The buying behaviors of both the B2B buyers and consumers have changed dramatically, after more than a year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. As things gradually return to the “new normal,” some of those changes are becoming permanent.
Everyone is starting to realize that the pandemic will have long-term consequences. Nobody knows exactly what those impacts will be, but they’re starting to take shape. One of the things that has changed is the way consumers buy.
B2B buyers have been largely cut off from in-person meetings, conferences, and even their offices for the past year. This has had a significant impact on how employees go about their jobs, as well as how B2B purchasers make judgments. Their habits have nearly all migrated in one direction – from offline to online.
Before the pandemic, many B2B buyers were already conducting a lot of their research and purchasing online. Before a buyer even spoke to a salesperson, the majority of the buyer’s journey had already begun. The year 2020 has only accelerated the transformation.
The Rise of Digital Self-Service
In 2021, digital self-service has been called one of the most important trends in B2B marketing. According to a McKinsey study released in late 2020, only 20-30 percent of B2B buyers want to engage with sales representatives in person, even after COVID-19.
According to the study, over 90% of B2B decision makers believe the remote and digital model will last for a long time, and 3 out of 4 say the new model is as effective as or more effective than before COVID-19 – for both existing and prospective customers. In the survey, 99 percent of B2B buyers stated they would buy using a completely digital self-serve model. Almost all of them stated they feel very comfortable making single purchases of $50,000 or more completely through digital self-service.
B2B buyers aren’t just prepared for digital self-service; they have already adopted it. And if buyers have embraced self-service, B2B marketers and their B2B sales partners should as well.
Activating a Self-Service Program
Self-service isn’t a new concept; for a long time, most B2B marketers and sales programs have had some aspects of the buyer’s journey automated or self-serve. It’s not new to have on-demand webinars, email auto responders, and marketing automation platforms that present various content or advertisements depending on the buyer’s digital body language.
Digital self-service simply brings all of these different techniques together into a unified strategy. It pushes the concept of enabling the buyer to direct their own sales process to the forefront. It necessitates marketers and salespeople to develop systems that allow consumers to obtain information when and how they want it.
Implementing a plan like this necessitates a change in content management as well as the inclusion of pricing information. That may be an unsettling move; historically, several B2B companies have resisted disclosing exact costs until late in the sales process. It could be time to reconsider that viewpoint today, as price is one of the most important pieces of information to consider when making a decision. If B2B purchasers are going to go through the sales process almost entirely on their own, they’ll need price information as well.
The Future of Digital Self-Service
Many things have changed as a result of COVID-19, but most of them were already changing. COVID merely hastened the process. This is demonstrated perfectly by B2B digital self-service.
The good news is that most B2B marketers will already have the elements of a good digital self-service program because this transformation is already underway. Now is the time for businesses to focus on integrating the disparate methods and assets into a cohesive whole.
Another facet of digital self-service that is more of a progression than a novel concept is the marketing-sales collaboration. Digital self-service necessitates extensive collaboration and synchronization between the two departments.
This new self-service model emphasizes the importance of buyers’ demands and the goal of delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right person. In some ways, digital self-service is just another step forward towards marketing automation.
For more such updates follow us on Google News TalkCMO News.