B2B Buyers Journey

Unpacking the Post-Pandemic Omni-Channel Experience

From a B2B sales perspective, the pandemic is, for all intents and purposes, over. Organizations have shifted from the disruption of 2020 and 2021, and teams have developed resilient practices to overcome potential challenges.

But one practice in particular has gained so much traction among B2B sales and marketing teams, it’s now considered a must-have strategy for organizations looking to unlock opportunities for additional revenue. And that practice, ladies and gentlemen, is omni-channel selling.

Right in the thick of a global pandemic, in-person engagements fell by the wayside, making the long standard for B2B sales an indefinite impossibility. Hence, B2B sales and marketing teams had to make do, opting to use video conferencing technology and digital communication channels to continue the lead nurturing process.

But now, those same digital touchpoints—first deemed temporary band-aids for human interaction—have become strategic must-haves for sales and marketing teams looking to engage customers along any point of the buyer’s journey.

Even companies that have made the transition back to field sales have made sure to incorporate digital-first selling into their existing revenue model.

Ultimately, that’s good news for everyone, B2B teams and customers alike.

The Beauty of Omni-Channel Selling

Recent research from McKinsey shows a full two-thirds of B2B buyers prefer remote human or digital self-service interactions throughout the customer journey. Even more compelling, perhaps, is the business perspective: more than nine in 10 B2B companies say their omni-channel go-to-market strategy is just as, if not more effective, than their pre-pandemic sales model. Here’s why:

The success of omni-channel selling isn’t founded on the premise of providing transformative customer experiences that wow B2B buyers. Instead, it’s built on the idea of creating a seamless experience across all customer-facing channels. That way, prospective buyers receive a cohesive customer experience that blurs the boundaries between channels, which allows companies more frictionless opportunities for conversion.

Ultimately, the post-pandemic omni-channel sales model puts the customer in the driver’s seat, making it a self-guided journey from the initial start of the buying process. B2B sales teams, meanwhile, strategically orchestrate contact at specific touchpoints along the way, providing actionable and strategic advice, establishing expertise, and building trust. 

Curious to learn how you can implement an effective omni-channel strategy for your B2B business? Here are four key tips to consider:

Omni-channel selling puts the customer in the driver’s seat of their own buyer’s journey.
Omni-channel selling puts the customer in the driver’s seat of their own buyer’s journey.

1. Go Where Your Customers Are

Our digital lives are rich and multi-faceted, and everyone consumes information differently. One of the differentiating factors between multi-channel sales and omni-channel sales is the number of channels B2B suppliers tap into. 

For a truly omni-channel process, B2B brands should leverage most, if not all, of the channels on which target customers remain active. And unsurprisingly, that number continues to grow year over year. In fact, it’s doubled since 2016, from an average of five to 10, according to McKinsey.

So, what channels should B2B teams focus on? To help, here’s a list of the most-used channels among B2B sales and marketing teams today:

  • Email
  • In-person
  • Phone
  • Supplier website
  • Procurement department
  • Mobile app
  • E-procurement portal
  • Video conference
  • Web chat
  • Google/web search
  • Social media

Additionally, it’s important to mention the growing significance of B2B social media marketing, as customers not only rely on more customary methods of engagement (i.e., phone, email, website contact forms); they also leverage social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to identify potential vendors and facilitate outreach.

2. Orchestrate Experience

Another key differentiation between multi-channel and omni-channel selling comes through orchestration and consistency. An omni-channel approach ensures an integrated experience across diverse touchpoints, so no matter what means of communication a prospective buyer uses, the information gleaned from those interactions should be consistent, cohesive, and speak to the needs of target customers. More importantly, B2B teams can capture and record engagement data across all touchpoints, which can then be used to develop more contextually relevant conversations with purchase-intent customers.

CRM systems and marketing tools can enable this kind of rich orchestration, but ultimately, any system is only as good as the data one feeds it. Proper integration and implementation is necessary to connect all systems and channels for a truly seamless experience. 

3. Enable Buyer Research

The B2B buyer’s journey is now almost completely self-driven and self-paced. And as vendors flood the web with digital content for research (think webinars, white papers, case studies, podcasts, etc.) customers often feel overwhelmed with the huge amount of material to sift through.

The key to competing on the buyer enablement stage is two-fold: First, organizations need to create content and thought leadership strategies that provide customers and prospects with all of the information possible to make a confident purchase. 

Second, that content needs to be delivered in a thoughtful way and at the right inflection points along the buyer’s journey. By adding in elements of account-based marketing strategies, B2B organizations can serve the right content to the right prospects on the right channels at just the right time.

4. Reach the Right People

Despite best efforts, an omni-channel strategy will still fall flat if B2B sales and marketing teams fail to target the right people. Tapping into intent signals, segmentation, and lead prioritization can help teams identify ideal prospects with the most propensity to buy, which not only pads pipelines, but also allows for smarter omni-channel messaging across the buyer’s journey. 

More than 90% of B2B companies say their omni-channel strategy is just as effective as their pre-pandemic approach.
More than 90% of B2B companies say their omni-channel strategy is just as effective as their pre-pandemic approach.

Summary

In a post-pandemic world, omni-channel selling is the clearest path to growth for B2B organizations, and it’s almost universally preferred among customers. Executing it effectively, however, requires a strategic approach that balances digital-first and traditional means while ceding control to customers and letting them create their own pathways. The numbers speak for themselves: B2B organizations that enable omni-channel purchasing gain more market share, faster

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Are you interested in learning more about the new mandate for post-pandemic B2B selling? Get yourself a copy of our newest benchmark report, “Post-Pandemic Culture and the Impact on B2B Sales & Marketing.”