The new reality of sales is that everything is online.
Personalized touchpoints? Done online with the help of customized data.
Keeping up with existing clients? Done through multiple channels like email and social platforms.
Meeting new clients? Done virtually through video and audio conferencing apps, chat, etc.
Statistics tell us even more about the rising value of online interactions;
However, this does not mean that in-person meetings are a thing of the past. Even though a great majority of buyers prefer virtual over in-person, there is still a need for salespeople to be ready to meet their prospects and customers – especially those who still prefer traditional channels.
The solution to this changing landscape is a hybrid model that goes beyond ‘multi-channel sales’.
What Is A Hybrid Sales Model?
A hybrid sales model is a perfect (read: customized to your business processes) mix of in-person and digital to engage with leads and close deals.
Here’s a brief example of what a hybrid sales approach can look like: A prospect is approached through social media, demo meeting is set through a scheduling app/audio-video software and the final deal is closed during an in-person meeting.
Even though a lot of in-person meetings happen for larger deal sizes or when dealing with enterprise customers, there are some customers who prefer to meet and sign on in-person.
The point is, digital interactions are becoming the new normal while face to face meetings are still considered great for building credibility and a relationship with clients by 75% of professionals.
In fact, Thomas Slocum, VP of Sales at TrainYo and Founder of Com-Unity says that “The last few years have been so digital where everyone has been so focused on their computers, their technology, their social platforms that we’re back in this period where offline is coming back…offline is really making a difference again and it’s becoming this new wave that helps build a bigger community between your company, prospects and buyers.”
Listen to some interesting insights on the importance of going hybrid by Thomas Slocum in conversation with Cloudlead co-founder, Moaaz:
On the other hand, a majority of clients have settled in with the ease of access and information that digital channels provide, evidenced by the fact that only 20% say they want to return to in-person sales. This is also supported by Gartner’s research that estimates 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur through digital by 2025.
So how to merge these two very different – but equally important – approach to sales? The answer is a hybrid sales model that utilizes the right technologies and processes to remain flexible and meet each customer’s needs as required.
How To Build A Hybrid Sales Model For B2B
Keeping all fancy terms aside, the point of a hybrid model is to give your clients the right to decide how they want to learn about you and build a relationship with you.
Let’s break down the model into practical steps:
1 – Adopt The Right Technologies For A Digital First Approach
With the above rule laying the groundwork, the first step should be to identify and adopt the right platforms and technologies that support remote sales and work. This includes classic tools like CRMs to scheduling apps, audio and video meeting software, chat apps, analytics, etc.
2 – Hybrid Sales And Marketing Workflow
The second step is to create a marketing and sales workflow that incorporates both online and offline elements. For instance, channels like LinkedIn are great for starting a conversation with prospects – but to build a deeper connection, salespeople should also use direct mail software like Postal.io.
3 – Train Your Salespeople To Adapt To A Hybrid Approach
The third and most crucial step is to train your salespeople to take full advantage of all the features offered by tools like your CRM.
Additionally, your sales team needs to learn how to service buyers across multiple channels – to be where your prospects are. In essence, this means capturing leads and interacting with buyers through multiple channels like social, email, phone or some combination of these.
For instance, a sales conversation does not necessarily have to start through a cold call or a cold email. You can also approach decision makers on LinkedIn by following their profile and adding them to your network.
Which brings us to the next point…
4 – Build Individual Presence On Social Platforms
Social selling is an important aspect of adopting a digital first approach to sales.
With this approach, it’s important that each salesperson in your team has a presence on social media platforms that your buyers frequent including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Even platforms that aren’t traditionally thought of as B2B focused like Reddit or Quora can bring in considerable leads.
The only catch is that each person on your sales team has to work on building their own personal brand and profile across multiple platforms. If you rely on your company’s social accounts to do the job for you, then you’re missing out on a ton of leads who prefer a more ‘personal’ connection.
If you successfully implement all four of these steps, you’ll be well on your way to building a solid hybrid sales model for 2022 and beyond.
To recap, here are the 4 steps to building a hybrid sales model:
1 – Find the right tools and technologies to support digital sales
2 – Include both online and offline channels to interact with prospects and customers
3 – Train your salespeople to adapt to a digital first model
4 – Incorporate social selling on a personal level