Updated: May 3, 2022
The pandemic-driven increased pace of digital transformation over the past two years means a big shift in the way field sales reps reach potential customers. In the past, B2B sales reps took on an assigned sales territory and they met with their potential buyers face-to-face to diagnose their challenges and needs and recommend an effective solution. Today, decision makers have many more choices, meaning where, from whom, and how they purchase products or services.
Thanks to Google, as well as countless digital platforms at their disposal, B2B buyers can do most, if not all, of their research online. The Internet provides access to a wealth of content that educates buyers about their problems and allows them to evaluate solutions. B2B buyers therefore no longer need or want to talk face-to-face with salespeople when necessary.
Gartner expects that by 2025, about 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur through digital channels.
When a B2B buyer needs more in-depth information or is ready to buy, the time is right to interact with a sales rep online, whether that's using conversational marketing tools like Drift or video call platforms like Zoom or Teams, for example - that is, without the need to travel and generate unnecessary costs.
Now, B2B buyers will therefore prefer a vendor that can support them in their digital purchasing processes with the least amount of effort, such as via email or in real time via online chat or video calls. Moreover, the pandemic has forced the global adoption of remote working, and people are now comfortable with online communication. In fact, this has been referred to as "The New Normal" for some time now, and I can assure you, time will not turn back in this regard.
To summarize: we used to do push-sales (outbound sales) but now we urgently need pull-sales (inbound sales where the prospective customer starts the sales process by contacting the company). To do this, we recommend to implement strategies to break through to your clients with the right message at the right time and delivered through the right (digital) channels. The pandemic and cutting-edge technology has forever changed the way buyers make their B2B buying decisions. For more on this, read my article Why Thought Leadership Is So Important to B2B Sales Success.
In my new book on B2B Sales, I devote an entire chapter to Lead Generation and Customer Acquisition. Lead generation is primarily about how a lead is generated, and customer acquisition covers the process of finding potential customers and all the mechanisms for nurturing them.
Thus, lead generation is a means for customer acquisition and in the book I deal with reference to different examples of what modern prospecting looks like in the B2B sector. In the process, I also delve into the realm of numerous new software solutions that can help sales and marketing in the prospecting phase and partially automate them. This chapter also aims to increase adoption of the "New Normal" or #B2Bmodernselling and to encourage readers to engage with a new Sales Tech Stack.
Pull-sales is synonymous with modern customer acquisition with highly efficient B2B lead generation. It's about a continuous process that builds a brand (in terms of brand authority development), increases website traffic, generates leads and enables more sales. Now, since every company is set up differently, there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all approach to this. However, there are some core elements that generally apply to every business.
I've put together an illustrative document for you that describes these core elements, as well as a detailed process description for building a B2B lead engine.
Download the document here:
Enjoy reading and see you soon, Roland