ARE WE ADJUSTING OUR APPROACH TO SALES? The Future of B2B Sales by McKinsey & Company

McKinsey reports that organizations want the right mix of in-person interactions, remote contact via phone or video, and e-commerce self-service across the purchasing journey. Adjusting to this new dynamic requires B2B organizations to shift from “traditional” and “inside” sales to “hybrid” in order to move with the customer. In their research on over 2,500 sales organizations, ten-plus years of interviews with sales executives, and B2B Pulse data, it is clear why more than 90 percent of enterprises plan to sustain the changes made to their sales force structure over the past year to enable hybrid.

 Customers want to be served in this manner, and sellers want flexibility in how they work. When asked what they wanted most from their sales rep, one executive stated, “Please stop asking to meet with me in person. I’m busy enough as it is.” Other executives stated they like the fast and easy access to their suppliers’ product and subject-matter experts that remote engagement allows. As one executive commented, “I no longer have to wait three months for a date when everyone can travel to the same spot at the same time. I can speak with experts more often and on shorter notice.”

 I must admit that my preference is still to meet face to face but I realize I must adjust my approach. The most compelling reason why remote sales is here to stay is that it works. Remote sales reps can reach four times as many accounts in the same amount of time and generate up to 50 percent more revenue. Even partial shifts can generate significant performance benefits.

 Back in 1990, I happen to work from an office I set up in my home. It had all the privacy I needed from my family and I was quite productive so I know it can work. It has to be the right environment, my wife worked full time and the kids were in school. It also does not work for everyone. You have to be disciplined to stay away from distractions like watching television, cutting the grass, or doing a load of laundry. Remote/Hybrid work is here to stay but it has to be managed and adjustments to the way of doing business are necessary.

 Finally, part of embracing agility also means knowing how and how frequently in-person interactions should occur and aligning expectations accordingly with sales teams. For example, in the McKinsey report, buyers state that they expect a balance of traditional (in-person), remote (video conference or phone), and self-service (e-commerce) interaction throughout the entire purchasing journey in equal measure—the “rule of thirds”. I felt compelled to pass along the information from the McKinsey report through this post because of the importance to a topic I am passionate about–  Sales.

 If you would like to explore how you can adjust your Sales Approach or a copy of the McKinsey & Co. study, contact me at 904.472.3706 or email me at robert@getinthegamese.com