COVID-19 pandemic caused a major transition to remote work. Teams and companies had to come together to form new norms and learn to collaborate in new ways. B2B sales teams are facing an additional challenge in this new remote environment.
In addition to maintaining productivity when working with their colleagues, B2B sellers must build and develop business connections and progress their sales cycles with potential customers. The approaches that worked well in the past – such as onsite visits, business lunches and dinners, conferences – can not be applied anymore. Many sales leaders believe that their teams’ ability to make customer connections, develop trust, have casual and open conversations with their customers has been significantly impaired.
While B2B sales leaders have their concerns, can virtual B2B selling be a viable long-term model? BAIN & COMPANY believes that virtual B2B selling is here to stay as it offers several meaningful advantages such as greater effectiveness, improved customer experience, higher sales productivity, and reduced cost.
A recent BAIN & COMPANY survey, powered by Dynata, of more than 300 B2B buyers and sellers helps dispel some common misconceptions about virtual B2B selling:
- 50% of sales interactions were virtual even before the pandemic due to faster communication and cost-effectiveness
- 75% of buyers and 54% of sellers agreed or were neutral that virtual is as effective for complex products
- 35% of respondents have bought or sold products priced over $500,000 virtually
- 80% of buyers and sellers believe there will be a sustained increase in virtual interactions
While these findings are encouraging, many questions remain open. How to engage and provide differentiated virtual experience to a potential customer? How to build trust in the remote environment? How to help customers get more comfortable making a big decision without meeting their vendor in-person?
What are the implications for B2B Sales teams?
B2B sellers must adapt old strategies and learn to nurture relationships virtually. We recommend using shared virtual experiences as an effective approach for strengthening connections and trust with the customers in the new remote environment.