Virtual Selling

B2B Sales Trends: 45 Virtual Selling Insights

Here are 45 stats to highlight the value and need for sales organizations to address a 100% digital sales process.

Multiple research reports point to a majority of B2B customers preferring virtual buying and digital service over traditional face-to-face:

  1. For a seamless buying experience, 80% of B2B customers prefer virtual selling (Spotio)
  2. 70-80% of global B2B decision makers preferred digital self-service and remote human interactions (McKinsey & Company)

With the advancements of technology and globalization, buyers expect vendor communications and transactions to be conducted virtually. This digital transformation was further accelerated by COVID-19, necessitating that sales leaders and sales enablement organizations pivot to address a nearly 100% digital sales process:

  • How to craft a tailored experience aligned with the buyer’s journey?
  • How key sales tools can better support sales as they interact, educate, and close deals virtually?
  • What new skills do sales reps need to nurture for virtual selling - exceptional listening, consultative selling and questions, and more?

Still unconvinced? We’ve curated 45 stats to highlight the value and need for digital selling. 

What is Virtual Selling?

According to Gartner:

Virtual selling is the collection of processes and technologies by which salespeople engage with customers remotely with both synchronous and asynchronous communications. These communications are often replacing in-person, face-to-face sales conversations and have become increasingly prevalent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other words, virtual selling refers to running a sales process in a completely digitized manner. For Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, and sales leaders, they must now prioritize digital selling skills in order to meet buyer expectations. 

Impact on Sales Representatives and Organizations

  • “Sixty-nine percent of sales professionals say selling is harder now.” (Salesforce)
  • “Sales reps spend only 28% of their week actually selling.” (Salesforce)
  • Regarding the shift to virtual selling/buying: “Just 33% of salespeople 27% 22% 11% are effective at selling in a virtual environment.” (Korn Ferry)
  • “86% of sales managers agree that the ability to cope with change is more important than it was five years ago” (LinkedIn)
  • “65% of salespeople saying they put the buyer first, but only 23% of buyers agreeing with that assessment.” (LinkedIn)
  • “77% of sales professionals say their org plans to invest more in sales intelligence tools.” (LinkedIn)
  • “Close to nine in ten decision makers say that new commercial and go-to-market sales practices will be a fixture throughout 2021 and possibly beyond.” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “96% of B2B sales teams that have fully or partially shifted to remote selling” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “More than 60% of buyers now say providers that are knowledgeable and address their needs have the most positive impact on their buying decisions” (Forrester)
  • Research shows that buyers are doing most of the research before reaching out to a vendor. 8 out of 10 sales reps agree. This requires retraining sales as “trusted advisors with insights and guidance on which products deliver the best value” for those customers. (Salesforce)
  • 80% of B2B sales interactions with buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025. With a shift toward a buyer-centric digital model, this report highlights how sales transformation into remote or virtual selling is underway. (Gartner)
  • Sales reps -71% of rooms are being created from a template or by cloning an existing room, with 29% being designed from scratch (Enable Us)
  • 88% of sellers find building a relationship with buyers virtually challenging, with 91% finding difficulty keeping buyers engaged  (RAIN Group
  • Only 16% of buyers responded that sellers were effective at communicating the ROI case during a virtual sale (RAIN Group)


Chart on How sales reps spend their time during the week - 28% selling, 72% non selling activities

Sales Orgs Benefit from Shifting to Remote Selling

  • “64% of those who transitioned to remote sales either met or exceeded their revenue targets, compared to 50% of those who didn’t make the transition. (G2 Crowd)
  • “Those who invested in enabling remote work were rewarded––64% of those who transitioned to remote sales this year met or exceeded revenue targets, compared to 50% of the leaders who did not make the transition. Signaling a shift in how sales teams will be structured going forward.” (HubSpot)
  • “When buyers experience a self-reflective learning path, they are 147% more likely to buy more than originally planned. This combination of digital and human-led channels is critical to sales success because when B2B buyers report that sales reps effectively use technology to facilitate buying group discussions, a 17% lift occurs in customer confidence, which leads to high-quality deals.”(Gartner)

