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Omnichannel communication in B2B sales becomes the new normal, according to new McKinsey study

05/19/2021 By

B2B buyers want it all, at least when it comes to sales negotiations. A new report on a study of 3,500 B2B decision makers across 12 countries issued by the consultants at McKinsey & Co. found that B2B buyers are now looking to use and sustain omnichannel options — in-person, remote or e-commerce channels — to make deals with supplier sales reps.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person meetings and deals might seem like the days of yore. Although many procurement departments have caught up with the digital trend in their processes, many B2B deals and negotiations were still primarily made during in-person meetings. That had to change with the pandemic.

And even as in-person options reopen once again, B2B buyers still enjoy having that flexibility.

So rather like the type of experience long-adopted by the retail sector, which integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (e.g. online, in a physical shop, or by phone), omnichannel for B2B buying appears to be here to stay. The report found that two-thirds of procurement buyers prefer remote interaction with others or digital self-service options. Buyers made it clear they prefer having a cross-channel mix between in-person, remote and digital self-service in equal measure.

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“The equilibrium is no accident,” the report writes. “As B2B buyers flexed to remote and digital ways of engaging, they found much to like. The use and preference for e-commerce — self-serve, for example — has grown since August 2020. Buyers also moved easily between in-person and remote sales as quarantine restrictions shifted, with the choice of channel coming down to practicality and timing more than efficacy.”

Not only do buyers enjoy omnichannel, it still produces results for organizations. The report found that 8-in-10 B2B leaders said omnichannel is as or more effective than just traditional methods. This sentiment grew rather rapidly in the last year, too — 54% found this to be true in the beginning of the pandemic. Now, 83% said this was the case.

B2B leaders showed growing confidence in omnichannel, with 83% of leaders finding it a more successful way to find and secure new business than the traditional, face-to-face only sales approach.

“Despite the conventional wisdom that big ticket sales require in-person contact, 20% of B2B buyers said they would be willing to spend more than $500,000 in a fully remote/digital sales model. And 11% of all B2B buyers would spend more than one million,” the report stated.

It’s a good sign for those looking to find sales rep jobs or to hire sales rep jobs. The report said that 64% of B2Bs are interested in increasing the number of hybrid sellers. Hybrid sellers will have to interact with customers via video, phone, apps, and the occasional in-person visit to conduct their omnichannel sales.

These are just some of the insights gleaned from the McKinsey study. Visit the study’s webpage to learn more about omnichannel sales in B2B buying.