“I am not sure anyone watching TV in December 2019 had any idea that the coverage on Wuhan would cause the change and disruption to life and business as it has,” said Claire Nitch, Head of Sales and Marketing of Alaris Antennas. In a couple of months, everyone had to adapt to massive changes to the way things were done. Sales were equally affected, and the most critical aspect of the way especially B2B sales are done, namely meeting face-to-face, became impossible.
According to Forbes, COVID-19 has changed the world of sales — perhaps permanently. Though in-person sales have always stood the test of time, even in a technology-driven world, the pandemic has forced both buyers and sellers to go digital in a massive way.
Luckily, the sales department can work effectively from home as they are outward-facing. Communication can be done via phone, e-mail, and with the help of meeting platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom.
Nitch continues: “To keep top of mind, an emphasis was made to reach out to customers to find out their needs with a focus on phoning, if possible, and arranging workshops to address these needs and inform of other products that may be of interest. Our approach for servicing clients did not change and became even more important during the pandemic.”
Globally, in the B2B sales space, since the onset of the pandemic, revenue generated from video-related interactions has jumped by 69% since April 2020. Together, e-commerce and videoconferencing now account for 43 percent of all B2B revenue, more than any other channel. [Source]
This way of doing business does have its limitations though. Building relationships is more difficult to do remotely. Due to the nature of our business, clients are also not comfortable sharing some information via Zoom / Teams or e-mail which limits what is shared. To mitigate this, our focus on creating blogs and vlogs to assist clients in understanding complex topics increased. Together with this, due to our ethos of being customer intimate, we follow a rigorous sales process to ensure that we understand our client’s requirements from both a technical and commercial aspect.
Research from McKinsey indicates that 70% of B2B decision-makers are now open to making new, remote purchases in excess of $50 000 while 27% would spend more than $500 000. Prior to the pandemic, it was assumed that B2B buyers are more comfortable making smaller purchases digitally or over the phone.
Alaris Antennas is a client-centric company focusing on client service and being the trusted advisor. Key areas focused on pre-pandemic were building a trusting relationship, showing technical competence, and a quick turnaround time on requests assisted us in still creating and building on our customer service.
According to adwhite.com, the decline of in-person sales since COVID-19 is matched by the rise in video and live chat:
- Traditional/in-person sales interaction has declined from 61 to 29 percent
- Video interaction has risen from 38 to 53 percent
- Live chat interaction has risen from 40 to 49 percent
At Alaris Antennas, while travel is now opening and in-person exhibitions are becoming the norm again, we have learned a lot during the last two years and our website has played a pivotal role in sharing information and assisting our clients in learning more about our products and technical capabilities.
Nitch concludes: “Whether we are doing video conferencing or having a face-to-face interaction, the basics of the sales operation, namely; relationship building, exceptional service and great quality products remain the same.”
According to McKinsey, chances are that the remote way of work we had to get used to over the last two years, is here to stay. At Alaris Antennas, we are excited to continue servicing our clients in a hybrid way that includes both digital and face-to-face interactions.