A new era of sales is here. Sales are becoming increasingly digital (and operating models more hybrid) and the remote sales environment presents unique challenges for B2B companies. Customers now want seamless buying experiences and greater value for their money; they are more technically and digitally informed than ever before. Add to that the ongoing difficulties of retaining talent, rising inflation, and savvier customers, and the pressure mounts.
Despite the challenges, great opportunities exist, and businesses that turn these jolts into a competitive advantage will lead the change. But how do you clear these hurdles and meet customer needs while ensuring growth?
McKinsey spoke to more than 50 go-to-market (GTM) leaders about the new era of sales and, from these discussions, identified five must-haves that will help navigate the challenges and ready your organization for what’s next.
To satisfy customers’ needs for simpler, on-demand, and omnichannel experiences, B2B companies need to develop customer-centric approaches in which they ensure that they target, attract, excite, and convert customers across the full cross-channel journey. Best-in-class players keep customers front of mind, as customers are quick to move on if they don’t get the experience they want. In fact, more than 70% of businesses say they will happily consider other vendors if their core must-haves are not met during their buying journey or if the experience is poor.
Leading players now use predictive and prescriptive analytics to successfully build 360-degree views on new and existing customers, including behavior and intent, and are hyper-personalizing marketing across touchpoints to connect with the right person at the right time.
If customers get what they’re looking for, research shows they are willing to pay up to $500,000 without even meeting the seller in person. Leading organizations respond to this new behavior in three ways:
Successful deals have to be replicated again and again for meaningful growth; this is what distinguishes the great from the good. Leading companies focus on three levers:
The talent game has changed: 97% of B2B sales leaders think of reskilling as a key priority, yet more than 50% believe their people don’t have the capabilities to succeed. The talent strategy needs to be revisualized for both attracting new talent and retaining existing. People no longer just look for financial compensation in their work; they want it to be meaningful as well.
Leading companies are changing their talent strategies in a number of ways:
For success, change needs to be long lasting. There are various practices that best-in-class players use to accelerate the process:
The new era of sales has created a host of opportunities, despite the challenges. Leading companies employing these five key actions can drive real organizational change that makes for happier customers, satisfies talent, and boosts revenue.
Guilherme Cruz is a partner in McKinsey’s Growth, Marketing, and Sales Practice, where Maximilian Fischer is an associate partner.