McKinsey & Company is a company that specializes in helping organizations find the new paradigm of growth through their research, strategies, and technical reviews. They’ve recently released an article that explores what they’re calling the new B2B growth equation.
B2B is a fickle industry that’s constantly evolving to meet the evolving trends fuelled by a new generation of buyers and the desire for the B2B industry to finally go digital. In 2020, the entire B2B industry had a global worth of $14.9 trillion. That’s five times the worth of the B2C industry. Below, we’ll explore what they think the new B2B growth equation is and how it’s helping to progress with the rapid acceleration of the B2B industry.
The Omnichannel Experience
McKinsey & Company believes that the new growth equation for the B2B industry is an ‘always-on omnichannel experience.’ Omnichannel refers to a seamless, high-quality customer experience across multiple channels, including field sales. Their research tapped into 3,500 decision-makers that all agreed they still want more omnichannel – they want more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience.
They also found that there were no exceptions – nearly every buyer across every industry wants the omnichannel experience and set the new bar as offering ten or more channels three engagement modes. McKinsey calls this the new omnichannel excellence.
That drive for omnichannel excellence has led to multiple omnichannel platforms facilitating the digital shift, with two-thirds of buyers now opting for remote interactions. The result is B2B brands reporting their growth as exponential by offering face-to-face, remote, and eCommerce interactions across the omnichannel experience. 31% of brands think their new go-to-market model is more effective at reaching and serving customers.
What to Incorporate Into That
It’s not enough to offer an omnichannel experience of ten or more channels across three engagement modes; brands need to understand what buyers want from within these channels. Note above that personalization, convenience, and real-time customer service were mentioned.
For personalization, brands can explore incentive programs that can work alongside the omnichannel experience.
B2B incentive programs are designed to offer buyers personalized rewards based on their purchases – and omnichannel is an excellent source of data that can help brands create personalized offers. Click here for a great example of a B2B loyalty plan. Artificial intelligence might also work for tracking activity across the omnichannel network and display personalized information that can guide buyers towards a sale. Focusing on rewarding loyal customers can increase business profits by up to 95%.
For real-time customer service – tons of SaaS solutions give B2B sales teams the chance to form an open-communication channel that anyone can access. Traditionally, buyers would only be contact sellers for 17% of the buying decision, with most of them 85% towards deciding on a sale by conducting online research.
Some of this research may happen on an eCommerce website, making it the perfect place for communication. Live chatbots or even human chat software can enhance the buyer’s journey by helping them before they’ve even made a decision.
Reaching Omnichannel Equilibrium
One point Mckinsey made was how B2B brands are at an omnichannel equilibrium. It’s worth noting that the B2B industry has harnessed the power of omnichannel for years – but there was no equilibrium between old-school face-to-face field sales and the new digital world. The pandemic disrupted the equilibrium, with some companies swinging back and forth between the traditional sales model and the new one that the pandemic forced them to make.
Now, however, the equilibrium is the reason why 37% of B2B brands are happy with their new go-to-market model. Only 14% of brands think the new sales model doesn’t work, and those companies are primarily based in France and Japan. But, that equilibrium is only achieved through offering the gold standard of ten channels or more. Interestingly, providing just seven or more omnichannel saw 72% of sellers report a growth in their market share.
The balance is achieved by respecting that numerous traditional B2B buyers still want face-to-face interactions, so the omnichannel experience can’t cancel that out. What brands do brands have to do? Support field sales by offering multiple contact points, a seamless transition from digital to field sales, and personalization throughout the buying cycle.
Omnichannel will continue to dominate the future of B2B sales. The digital drive combined with traditional buyers is the perfect storm for the B2B industry to progress inclusively. B2B brands have the opportunity to create a working go-to-market model that seamlessly facilitates sales in ways that have never been possible.