually with their clients. As easy as it may seem, remote work creates its own set of challenges salespeople must now overcome. Account executives now have to balance remote workflow apps, digital conferencing, and consecutive meetings with co-workers, on top of everything else that was on their plate before the pandemic.  

Remote work has become commonplace in the business world. Sales representatives can overcome this seemingly un-ending bottleneck by creating a strong workflow, dedicating specific chunks of time to prospecting, then meetings, then client work, and so on. Instead of working sporadically throughout the day, try focusing on task-oriented production.  

Digital Sales Expansion 

As mentioned earlier, B2B sales teams have had to turn to a plethora of digital apps to help accommodate the growing challenges of remote work. Some of these solutions, like automation and coaching software, can be extremely helpful. Other solutions can be more of a burden than a boon.  

As you look to expand your sales team’s digital capabilities, keep in mind the utility and functionality of each solution, and ask yourself the following questions:  

  • What remote work problem is my team facing?  
  • Why is this problem hard for my team to overcome?  
  • Can this problem be solved internally? Or do I need software or an app?  
  • What do I need this software to do, at its bare minimum, to ensure agile workflows?  

If you can keep these questions in mind, building a strong sense of digital sales agility will seem like an easy transition. Yes, there are a lot of solutions out there that can solve your team’s problems but try not to forget the capability of your sales reps. Fixing the human error of any workflow can often fix the entire problem.  

Personalized Prospecting 

Due to the general passiveness of today’s B2B buyer, it’s becoming more important than ever to personalize your prospecting activities to your buyer’s needs. There are, on average, around 40 different competitors in any B2B industry. That means your prospects are inundated with sales interactions throughout the day. In order to stand out, it’s imperative to weave the value of your products into a narrative of how your business can solve their problems.  

In sales prospecting, personalization takes a core aspect of your product and makes it relevant to a prospect’s specific, identified needs. Here are some great ways to personalize your sales activity and help build a stronger narrative.

  1. Use topics that your prospects have shown interest in, specifically from social media. Find a relevant piece of information from their LinkedIn page to tie back to their needs and challenges.  
  1. Identify key decision-making points of interest for your accounts. What are some of the most important factors you can highlight about a product in relation to the specific buyers you’re targeting? 
  1. Assuming your prospects are researching various products in your space, is there any competitor information you can leverage?  

Reliance on Email Interaction

As the business world adjusts to new post-pandemic communication habits, email has become more important than ever. While it’s fairly simple to craft an email that gets your point across, you now also need to stand out among the rest of the noise. A great way to do that is to break down your emailing activity into actionable “chunks.”  

Subject Line – This is the first set of words your buyers see in their inbox. Try to use phrasing that hints at what to expect in the rest of the email. Yes, you can probably get a higher open rate if you use “click-bait” subject lines, but you also run the risk of losing that prospect.  

Introduction – Try and build a quick bridge between you and the prospect. Showing legitimate empathy can be a great start to a conversation. It also encourages the reader to look further into the email as they can now trust that you understand their challenge and role.  

Value proposition – Now you can lead your prospect into the meat of the email. It’s easy to just type up a quick “why you should buy from me” statement and then move on. However, it’s been proven that tying a specific need to a corresponding value is the best way to convert high quality leads from email interactions. Again, you can approach sales emails with brute force and send out countless pitches, but that rarely provides scalable ROI.  

Closing – Finally, you’ll want to try and leave your prospect with an actionable takeaway. What call-to-action are you hoping to get across, and what will they do with that information? A good closing statement to an email will enable the buyer to research further into your business, share their findings with their co-workers, and eventually reach out to you when the timing is right.  

Leading the Sales Team  

COVID-19 has completely changed the framework of how salespeople operate. From day-to-day operations to their client outreach, the difficulty of B2B sales has spiked in the past couple of years. However, these key best practices and topics can help you lead your team through the slew of new communications challenges. As both front-line account executives and manager-level team leaders try to work together, it’s helpful to keep a mindset of humility and understanding.  

You can find out more about how sales is pivoting in our recent benchmark study centered around the impact of AI assisted sales.