5 Strategies to look at. Command and Control will not work.
By Ramdas Shenoy
We all went online in the COVID world. Online became the new normal. Yesterday, being the old me, when I got down from a Uber, I was not having cash, and the cab driver immediately asked me to use Google Pay. The new sales person is forced to do remote sales and when I asked some of my friends who are business owners, COVID surprisingly was a good sales period for many. Customers have become tech savvy and many sales are becoming digital, slowly we are moving towards hybrid models.
The present scene under the new normal of ‘business as usual’ in spite of Ukraine-Russia conflict, the great resignation, the new global slowdown, all calling for an urgent need for change. The situation is challenging, yet exciting; some companies are using the macroeconomic environment to their advantage to leapfrog competitors. Leading companies are seizing the opportunity and taking action, with great success.
You would have often heard that ‘nothing is permanent except change’ but when we spoke to some business leaders, we concluded with some scenarios of B2B sales in the future.
1. The digital experience calls for better UX even in the B2B world and the customers are expecting personalized experience which was earlier limited to end users.Even in B2B sales customers are looking for performance guarantee. Customer service has to be real time. Even B2B customers do not like to wait
The status of the order should be available online. The customers have many touch points and all the information gathered from the touch points should be used to improve the overall experience of the customer. Business analytics is the new animal that needs to be tamed to understand and improve the engagement with the customer.
CRM tools are no longer a fashion statement – to have, but are important to understand the buying behaviour to plan your business cycle accordingly. Business decisions which are fuelled by AI, have become more prescriptive from earlier predictive model. Even communication design is customised with the use of tech, to cater to the person concerned.
2.From cars to employee attendance, everything is going Hybrid. In today’s context one cannot stick to one channel….the idea is to have a Hybrid channel model.
You need to build different ways to reach your customers—conventional channel partners, the influencer community, e-commerce route and others. It all depends on how your customer wants to buy the product.
Even in a B2B channel space, customers are preferring remote interactions and even digital self-service. Sales is happening in the digital route, with more than 2/3rd of sales happening in the hybrid mode. What is happening is that now even an Inside sales executive is able to close the sales and it has also help reduce the cost of sales.
Earlier influencers played a role only in the B2C space, but now in the B2B world too, incentives can be offered to the referrers. Even B2B brands are appointing brand ambassadors to influence say, more towards influencing a buying decision.
Now you also create communities for thought leadership on social media from technology to management practices to recruitment.
3. Teams to work together to boost your sales. Sales will not be confined to sales function, but organizations will win orders as a team, where sales(obviously), marketing, product, technology, finance and support together will weave the offering. CRM technologies will be the new requisite for most organizations. Martech will be the new normal. Everyone will be interested in the end results and not how you have achieved it. The decisions will be data driven and best practices have to be followed without any debate.
Gone are the days of the traditional sales guy, who believed in only pushing numbers, but needs to know and map the customers across the board. More than IQ and EQ, you need to have eQ- which is empathy quotient. You will have to be in customer’s shoes to understand his pain points, breathe his problems and then see how your solution will give him an advantage.
4.Today the customer is well informed, use of digital technology is no more an hindrance. From students to teachers to the common man, people are now used to getting trained online. Talent management and development has new challenges and calls for new ways to attract, retain and train talent. The idea is to focus on the business outcome and sales becomes a by-product. Happiness has become an important factor for organization’s growth. Talent management also calls for re-skilling front line sales guys with leadership skills. The new age generation looks for immediate gratification, but also needs a long term strategic incentive.
5. Create a success model which you can duplicate the success. You need to better manage the knowledge cell and learn from the learnings for building a sustainable business. Many organizations miss this point and keep inventing wheels when they already have a knowledge resource, but without proper documentation, the organization misses an important element of the organization.
Ramdas Shenoy is Partner at Soul Catalysts, He is Director at GetSet Labs, Director at Blue 24 Media and Marketing Solutions. He is Founder of Media portal www.stirfryMBA.com. The author wishes to thank Mr. PK Krishnaprasad from SymphonyTech, Mr.Sanjay Jha from Mahindra First Choice, Mr. Subrato Mazumdar from Indus Towers.