Remote working, shelter in place, social distancing and quarantine periods have become part of the new vocabulary of our society as well as our workplaces over the past month. Personally, these times are stressful and challenging. Professionally, the global health crisis has caused businesses worldwide to re-examine their operating models and how they can continue to keep moving forward while operating under new rules.
Three Challenging Scenarios
As a company that helps our clients achieve growth through sales, we think about the market through the lens of selling and building customer relationships. In our current climate, there are significant barriers to three key ways that sales and customer relationship professionals do their jobs:
- Relationship-building events – with global restrictions on travel and meetings, larger deal pursuits and caring for existing accounts that often rely on in-person sports events or executive dinners simply can’t take place in traditional ways.
- Lack of industry conferences – if companies have relied on industry events and conferences as prospecting opportunities and they are canceled, how will companies build new relationships now?
- Staffing for opportunity – once the world is open for business again, having the right team in place, or getting new team members up and running quickly to build inside and outside sales opportunities, will be critical to economic recovery.
Your Mix Matters
To overcome these challenges, experts say it’s time to tap into the progress that companies have made in working to digitally transform their businesses, and in particular to digitally enable their customer journey experiences.
IDC reports that DX – or digital experience – spending is $1.3 trillion globally, and had projected it to reach approximately $2 trillion by 2022. Now, when times are uncertain, having the right mix of people, sales approaches and digital tools is critical to enable a customer experience that engages people and solves business challenges. Reliance on the right partners will be the key to unlocking new ways to engage the B2B consumer through blended ‘right touch’ interactions.
According to a recent COVID-19 Impact on the Channel report by The 2112 Group, “We’re in uncharted waters. The COVID-19 pandemic will fundamentally change many of our assumptions about work, sales strategies, partner programs, and customer relationship management. Already, channel chiefs are looking at how the disruptions will reshape customers’ operations, technology needs, and product adoption. Accordingly, the changes will result in shifting and reshaping the roles of partners in the go-to-market equation.”
Before COVID, companies were already shifting to increase the mix of inside, digital and virtual sales with partners and decrease the mix of field / channel sales. Ultimately, we think organizations of every size will shift to having 50-75% of their sales resources in an inside/digital/virtual model, with partners playing a significant role. There are 3 drivers for this shift:
- It’s more effective ─ digital/virtual is how customers increasingly want to engage and buy.
- It’s more efficient ─ inside/digital/virtual sellers can cover more accounts and larger territories, they are more productive with more time spent selling vs typical field sales organizations.
- It’s more economical ─ for companies with a higher mix of inside/digital/virtual sellers, customer acquisition costs (CAC) are typically 20% lower and revenue/ARR growth rates are 300bps higher compared to companies with a higher mix of field reps.
What is clear is that COVID has created a catalyst for companies to take an even harder look at their go-to-market strategies and field vs. inside/digital/virtual mix. Out of necessity, field sellers (now working from home) have had to become inside/digital/virtual sellers overnight, but the skill sets, competencies, and what makes a person a good field rep often don’t make them an ideal inside rep.
There are organizations – including ServiceSource – whose high-caliber selling experts, working in a global virtual model combined with digital tools, effectively identify, land and engage customers to close billions of dollars of B2B transactions. We can offer guidance on what works ─ it’s a robust integration of people, process, and technology, and one that you can’t afford to get wrong.
We are asking strategic questions to identify and help close gaps, such as where do you need to invest now? Do you have the customer insights you need to create a better digital engagement and experience? How will you ramp your sales quickly when the time is right? And…
How Will You Solve for The Challenges of the Three Scenarios?
We recommend three approaches:
- Position yourself to ramp quickly to pursue new market opportunities. Consider that an expert selling partner can offer quick access to the right mix of sales expertise and digital tools in a more cost-effective way than hiring inside.
- Embrace the mix of sales professionals and digital tools to drive deeper connection with prospects and existing customers. Tap into experts to deliver customer insights and blend them into your video- and voice-based sales outreach tactics.
- Enrich the experience for existing customers by applying trained sales and customer success professionals for targeted support.
Nearly every organization and corporate leader we speak to has a strategic priority to grow closer to their customers at all touchpoints along the customer journey experience continuum. ServiceSource helps our clients reach their goals at-scale, globally, for their B2B relationships.
To start a conversation about how we may be able to help your business during these complex times, please reach out to us.