The New Buyer Landscape Requires Digital Selling
As we mentioned in part 1 of the Business Case for Sales and Marketing Investments blog series, the B2B buying landscape has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. The B2B buyer journey is no longer linear. Buyers access multiple online channels, seek validation from peers and online communities, collaborate with many stakeholders, and seek a more personalized approach.
In fact, we highlighted that sales reps today have just about 5% of a B2B buyer's time before buyers make a purchase in our The Buying Experience Matters infographic.1
Your sellers must adjust to this new normal with a digital approach that streamlines the process and delivers tailored experiences every time. Known as remote, virtual or digital selling, this provides several benefits to both sellers and buyers:
- Prospects can access and evaluate information anywhere, any time, and on any device.
- The ability to share vendor information with other stakeholders involved in the buying process and without interacting with a seller
- Completely digital-first buying process with online audio or video calls, content sharing, and chat interactions
One sales tool that can easily be implemented and provide immediate results is digital sales room software.
What is a Digital Sales Room?
In our Essential Guide to Digital Sales Rooms eBook2, we define a digital sales room (DSR) as a personalized, ever-evolving source for interactive sales collateral. Your sellers personalize the DSR with sales collateral based on your prospect’s current buying journey and needs. This may include proposals, testimonials, case studies, previously recorded demos, white papers, and even welcome videos recorded by a sales rep.
The rooms are shared with a single, evergreen link that enables prospects to easily access, view, watch, and engage with the content. Buyers also have the flexibility to share the room with their internal teams and stakeholders, condensing the time and effort your sales team spends on each opportunity.
While DSRs provide the digital-first buying experience that prospects desire, they also empower your sales professionals with real-time insights into buyer behaviors, such as shares with other buying decision makers and the performance of collateral for sales.
Some of the key digital sales room features include:
- Single, evergreen link to share and access sales content
- Real-time insights into the progress of deals and content effectiveness
- Real-time buyer communications
- Real-time buyer engagement data
- Real-time buyer-seller collaboration and success planning
- Digital experiences compliant with corporate branding and messaging
- Mutual action plan to keep buyers and sellers aligned on the next steps
Top 3 Benefits of a Digital Sales Room
Consumer behavior is changing, and in-person sales are not the norm anymore. Based on research by McKinsey & Company, 70% of business decision-makers are open to self-service or remote buying that exceeds $50,000. It’s found that 27% percent of them would be willing to make purchases over $500,000.3
In fact, nearly 80% of B2B buyers don’t engage with sales until their needs have been defined, and nearly 60% wait until they have identified solutions.4 As you build the business case to add a digital sales room tool to your tech stack, consider these three benefits of a DSR:
- Build and deliver personalized, digital-first experiences for buyers
- Respond faster to buyers with in-depth engagement insights
- Prioritize and accelerate sales deals
Build and Deliver Personalized, Digital-First Experiences for Buyers
One of the things we hear from our customers is how to make their salespeople stand out and be more “professional-looking.”
As Michael Walker, Global Enablement Manager, TechSee, explained:
“We wanted to differentiate ourselves from everyone else who’s sending traditional emails and attachments. This often becomes difficult for customers to effectively manage, especially over longer sales cycles with higher complexity. Enable Us empowers us to create a simplified buying experience that demonstrates we care about our clients as individuals. The customers immediately see and feel how we view them as special and unique clients through the always-on, digital sales space built just for them. From their logo to their success plan to the specified content that drives their conversations forward to solve their needs...we have changed the buying experience. We have created a new dimension of customer-centricity that sets us apart from anyone selling in our space.”
The customer-centricity and personalized buying experience that Walker describes is achieved by offering sales content tailored to the buyer’s specific needs and current journey in the purchase process. Based on each prospect, sales builds and delivers unique online experiences. You can aesthetically update each room with the buyer’s logo, curated sales content (e.g., product demo, customer testimonials, and more), and a pre-recorded welcome video from the seller, while remaining compliant with your corporate brand and messages.
Per McKinsey's research, even incremental personalization efforts can yield a competitive advantage. In fact, companies can grow revenue up to 40% faster with personalization than those who don’t.5
Respond Faster to Buyers with In-Depth Engagement Insights
Previously, after an initial call, sales would attach documents to an email and send them to the unknown. Sales would ask themselves, “Was the email opened, read, and forwarded?” Unlike an email, a digital sales room provides in-depth buyer behavioral insights. Each time a buyer interacts with content in a DSR, it's reported, letting you know what content the buyer is looking at, for how long, and if they shared the content with others.
Since reps can easily view the buyer’s interactions and level of engagement, they understand which resources and content resonate well with that particular prospect. For example, if a rep notices a buyer routinely views customer testimonials but tends to gloss over sales decks, they can share more testimonials to keep the buyer engaged. And with real-time email or Slack notifications, sales are more responsive to prospects’ questions and needs. In fact, using customer behavior insights enables organizations to outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and over 25% in gross margin.6
Accelerate Sales Deals
The buyer's journey is very complex. Finding ways to simplify their decision-making process is crucial to closing deals quickly. Buyers generally conduct from 17 to 27 information-gathering sessions of their own before speaking with a sales rep.7 By the time a buyer is ready to communicate with sales, sales representatives must deliver the exact information a buyer is seeking to make a quick decision. A digital sales room allows sales reps to provide the necessary information simply and quickly, accelerating deal velocity.
