Developing a personalised approach to sales – online and offline

Posted by Uncategorised • July 17th, 2019

The continued rise in popularity of b2b ecommerce across a wide range of business sectors and markets means that the role of sales teams and their approach to selling needs to be realigned in order to meet customer requirements.

Buyers are looking for sellers and products in different ways – often getting through 50% of the purchasing process before engaging with a sales representative – buyers are searching and comparing products and sellers online, before either completing their purchase, or contacting sales teams for more details.

At the same time, building long-term customer relationships is still at the heart of successful b2b operations – loyalty and retention are key. Let’s take a closer look at a modern approach to b2b selling that optimises the online experience while supporting personal interaction with buyers across multiple touchpoints…

Content is king

Recent surveys say that the quality of a company’s online content has a significant impact on purchase decision-making for around three quarters of all online b2b buyers. So getting the right content out there is crucial and requires the close collaboration of the seller’s sales and marketing teams. Although content creation is usually the domain of the marketing team, sales reps can make an important contribution because they tend to have a good first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by buyers and how these can be addressed.   

Recent surveys say that the quality of a company’s online content has a significant impact on purchase decision-making for around three quarters of all online b2b buyers. So getting the right content out there is crucial and requires the close collaboration of the seller’s sales and marketing teams. Although content creation is usually the domain of the marketing team, sales reps can make an important contribution because they tend to have a good first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by buyers and how these can be addressed.   

Supporting the buyer’s journey

It’s not just about the kind of content you create – it’s also about getting the right information in front of buyers at the right times. According to research b2b buyers typically view up to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, so sellers need to have content prepared that can help to influence each step of the buyers journey – from website landing pages, white papers and blogs, to social media.

B2b transactions often take some time to complete, so it’s important that you have plenty of appropriate content available for every possible customer touchpoint – content that offers them valuable help and guidance, and also positions your business as their best option for a commercial partner.

Personalising the customer experience

Customer retention is critical to b2b success – a modest 5% improvement in retention rates can increase profits by up to 75%. And the 20% of your customers who account for 80% of sales should be the focus for your sales team. Key account management helps to build trust and transparency between sellers and buyers and also supports the sales process for higher ticket items.

Providing a customised experience for all your customers, online and offline, is vital to gaining competitive advantage and establishing long-term business relationships. You can start with the creation of specific content to help your customers improve the way they work – but the best examples of a personalised customer experience go much further. Integration of your ecommerce platform with existing business and accounting systems (such as Sage and Pegasus) can deliver a highly personal service that features capabilities such as tailored pricing and discounts, individual promotions and offers, and a detailed order history.    

Helping your customers help themselves

With the roles of your sales team clearly defined and the right kind of integrated b2b ecommerce platform implemented, sellers can satisfy the requirements of today’s modern business buyers. One of the most important factors is to ensure that your approach is proactive – your sales team will need to know how to position the online buying experience as a part of your overall business value proposition.

B2b ecommerce offers buyers many benefits that help to make their jobs easier, including 24/7 access, automated reordering and managing buying responsibilities within their own organisations. Your sales team needs to work closely with customers to help them get the most out of the new technology and appreciate its advantages.