As with most other business models, B2B companies were hit hard by the pandemic and were forced to pivot to a remote model while sales reps were confined to their home offices. It turns out, however, that this was far from a temporary patch. Recent research shows that two-thirds of US buyers now opt for non-face-to-face interactions or digital self-service at various stages of the decision journey. These touch points might include identifying, searching for, analyzing, and assessing new products and suppliers, as well as ordering and re-ordering.
It’s clear that COVID lockdowns and distance requirements generated this shift, but it’s also true that the evolution is consistent with a bigger trend that predates the pandemic. In only the past five years, the number of channels that B2B buyers use has doubled, from 5 in 2016 to 10 in 2021. And nearly all buyers say that the omnichannel sales model is as effective (if not more) than the previous sales model.
Suppliers need to get omnichannel right, however, in order to attract new customers and retain existing ones – in the process generating higher revenues, lower cost to serve, improved customer satisfaction and reduced churn rates. The formula is simple since it mirrors the expectations that today’s shoppers display in their personal lives. They want to move seamlessly from channel to channel at all points of their customer journey. For example, this might begin at a supplier’s website or social media platform, and then migrate to a chat or a phone call – and always with the expectation that every rep that they interact with is completely up to speed.
One of the challenges that many B2B companies face is that they tend to treat “channels” as silos (“multichannel”), instead of an interconnected set of tools that are available to their customer at any point of the customer journey (“omnichannel”). In order to enable seamless end-to-end omnichannel journeys, B2B players must develop personalized views of each customer, and deliver consistent messaging across all changes. CRM tools can be a great asset to provide visibility on the customer journey and create a seamless customer experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in successfully transitioning from the multichannel model to a fully integrated omnichannel model. Customer-centricity is at the core of this evolution, where B2B leaders put customers and their needs at the center of all omnichannel interactions. This might involve analyzing customer preferences, building extensive and integrated profiles, and integrating relationships and interactions across all channels.
In addition, a holistic approach can be a great support to transitioning from multichannel to omnichannel. Depending on the profile of the customer base, it might involve setting up three distinct sales channels such as field sales, inside sales, and distribution. Anything that personalizes and authentically supports customer interaction is a holistic win. Proactive channel conflict management is another area where B2B leaders can up their game. Careful analysis can map out the customer decision journey by segment, allowing task forces to recommend specific channels for different products and customer segments.
Any B2B transition from multichannel to omnichannel relies on a strong digital foundation. Investing in the right hardware and software, as well as forging strong connections between sales and IT will support an organization’s ability to generate advanced lead generation and achieve significant revenue and performance gains.
What is the common thread across all deployment processes involving the transition to omnichannel? BPO outsourcing companies can become a B2B organization’s strongest ally at a time when resources are required to re-design sales flow. Award-winning Anexa is a decades-long leader in the business process outsourcing industry, with dedicated teams of BPO specialists. Whether your needs are related to tech support, social media management or marketing campaigns; or non-core business activities (such as back-office solutions), Anexa has a team for that. Considering that Anexa also specializes in bilingual services (English/Spanish), this is a call that you can’t afford not to make. Anexa can help set your business up for success in the world of B2B.
Have questions? Reach out today for information on how Anexa can support your journey to join the omnichannel revolution.