B2B firms want to scale up—quickly. To do so, they need to think like Amazon.
Think about the last time you purchased a new television. Before you even stepped foot in a brick-and-mortar store – if you did at all – you likely went online, reading reviews, learning about the technology and separating fads from trends. From there, you compared prices among online and big box retailers. Only after all this dense research did you talk with a salesperson. Or maybe you didn’t at all and purchased directly online.
Most consumers are already 40 to 60 percent down the sales pipeline before they engage. What’s more, the Amazons of the world are using artificial intelligence (AI) to grab and hold these customers early. After all, if you can predict what your customers are likely to purchase, you can dangle those products in front of them.
The B2B sector hasn’t gotten to this point — yet. Right now, many struggle to scale up…and quickly. At the same time, the demands put on account managers are only increasing, which is time-consuming, complicated, and often frustrating.
What’s worse, B2B firms aren’t appropriately leveraging technology to improve efficiencies. In fact, only 44 percent of companies use any kind of lead scoring system to nurture prospects. Further, according to Ironpaper, “Traditional sales pipelines are less effective than ever, particularly for B2B technology companies who face longer sales cycles. Now, buyers expect more relevant, helpful touch points that come consistently and at the right time.”
So what are the solutions? Can our sector adapt?
Based on what I’m seeing at Triptych, I think so. Here’s how B2B firms will likely evolve as we head into the next decade:
- In the coming year, expect B2B businesses to double down on sales enablement tools. The sector is learning quickly that it simply cannot scale up if it doesn’t leverage already available technology.
- The most sophisticated firms will lean heavily into AI. They’ve seen the power of AI in the B2C space and they want in on the action.
- Watch for the use of chatbots to rise exponentially. After all, a computer can respond to a customer faster than a person can, and research has shown that 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the business that responds first.
- Lastly, B2B firms will increasingly look to AI’s predictive algorithms to Netflix-ify how they engage with prospects and existing customers. Using the data gleaned through their CRM and sales enablement tools, B2B firms will be able to score their prospects and customers and begin to predict what they need before they even ask for it.
By shortening the sales cycle so significantly and quickly, account managers can be nimbler and provide accelerated levels of top-flight customer service. This will allow firms to address the scalability and efficiency issues plaguing so many of them today, thereby making B2B companies more productive and profitable.