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Recommendation management in B2B sales

Digital Process Automation Lead Generation Digitalization
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Pascal Gerber
by Pascal Gerber

Digitalization is releasing a lot of potentials. This also applies to lead generation in sales. However, studies show that the digital transformation has not yet arrived in B2B sales. Yet new options for addressing customers are available here, which companies can use to their advantage.

Sales 2.0 can become a reality

Digitalization holds enormous potential for companies across all industries. This also applies to lead generation in B2B sales, which has changed rapidly in recent years and is still in flux. Here, in particular, digital transformation offers decisive advantages. However, the new digital opportunities are rarely fully exploited, as shown when looking at current studies. According to these studies, digitalization in B2B sales is progressing only very slowly. This means that we cannot speak of Sales 2.0 just yet. There is a need to catch up here.

Customer needs and wishes have changed comprehensively due to the digital transformation of society. This applies equally to the B2C and B2B sectors. Customers want products that are technically up to date, but they also want interaction models that correspond to the new digital possibilities. Those accustomed to using digitalization benefits in their private lives do not want to do without it in their work environment. This means that sales must become proactive on a personal level to generate new leads.

This is difficult to achieve with a sales force that relies on conventional methods and is predominantly based on the individual sales employees' local expertise. That's why it's more important than ever for a traditional sales force/department/team to reinvent itself and adequately leverage the potential of digitalization. This is the only way B2B sales can continue to operate successfully in an increasingly challenging market environment.

A chatbot does not make a digital sale

However, digital B2B sales do not mean using a chatbot on company homepages or a smartphone app as additional touchpoints. These touchpoints are important because they are demanded by customers and part of a modern corporate presence. However, digital sales predominantly mean that digitalization possibilities for process optimization, customer contact, and information acquisition are also consistently applied and their potential exploited.

Particularly in recommendation management, digital processes and the use of smart data can raise sales processes to a new level. The example of sales in the insurance and finance sector illustrates what this can look like in practice. Here, data-driven recommendation management for lead generation has already been successfully implemented. The newly available knowledge also helps to identify possible pain points in advance when approaching potential customers. The latter also applies to existing customers, whose concerns, and demands can thus be preemptively addressed.

Researching existing and potential new customers is a standard task in sales. However, it ties up a lot of time. On average, salespeople spend 30 minutes on it - every day. The lead generation process still requires a great deal of administrative effort if it is to be successful. Preparation, planning, and steering cost time – time that could be better spent doing other things. After all, digital assistants can be used for routine tasks, such as research.

Penetrate new market segments

Digital recommendation management reduces the need for (manual) research by the salesperson and helps them penetrate market segments in a radically new way. This is where digitalization opens new avenues. For example, high-quality data from historicized commercial registers and reliable business information can be evaluated, enriched, and supplemented with existing customer data for lead generation in the financial and insurance sector. This provides the sales department with an overview of potential target customers and prioritization and qualification of these potential customers. This type of recommendation management is GDPR compliant and corresponds to the status quo of what is technologically feasible.

The use of these relationship algorithms in the finance and insurance sector ensures that the sales cycle can be shortened by up to 40 percent. In this way, both decision-makers in companies can be identified for addressing new customers, and the relationship with existing customers can be intensified.

To the consultant with sales instinct

Data-driven recommendation management with digital assistants is not only suitable for finance and insurance services. Other industries can also benefit from it. The most significant potential lies where the products and services offered are complex, are not self-explanatory. Despite the use of intelligent digital tools, sales cannot do without human salespeople - but their role is changing more and more from a pure salesperson to a consultant with sales instincts. To make direct contact with the customer as profitable and goal-oriented as possible for both sides, digital assistants are therefore indispensable; there is no other way to gain comprehensive background.

Axon Ivy Tip

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