In today’s sales environment, hybrid selling has settled in as a common practice that will likely continue. This means that salespeople must be prepared to meet and work with prospects and clients wherever they may be. And as buyers and preferences evolve, sellers need to refine their hybrid selling techniques to strike a successful balance.
Research reveals hybrid selling will be the sweet spot
If you’re still unsure about hybrid selling’s staying power, consider recent research about buyers. Even from the very first touch point, buyers want a digital interaction. SalesFuel found that email is the most-preferred way that buyers first want to hear from a seller. SalesFuel also found that buyers use digital tools to research solutions and vendors on their own prior to contacting a rep. And they want to use those tools throughout their buying journey as well. They turn to social media postings, online ratings and reviews, podcasts, and other resources during the buying process.
But research has also show that buyers aren’t always successful going rep-free. They have a hard time wading through and applying the information they find online. And they do want valuable insights from sellers.
This is where hybrid comes in.
“Given the choice of traditional (for example, in-person), remote (for example, video conference or phone) and self-service (for example, e‑commerce) interactions, buyers globally have shown they want them all—and in equal measure throughout the purchasing journey,” McKinsey reports.
“Supercharge” your skills
Considering their research findings, McKinsey shares suggestions for how sellers can "supercharge" skills and succeed in a hybrid sales environment. This type of sales delivery is still new; for so long, sellers relied on in-person, then in 2020, remote selling became the norm. Now, it’s time to evolve again, this time to a blend of the two.
This is why McKinsey’s first tip for sellers is to be agile. Salespeople must be able to offer services in-person and remotely, depending on buyers’ preferences and capabilities. Agility can help sellers accomplish this. Be conscious of what services buyers want delivered virtually vs. in-person. Then, determine how you can deliver on this and do so while providing value. “Hybrid sales structures expand upon the pre-pandemic version of inside sales…,” McKinsey explains. “In-person engagement doesn’t go away entirely, but it is reserved for specific accounts and moments that matter, such as very large customers with complex needs, or for important opportunities…”
Optimize your tech
Each and every communication with a client needs to be your best effort. Even if you provide more services in-person than remote, you still need to make sure remote offerings are valuable. You can do this by making sure your digital tools and tech are optimized for success. There’s a variety of tools that can help leverage hybrid selling,. And note that it's important to be comfortable with using them before adoption.
As McKinsey points out, “The pandemic has given rise to increasing use of a vast number of excellent technology tools that sales teams can deploy to their advantage—while also delighting customers across all stages of the funnel.”
But they warn against adopting a do-it-all approach which can be overwhelming. Instead, identify pain points that a particular tool can solve for your typical buyers. Also, make sure you’re not adding more work that doesn't reap value; if a digital tool requires a lengthy log-in and start-up process, it may not be worth your time. Or if a certain tool, like a video camera or digital whiteboard isn’t consistently reliable, find another solution.
Making smart choices when it comes to integrating tech into your process, and testing it thoroughly, can be beneficial to hybrid selling.
Embrace and implement enhanced learning journeys
There are so many tips, tricks and advice for successfully combining remote and in-person sales. Dive deep into this learning opportunity. Expand your mindset to explore new techniques and processes that you can implement, from presenting yourself via video to remote networking and prepping for remote-selling challenges.
Focus on the customer journey
Another approach to hybrid selling is to consider the impact on the buyer. Their journey has also changed, and you have the opportunity to fine-tune any gaps in their journey. As you offer, and they embrace, an omnichannel experience, there will likely be areas that could be improved or gaps that need to be filled.
Professionals at consulting firm BCG write about this point in a recent article, emphasizing that sellers can leverage these changes to improve the buyer experience.
“Consider your customer’s complete buying journey and, where you see gaps, the ways in which you might improve, such as by providing a better web experience to differentiate your products for a technical audience or a self-serve customer portal to manage orders,” they explain.
While it’s been difficult to guess sales’ direction following COVID-19’s emergence, it’s clear that buyers are wanting to stick with a hybrid process. To compete, sellers must adopt successful hybrid strategies and embrace the evolution. As McKinsey writes, “If keeping up with customers’ omnichannel expectations has felt like a game of two steps forward, one step backward, B2B companies now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift share meaningfully—through greater orchestration, integration, and personalization.”
With these tips and SalesFuel’s additional insights, you can adopt and integrate best practices that will prepare you for success in this new sales environment.
Photo by Marcus Aurelius