3 Ways to Give B2B Sales an Advantage with Technology
The business-to-business sales landscape is changing dramatically today. Businesses can’t sell the way they have in the past because the buying journey has changed in four important ways:
- Sales process complexity: B2B selling has become much more complex with Gartner estimating that an average sale involves nearly 10 people and takes over about 17 weeks. These numbers have been going up as more departments are involved in purchasing decisions, products and services are morecomplexy and there is a flood of information available to customers.
- Buyer power: New channels have opened up access to information for buyers like never before from sources like G2 Crowd, analyst reports and vendor content. This more transparent playing field gives buyers much more power because before engaging with sales they can educate themselves. In fact, 83% of business buyers agree that technology has kept their company more informed about choices than ever before.
- High expectations: 82% of business buyers want the same personalized experience they’ve come to expect from a commercial marketplace. It makes sense that experiences with Amazon, Uber and other B2C companies are bleeding into B2B expectations and raising them higher than ever. Business buyers want a modern, convenient and personalized experience today with 89% saying experience is as important as the products and services a company provides according to Salesforce.
- Remote buyers and sellers: As sellers work outside of a physical office location, they need access to resources that will let them operate efficiently. McKinsey reports that almost 90% of sales have moved to a videoconferencing/phone/web sales model. In technology, media and telecoms, it is almost 100%. These teams need to be able to provide remote buyers with personalized experiences in new channels to be effective.
DocuSign’s B2B Sales in 2020 Strategies for Success Report showed that 74% of sales teams are responding to these changes by purchasing new technology. This is expected to give them an advantage with new capabilities that ultimately help close more sales faster. In some ways, this has created a technology arms race among sales teams. The goal is to combine a series of solutions to build a modern sales process that can offer what today’s B2B buyer wants better than competition.
Companies that lose this digital arms race will be left behind by both customers and prospects who expect more. Simply purchasing a bunch of new tools, however, is not the way to win. Those technology investments have to be well thought out. Here are three tips to sell more effectively to the modern B2B buyer by getting sales technology decisions right and winning the digital arms race:
Automate manual processes when possible
Technology that gets rid of manual work has clear benefits for sales. According to Salesforce, reps spend two-thirds of their time on administrative work. Those nonselling tasks are ripe for automation because the human touch isn’t adding value and in many cases may actually introduce error or risk. This is a great place to hone in on where technology can automate and in turn increase the speed of sales, grow revenue, minimize tedious admin work and eliminate errors.
In DocuSign’s B2B Sales Trends survey, respondents agreed that the biggest priority for modern sales teams is improving the customer experience with more in-person sales contact. In short, today’s sales teams understand that using automation to create more personal selling time is the best way to maximize new revenue.
Prioritize the buying experience
Beyond automation, when planning tech investments, each new solution should translate in some way back to a better experience for the buyer. Keep in mind that today, that buyer might have new complications because of a remote working environment. If that connection can’t be made, you should think hard about investing in the technology. Some of those tools will be customer-facing and will provide direct benefits during the buying process—faster, more convenient sales or greater personalization. Others will help indirectly, enabling the sellers to find answers faster, surface the right information automatically or interact more easily with other teams (finance, legal, etc.).
The idea is to understand how buyers want to engage and find ways to proactively meet them there and solve their pain points. Every organization will have a unique selling system and a unique buying audience, but the overall guiding principle of technology investments stays the same—providing the best experience for buyers.
Have a plan for your technology
Lastly, the point of making technology investments is to build a system of selling tools that all fit together as a whole. To do this, you need to have a vision for the whole business and how technologies and processes fit together—how data flows, which departments will need access to what, how things will change in the future, and more. Once that vision is in place, it’s time to build, making strategic purchases rather than reactively adding a series of one-off point solutions. The goal is to think about achieving long-term business success, not putting a bandage on short-term pain points.
When your sales and IT team build out a technology vision, consider the following:
- Integrations to other critical business tools
- The timeline of building the the complete selling stack
- Cross-departmental use and access (legal, finance, marketing and others need this too)
- Minimizing solution overlap and duplicate tools
- Future needs and whether technologies can grow to meet those needs
- Scalability and security requirements
How DocuSign can help
The DocuSign Agreement Cloud fits the needs of the modern sales team. It’s an easy choice for any organization that wants to streamline their sales process and provide a better customer experience, which is why more than 500,000 customers already use DocuSign. It helps automate agreements—usually a long, manual process—with a suite of tools, including those most relevant for sales: CLM, eSignature and Intelligent Insights. It also offers integrations with more than 350 of today’s most popular business tools like Microsoft, Salesforce and Google.
Innovative technology from DocuSign is giving B2B sales teams new capabilities to navigate an increasingly complex and challenging sales process. Teams that don’t stay ahead of the technology curve may be unable to meet the new demands of buyers. To stay ahead, it’s important to develop a clear technology strategy for your modern sales team that emphasizes automation opportunities and impact on customer experience. This should help give your team a major technological advantage in the short and long run.