Fight or Flight. It’s the primal human response that occurs when faced with a harmful or threatening event. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries and professionals to make quick transitions to fight this challenge, or take flight and let the pandemic win. The B2B sales industry was no exception. According to a study by Business2Community, COVID-19 has caused a 73.9% decrease in B2B sales opportunities. How has the industry fought this harsh reality?
B2B sales went digital and, more importantly, adopted sales technology to not only assist with this transition, but also gain insights, advice and enhance productivity during this time of crucial change. Sales technology provided the tools the B2B industry needed to stand up to the fight. But finding success through the use of sales technology took place in phases.
According to McKinsey and Company, the three phases of the COVID response for the sales industry are:
- Navigating the Crisis
- Preparing for Recovery
- Reimagining the Next “Normal’
Each phase has played a crucial role in the efforts we have seen from sales technology through the COVID-era so far. Let’s take a closer look at how each breaks down:
Phase 1: Navigating the Crisis
The first step to any response is surveying the damage and navigating through it. That’s exactly what vidREACH did beginning in late March 2020. In sales, human interaction is a core component, and finding a way to imitate that in a virtual setting was necessary for the sales industry to achieve long-term success. According to a study by Google, 64% of B2B buyers have increased their use of online video. Seeing this drastic increase affirmed the need for video sales technology as B2B sales teams navigate this crisis.
vidREACH, a video email and sales engagement platform, introduced vidREACH Individual. CEO Sean Gordon told MediaPost this product assists sales teams in achieving “enhanced human-to-human connections straight from a phone or video email solution to help sales teams improve engagement with customers and prospects.” Core features include the ability to send, track engagement analytics and easily integrate with Gmail, Outlook and Salesforce, in order to create a more human-to-human interaction throughout the new virtual sales process. vidREACH and its email video solution made the first step in the road to recovery.
Phase 2: Preparing for Recovery
After the initial shockwave rolls through and you have navigated the transition, it’s time to prepare for recovery. This doesn’t mean preparing for the problems, but moreso, looking at the current situation, analyzing customer needs and finding your opportunity. In the COVID-19 era, customers need data, personalization and trust before purchase.
For the sales enablement and content management platform Mediafly, this realization led to the development of a content hub that provides customers with personalized and evidence-based sales content, which launched in July 2020. In the Startup Selling Podcast, Carson Conant, CEO of Mediafly, talked about the importance of integrating personalized and interactive content within the sales process through sales technology. Conant said, “If you create content that is more interactive, more dynamic and more data-driven, you can arm the salespeople with a better story and you can show [customers] that it is in their best interest to use [your product].”
Mediafly’s content hub accounted for the needs of prospects and customers. In order for businesses to recover their sales pipeline, it was essential to incorporate data, personalization and trust into the sales process. Mediafly realized that essential component and integrated that ability into their platform, allowing B2B businesses to sail through this unprecedented time, heading for recovery in what will likely be a new normal.
Phase 3: Reimagining the Next “Normal”
Life as we know it will look a little different in the post-COVID era. For example, Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, predicts 25-30% of the workforce will be working virtually multiple days a week by the end of 2021. With the continuance of a highly virtual workflow, sales teams are looking for ways to succeed in the next “normal.”
Chorus.ai is helping achieve success in the virtual sales process by providing a sales technology tool that uses AI to track and analyze virtual pitches so sales teams can close deals even if all their buyers operate virtually. WIRED covered a story in October 2020 on how Chorus’ sales technology tool is helping MavenLink enhance its sales efforts. Jeramee Waldum, President of Global Sales for Mavenlink, said Chorus helped his team secure a deal by analyzing their pitches, providing coaching recommendations, tracking analytics and more to identify and highlight the client’s concerns. Upon this insight from Chorus, MavenLink structured their sales efforts to align with the client’s specific needs, leading to a successful sale.
While we’re not out of the woods in regard to the pandemic, the determination and effort put forth shows the sales technology industry is following the path to return B2B sales to success. vidREACH, Mediafly and Chorus are only a few cases of many sales technology platforms fighting to ensure sales success throughout our journey and into the next “normal.”
Is your sales technology platform enhancing the success of virtual B2B sales? Contact Lindsey Groepper to find out how BLASTmedia can share your solution.