It’s no secret that technology plays a major role in our day-to-day interactions- from shopping to socializing. But adapting the complex B2B purchasing process to meet consumer buying expectation isn’t easy. This has many businesses fearing the end of traditional methods of B2B relationships. While technology certainly is revolutionizing the ways businesses run, our latest B2B report suggests that traditional salespeople still play a key role in buyer confidence.
B2B buyers demand better buying experiences, yet many are often left with an inefficient purchasing process. ECommerce is undoubtedly necessary to survive in today’s market, but to completely forego more traditional roles would be a mistake. Business websites often leave out valuable product information- a frustration shared by 52% of B2B buyers, which leads to an uninformed customer. Even if the information is included, it may not instill confidence in the buyer if they aren’t aware how the features benefit their business or how to use them in the first place.
There is still one tool companies have in their pocket: salespeople. Salespeople help to fill in the gaps in purchasing decisions where technology can’t reach. They are a necessary piece to the puzzle, one that has the potential to improve the overall customer journey. In fact, 94% of survey respondents believed that salespeople improved their buying experience. So what makes the salesperson so valuable?
To start, real people build relationships. They are the ones who help you when you can’t seem to navigate an online platform or want an answer quickly. These relationships are what create customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Having effective salespeople helps companies gain a competitive advantage over eCommerce giants such as Amazon Business. Salespeople have the opportunity to create a personalized experience where eCommerce cannot. Another key finding from the 2020 B2B Buyer Report revealed that 57% of B2B buyers grow frustrated when finding and comparing products and pricing. Even if websites list product features and information, it is unlikely that they highlight how those features can benefit the individual buyers’ business. A product feature that would be great for a retail company, might not be as beneficial to the pharmacy industry, but it is hard to know that distinction without having extensive knowledge of the product. Having someone who is a product expert and who understands the individual needs of the business can help the buyer digest the information to make the best purchase decision.
In times of economic uncertainty, companies should strive to strategically invest in technology. This means choosing to optimize experiences with technology, but also evolving current sales roles to better suit the new buyer experience. Simply using a new tool without the proper training or resources will not prove as beneficial as integrating the new technology into your business. While salespeople may not be interacting with customers in-person, they can provide the same level of service digitally or over-the-phone to ease any concerns and help the buyer feel confident. New technology does not mean foregoing old school services.