Digital skeptics in B2B sales beware – here comes the next scientifically based resounding slap in the face of Hybrid Selling:
On average, an additional 4.2 (!) customer visits per week are possible if B2B sales intelligently combine on-site and online visits for customer communication.
This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Sales Management Department | Ruhr University Bochum. The future of sales is already present today, if the opportunities offered by the various channels are exploited.
Study on Hybrid Selling
Among other things, the study examines what the biggest challenges are for companies in digital communication with customers. Here you can find two examples:
- In terms of technology, the devil is in the details (although in many cases the problem lies before that)
- Be able to deal with significantly less visually perceptible reaction from the customer
Another finding: customer acceptance of online visits increases with company size, but is relatively high overall on average.
Experience shows: even “B or C customers” can be convinced with amazing online visits.
Hybrid Selling in Sales
Digitization? It is natural for those who want to stay in the market. The task for the virtual trailblazers in B2B sales is: set standards in terms of online customer visits via Teams, Zoom, etc. The sensible combination of social media channels such as LinkedIn helps in the sales process to achieve more success through outstanding results via Hybrid Selling.
To do this, it is not enough to hold the PowerPoint aria, which already caused the customer’s pulse to drop during the on-site meeting, in online format via “Share screen”.
Presentation formats such as Prezi or Prezi Video (or PowerPoint adapted to online conditions) as well as switching between different presentation media (for example, whiteboards, flipcharts, pattern-breaking “hangers on,” etc.) add momentum to personal online visits that stick, amaze customers, and increase close rates.
Hybrid Selling Sales Training
Attention advertising – but it will take you further: Our training “Digital Communication Expert in B2B Sales” aims precisely at setting standards in Hybrid Selling in your industry. More info here: Digital Sales Training
Click here for the LinkedIn post.
You can find the transcribed text below the video.
Hybrid Selling: the new sales mix
What does the future of B2B sales look like – also as an aftermath of Corona? Which methods promise success for salespeople, sales executives and also marketing in market development? The Sales Management Department of the Ruhr University Bochum presents exciting results on these topics with their current research. A new study examined the acceptance of online visits in the B2B sector. In addition, the challenges of digital sales were discussed – and what productivity increases are possible with it.
Those who value sales without field appointments
The highest acceptance of online customer visits is found among global accounts as well as A customers and key accounts. These customers expect digital communication and the possibility of online visits. Many smaller companies, on the other hand, would like a visit from the salesperson: only about a third of these customers are completely open to the new, digital sales approach, with another third showing medium acceptance, and the final third preferring on-site visits. But the larger the company, the more popular digital sales are, or even desired – and are thus not only accepted, but valued. Work in practice shows: if customers in B2B sales experience amazing video conferences – regardless of whether they are conducted by the office or field sales force, many decision-makers in companies also recognize their own advantage and thus the value of this type of digital communication.
How B2B sales succeed digitally
So should video telcos be exclusive to the big accounts? Absolutely not! This is because there is also great potential among B and C customers. Overall, the openness is amazingly high. And the experience from our trainings shows: if a B2B customer was previously not very open to digital channels and then experiences a convincing video presentation, he will often change his mind. This is true for many companies and employees who were previously skeptical of online visits, because the opportunities to save travel time and effort are known to be enormous. Does this mean that personal contact falls by the wayside? Not at all. If you train your own behavior in front of the camera, it becomes more authentic every time and, with good technical equipment (e.g. camera, lighting, sound) and good processing of the data by the right video conferencing system, almost looks like an on-site visit. This is not gray theory, but feedback from our customers and training participants.
A good digital presentation should be more than a Power Point aria via screen sharing. What doesn’t impress onsite works even worse for online visits – whether at the management or employee level.
It is important to talk to the customer at eye level and to involve him or her interactively in the presentation. It is recommended to set up video rooms in the company. Alternatively, multimedia corners in the home office can also make for very good presentations with relatively little effort. If you set standards in digital communication, you can expect customer satisfaction to rise as well. This should also make the company’s management take notice when it comes to approving budgets for equipment and employee training – after all, what good is the best equipment if its use has never been trained? That such sentences can be found on the website of a sales trainer will come as no surprise, but it is simply true: the most beautiful leather soccer is of no use if you have not been trained to handle it.
The European Customer Satisfaction Index, or ECSI model for short, proves that there is a high correlation between the way communication is carried out and customer satisfaction. So it’s worth investing here and training employees to communicate excellently online with digital sales training.
Sales efficiency through hybrid selling
It is obvious that productivity can be increased through online visits. How strong the potential is to grow in percentage and absolute terms was also investigated in the study by Ruhr-Uni Bochum. What increase in visit capacity or customer contacts is possible by integrating digital sales? The future is not purely digital solutions, but hybrid selling, i.e., a sensible combination of analog and digital sales – incl. Storage of relevant results in the CRM system.
Almost half of the study participants say that two to three additional customer contacts per week are possible now and in the near future; 21% even expect ten more appointments or contacts. On average, the study found an increase of 4.2 additional customer visits per week from the right B2B sales mix. The customer also saves time here and increasingly demands alternatives to the on-site visit. In addition, what is saved in travel time can be used for preparation, customer research, market observation and finally in the customer meeting: Asphalt time becomes customer time! Gone are the days when quotes are sent to the customer via email as PDF document info. In the new “selling approach”, offers are discussed virtually with the customer in advance in order to clearly highlight your added values for the customer – the top salesperson won’t let this be taken away from him.
Hybrid Sales: Combine the advantages of “on-site” and “digital
The biggest challenge with online visits lies in limiting the perception of non-verbal communication – this applies equally to sales-active inside sales and field sales. In the Ruhr University sales study, the majority of participants share this concern. This is where employee training must come in, so that they look closely, listen better and also understand between the lines. The second point is technical problems – on both sides. Therefore, it is necessary to train to lead and patiently guide the customer. Third, as already mentioned, the quality of the presentation is crucial. To increase the closing rate, it is important to clearly stand out from the competition and simply amaze the customer. Those who act as innovative communicators in hybrid sales and give the highest priority to the digitization of communication in B2B sales have a great opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and closing rates.