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Today, the B2B sales environment looks completely different from what it did before COVID-19. The impact of this global pandemic has had irreversible effects on every business – leading to a variety of never-before-seen B2B eCommerce trends.
That said, there are three primary trends every sales leader needs to know beyond 2020 if they hope to continue growing revenue: the growth of online shopping, the evolution of virtual experiences, and the change of Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies to reflect new digital realities.
Quarantines and lockdown orders across the country have caused thousands of brick-and-mortar stores to close. But businesses that pivoted and quickly shifted their B2B sales model to an online-only experience are finding tremendous success.
That’s because buyer habits are changing. According to a 2020 Shopify study, 52% of North American shoppers say they’ve shifted a significant portion of their spending to online transactions since the beginning of the year. And even as stores have begun to re-open, 51% admit they’ll continue to buy online due to the safety concerns COVID-19 creates.
When it comes to B2B sales and eCommerce trends, this online growth has been even more dramatic. While businesses have traditionally relied on digital transactions for small purchases that need quick turnaround times, today 70% of B2B decision-makers are open to making new, large purchases in this same way.
As technology grows more and more advanced, B2B sales leaders increasingly believe online selling has become just as effective as in-person customer engagement – and that goes beyond finding new leads. Digital prospecting is quickly replacing in-person meetings when an organization needs to connect with existing customers.
Whether your online store was opened as a temporary measure or not, it needs to become a permanent part of your GTM strategy. The COVID-19 crisis forced slow-moving businesses to adapt – and likely gave you new sales channels and delivery options that will continue to deliver value in the future.
Shutdowns and social distancing have hit every B2B sales environment hard. But perhaps none have suffered as much as service-based businesses. Especially because, in the wake of COVID-19’s chaos, buyer and seller expectations have changed.
Graphic showing changes in B2B self-service selling. Data source: McKinsey
Now, more than 75% of B2B buyers and sellers prefer virtual experiences over face-to-face interaction. And this trend is only growing – even as lockdowns come to an end and life slowly goes back to normal.
Technology-fueled transactions have made it easier than ever for corporate buyers to learn, purchase, and arrange service delivery. And everyone likes quick, convenient customer experiences. So much so, in fact, that only 20% of B2B buyers will return to in-person deals after the pandemic.
The rise of virtual experiences has also given B2B eCommerce environments new ways to connect with online customers. As soon as in-person events started being cancelled, creative organizations launched digital alternatives like online consultations, AMAs, and virtual conferences to grow their brands.
And B2B sales leaders are largely embracing this shift. While adopting virtual customer experiences may have felt forced a few months ago, today’s most successful sales initiatives often find a growing conviction that digital self-serve and remote human enablement is the future.
Plus, digital product and service offerings can help you broaden your potential customer base. Unlike their physical counterparts, a virtually delivered product or service isn’t bound by geography or timelines. No wonder 14% of B2B buyers will continue to purchase through virtual experiences going forward – the same percentage that’s using them mid-pandemic.
The day things go back to normal will be a happy one for all. But several pandemic-induced B2B sales trends probably aren’t going away once the threat of COVID-19 is over. And almost 90% of business leaders believe new GTM sales practices will be one of the changes that stays.
For most organizations, that’s a scary-yet-exciting thought that creates new opportunities. After all, a majority of these business leaders also anticipate multi-year plans that call for increased spending on operating and capital expenses.
This shift to digital-driven B2B sales offers a variety of advantages. Organizations will be able to lower their customer acquisition costs, extend their reach, and significantly improve their sales effectiveness – all while satisfying customers that demand a quick, convenient, and seamless buying experiences.
Graphic showing digital transformation of go-to-market strategies. Data source: McKinsey
But not everyone is positioned to capitalize on the next generation of GTM strategy. Your business needs to commit to digitizing every aspect of B2B sales possible – otherwise, you won’t be able to maximize the return from any competitive advantages you create.
Now you know the B2B eCommerce trends every sales leader needs to know in 2020. But how do you use this info to your advantage? How can you use these trends to make your team more successful in 2021 and beyond?
While every organization is unique, we’ve got three suggestions that will help:
Digital transformation is about making your business more efficient – and COVID-19 has forced businesses to do things differently or fall by the wayside. When it comes to contracts, that means you shouldn’t be using pen and paper or passing repetitive redlines back and forth via email.
This mindset negatively impacts your organization because it slows down deals and frustrates potential buyers. You need to shift your thinking to an acceptance mindset where the priority is getting agreements accepted – not endless cycles of revisions to eventually get a document signed.
This modern, tech-savvy approach to traditional contracting enhances your B2B sales experience. An acceptance mindset eliminates all of the unnecessary manual work that goes into standard agreements because it views them as a single-step process of clicking a button or checking a box.
Considering up to 70% of the time spent in your contract lifecycle is dedicated to negotiating, reviewing, and approving terms, this highly efficient methodology gives your customers a quick and easy purchase path – and your online marketplace virtually unlimited scalability.
As businesses continue to move into the online marketplace, your customers deserve (and expect) the best buying experience possible. And, without digital-focused agreements, you won’t have much success incorporating these B2B eCommerce trends into your GTM strategy.
Clickwrap agreements have become a must-have for organizations selling their products and services online because they offer a variety of advantages: faster acceptance, reduced redlining, and more convenient user experiences that maximize customer satisfaction – and your team’s ability to close deals.
By making your agreements one-click experiences, you effectively eliminate the friction throughout your mission-critical customer signup and eCommerce checkout processes. In fact, clickwrap is already considered the gold standard for digitally transformed agreements such as GTM strategy website terms, privacy policies, and End-User License Agreements EULAs).
Unnecessary steps in any process cost your business money – and this is especially true in contracting. As more and more employees escape the traditional office setting, companies that fail to update their agreements and offer digital alternatives will find it increasingly hard to close deals moving forward.
Make sure you apply digital transformation to your agreements. And that your transformation includes the ability to offer customers mobile device-friendly contract options. More than 52% of all website traffic is generated by mobile devices – and if you can’t offer them, you’re missing out on almost four billion potential customers browsing the web.
Your mission for success in 2021 and beyond is clear: implement mobile device-friendly agreements to provide a seamless B2B sales experience for everyone involved. Doing so shortens your sales cycle, helps you close more deals, and ultimately beat your competition.
As technology continues to influence B2B sales trends moving forward, your team needs a modernized approach to managing online agreements. Download PactSafe’s 101 Ways to Use Clickwrap eBook and learn how you can create one-click contracts to take your business to the next level.