B2B Buyers Prefer Buying Virtually

  • “Companies report that nearly one-third of the deals they close are completely virtual.” (Salesforce)
  • Eighty-three percent of B2B buyers say they prefer ordering or paying through digital commerce (Gartner)
  • “the number of buying interactions during the pandemic jumped from 17 to 27! The number of buying interactions reflects one individual’s buying journey to obtain information about competing offerings or providers.” (Forrester)
  • “Ideally, sellers would be involved when buyers are analyzing their needs or identifying possible solutions. But only 43% of buyers reported engaging sellers during these phases — a significant decline from 2018, when 56%  of buyers engaged sellers in these phases (30% for clarifying needs and 26% for identifying solutions). One in five study participants finished evaluating solutions and resolved outstanding questions on their own. Only when buyers want to negotiate deal terms and conditions, or more concerning, want to implement the solution after choosing it, do they finally decide to engage with sellers. Troublingly, the number of buyers who wait until these later stages is double the 10% reported in 2018. “ (Korn Ferry)
  • “More than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “Only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated, such as pharma and medical products” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “65% of B2B decisions makers who say the remote model is equally or even more effective than what they were doing before the pandemic” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “the quality of virtual interactions with B2B buyers is driving buying decisions, with 42% of purchases being made digitally” (Forrester)
Graph that indicates that sales put buyer first. 65% of sellers agree. Only 23% of buyers do. Source: LinkedIN

Personalized Buying Experiences Increases Growth

  • “Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2022, 74% of marketing decision-makers said that buyers and customers expect a sales and marketing experience that is personalized to their needs and preferences” (Forrester, Now Tech: Sales Enablement Automation, Q2 2022 - June 23, 2022)
  • “Seventy-one percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. And seventy-six percent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “Personalization drives performance and better customer outcomes. Companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “2x increased likelihood of companies that provide outstanding digital experience being chosen as primary supplier” (McKinsey & Company)
  • “Gartner research found that customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful in advancing across their buying jobs were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.” (Gartner)
  • “80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services” and “67% of customers say their standard for good experiences are higher than ever” (Salesforce)
  • “76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations” (Salesforce)
  • 51% of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences” (Salesforce)
  • “57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience” with 62% sharing their bad experiences with others (Salesforce)
Image that states that Digital Sales Rooms are 3X more likely to be viewed by prospects than an email - source Enable Us

Changing Sales Tech Stack to Support Digital Selling

  • Digital Sales Rooms are 3X more likely to be viewed by prospects than an email. (Enable Us)
  • Gartner envisions a tech stack that will support virtual selling, with Digital Sales Rooms (DSR) listed as one of those technologies under Buyer Engagement. (Gartner)
  •  “94% of sales organizations plan to consolidate their tech stack in the next 12 months.* Sales reps are using an average of 10 sales tools to help close deals. (Salesforce)
  • Yet only one-third of sales organizations are using AI to drive sales efficiency  (Salesforce)
  • “The difference between overperforming and underperforming sales leaders is how they use the tools. 61% of overperforming leaders use their CRM to automate parts of their sales process, vs. 46% of underperforming leaders. By automating parts of their sales process, sales leaders free up rep time to focus on selling.” (Hubspot)
  • “CFOs are giving the green light in support: 69% plan to increase digital technology spending (as of July 2022) (2022 Gartner CFO Recession Planning Poll).” (Gartner)
  • “When purchasing sales tech, 66% of sales leaders prioritize the potential impact of tech on seller workflows (2021 Gartner Sales Tech survey).” (Gartner)
  • “RevTech tools can help personalize, speed up, and smooth out customer interactions.” (BCG)
  • Companies using AI for sales could increase their leads by more than 50% and realize cost reductions of 40-60%. (Harvard Business Review)

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