As Matt Coats, Director of Enterprise Partnerships, SchoolMint, elaborated:
“We've already started to see that our site level buyers are looking for much more asynchronous purchasing. And it's because they have so little time during the day, so we've been setting up a deal room in advance of our first sales meeting. When they come to the meeting, they're already prepared to understand more about the buying process.”
Beyond shortening the sales cycle, a DSR enables your team to weed out lost deals quickly while prioritizing those more likely to close. In turn, sales leaders can forecast pipelines more accurately and consistently.
Build Your Business Case for Digital Sales Room Software
According to Gartner, they recommend three principles for building a sales tech stack that sellers will want to use - improves buyer engagement, provides insights that relate to their day-to-day tactics, and streamlines seller processes.8 As we highlighted above, digital sales room technology achieves this for sales organizations. In fact, it is part of the Virtual Selling Tech Stack that Gartner proposes for buyer engagement.
The excellent news is Gartner also reports that 68% of sales organizations plan to increase spending on their sales tech stack.9 Now, it’s convincing your leadership that you should invest that budget in digital sales room technology. We’ve pulled together the below calculations to help make your case.
Speed Up Sales Cycle
According to HubSpot, the average sales cycle varies depending on the average contract value (ACV) - ranging from 40 days for $5,000 and less to 5.5 months for $100,000. Generally speaking, the average sales cycle is 84 days.9
Since a digital sales room reduces the number of interactions required to make a decision, our customers have reported up to 20-40% faster sales cycles. Let’s assume that a DSR accelerates the sales cycle by 30%. This shaves off 25.2 days from each deal. Imagine how much revenue you can grow with your existing sales team.
- Average Sales Cycle in Days x 30% = Number of Days
- Number of days x Number of Salespeople = Total Number of Additional Days
Reduce Time to Productivity
As we mentioned in our previous posts, sales spend an average of 30 hours a month looking for or customizing content.10 Recapturing this time toward high-value sales activities is key. Another area is how quickly you can ramp up sales representatives on new tools.
When considering time to productivity alone, the cost is significant for every week of lost productivity per salesperson:
- Assuming employee value of $50,000/year
- Delay in productivity by 1 week = $962 lost value
- $962 lost value per week x 15.2 weeks X 1 individual = $14,622 in lost productivity per sales rep / annually
When evaluating potential vendors, determine the time to sales productivity. Let’s take Enable Us as an example. On average, customers reported it took two weeks to go live and experienced ROI in 5 months.11
- Average time to go live: .5 months
- Return on investment in terms of months: 5 months
- User adoption 83%
- Quality of support: 99%
- Ease of Set up: 90%
- Ease of Use: 93%
- Average Sales Salary Annually / 52 Weeks = 1 Week Sales Salary
- Number of Weeks to Go Live (Technology) x 1 Week Sales Salary = Value of Lost Productivity for 1 Sales Rep
Conclusion: Build Lasting Trust Between Sellers and Buyers
With B2B buyers preferring primarily a digital buying experience, sellers and sales organizations must adapt to digital selling swiftly. Digital sales room technology is a solution that can rapidly be implemented with immediate impact.
Since a DSR functions as a single source of truth for sellers and buyers, there is heightened transparency between both parties. All communication and interactions are visible throughout the deal, building trust throughout the process. Buyers are receiving the information they need conveniently. Sellers now have a better picture of the buyer’s engagement and interactions.
Overall, by meeting buyers where they are, they are three times more likely to purchase bigger and with less regret.13 Isn’t that a good thing?
And if you're successful in implementing a digital sales room, download our How to Measure and Assess the ROI of Digital Sales Room: 7 Key Metrics to Monitor and Track Success ebook.
Resources for Digital Sales Room Stats
- Gartner, The B2B Buying Journey
- Enable Us, The Essential Guide to Digital Sales Room
- McKinsey & Company, These eight charts show how COVID-19 has changed B2B sales forever, October 14, 2020
- Korn Ferry, The 2021 Buyer Preferences Study: Reconnecting with buyers, 2021
- McKinsey & Company, The value of getting personalization right - or wrong - is multiplying, November 12, 2021
- McKinsey & Company, Capturing value from your customer data, March 15, 2017
- Forrester, Three Seismic Shifts in Buying Behavior from Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study, April 14, 2021
- Gartner, 3 Principles To Design A Tech Stack that Sellers Actually Want to Use, June 3, 2022
- HubSpot, SaaS Sales: 7 Tips on Selling Software from a Top SaaS Company, January 9, 2021
- Gartner Blog, 115 Reasons to Attend the Sales Tech Mayhem After-Party, July 20, 2022
- G2 Blog, 35 Sales Enablement Statistics that Will Blow Your Mind, January 11, 2021
- G2 Crowd, Summer Grid 2022, June 2022