How to use technology in the ‘new way of working’

Man looking at laptop screen

How can you adapt your sales process to be more digital and gain a competitive edge post-pandemic?

During our most recent #FirestarterForum, we addressed the topic of technology and the ‘new way of working’ that has been normalised over the last year due to the pandemic. We reviewed platforms that businesses have been relying on such as Zoom, HubSpot, Microsoft Teams, Slack and many more, which have now become a regular part of life at work.

One topic we looked at in-depth was how both B2B buyers and sellers are happy with the new digital reality, as they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions . Remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders and arrange service. This also means more speed and convenience.  For example, McKinsey found, 70 – 80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service. This is something that we believe has been approaching for a while. Not only is it for speed and convenience but virtual sales can help organisations lower their cost per visit, extend their reach and improve their sales effectiveness.

Human interactions statistic

Is your business just ‘functioning?’

It is essential in the long term for those businesses do be doing more than having their employees just ‘functioning’. At the beginning of the new way of working, businesses were just aiming to get their employees working from home, even if it meant using a family members laptop. However, businesses need to make sure they have a clear structure of the role technology plays within their business, such as security, video conferencing principles, remote team socialising etc.  During our technology forum, we shared a Technology Strategy on a Page (TSOAP), which is a practical tool that you can use in order to drive your business forward in a new way following the restrictions of the pandemic. If you would like to review the role that technology plays within your organisation, download out Technology Strategy on a Page Template for free here:

Furthermore, roughly three-quarters of people using digital channels for the first time during the pandemic say they will continue using them when things return to “normal”, according to McKinsey Consumer Pule surveys.  This creates the question of ‘how will we do business going forwards?’. As when things do go back to normal, buyers and sellers will no longer be “forced” into remote interactions, but they will be doing it out of choice.

How will we do business going forwards?

There are some key things that we need to think about, particularly with how we sell in this new mode of working. Specifically, we need to consider how a ‘team’ can be engaged in the sales process at

the right moment. For example, the age of the travelling sales person visiting prospects is probably over – now, digital communication methods allow the initial introductions to take place remotely, then a team of subject specialists can be deployed at the right time in the sales process to drive quicker, more efficient sales conversions. So, businesses now need to address the structure of their sales functions, potentially moving away from the traditional model and looking at new roles that can support a virtually led sales process.

We have also seen over the last few months that new initiatives can be deployed much quicker via digital channels (often driven by the necessity to pivot to new models and propositions during the pandemic) and as such, this pace of change has now become expected. Again, this leads to a change in systems, skills, processes, roles and people to deliver a ‘best in class’ buying experience that’s virtually led and exceeds expectations.

So, what does this all mean for the future of selling?

Whilst things are still moving and we are all finding our way into the new ways of working, no-one truly has all the answers yet, but we do know that changes are happening fast and there’s a lot to think about:

  1. Businesses are potentially going to need different structures, skills and role-types within their organisations in order to be successful in this new model.
  2. This could potentially deliver cost-efficiencies, by removing expensive resources and replacing them with different roles and resources that function in a very different way to deliver results.
  3. New investments are likely to be needed in order to compete effectively, but where do you focus – new technology, tools, training etc?
  4. Lots of businesses will be having the same strategic thoughts, so there will be a race to the top – how will different organisations differentiate themselves and stand out from their competitors?
  5. Also, this will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on delivery infrastructure and general operations, so businesses will need to consider potential changes throughout their whole operational business.

This is a really significant change in sales operations, responding directly to customer demand for increasing the level of digital interactions, and requires some deep, strategic thinking in order to adapt quickly and compete in this ‘new way of working.’

Therefore, the ‘new way of working’ and the dramatic increase in digital self service and remote human interactions has been a great opportunity for B2B organisations. There is a lower cost per visit, they can extend their reach and it is much more convenient. However, the virtual way of working will work best when businesses have a clear structure of the role technology plays and they are using the right platforms to their full potential.

What is the best technology you have started to use in the last 12 months? Would you use that technology platform even when things are back to ‘normal’?

Watch the Firestarter forum here:

Firestarter zoom meeting
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