Tarmo Riit
Tarmo Riit

03.04.2019 written for Linkedin " We live in the digital age "

We live in the digital age. And this has had a significant impact on the sales process of B2B sales companies. We use a powerful and effective communication technique. Digitization, connectivity and virtualization have brought about profound changes in the business operations of B2B companies and quickly break past traditions.

We can be online and communicate with customers, suppliers even from “blueberry forest”,quickly prepare sales offers, send purchase orders, solve critical situations. In addition, opportunities in e-commerce are developing ... Looking back at the time of our re-independence, in the early days of B2B business in Estonia in the early 1990s, we can only note the extremely rapid development of communication technology and communication opportunities. The natural question arises as to whether the digital era will also have other effects on B2B sales, apart from the thriving efficiency gains? Customers of companies providing B2B goods and services are also companies.. B2B sales are traditionally long-term processes, well planned, because financially,deals are relatively bulky and expensive. The time to deal with the purchase process is to be refined by the buyer.Experienced employees consider purchasing decisions,often making purchasing decisions at the purchaser as a result of through, professional work of the purchasing department team. This is in contrast to B2C ( business to customer ) sales, where the purchase decision is largely dependent on one or two people or family views. In addition, single transactions in the B2C sector are relatively small-scale, do not require long planning time, purchasing decisions are made quicly ( if you exclude real estate, cars, yachts...). This difference between B2B and B2C has kept B2B sales much more professional and efficient in pre-digital era. In order to increase competitiveness, B2B has used different sales methods as field-sales and consultative-sales, solutions sales, value sales, after-sale supports, etc. In order to succeed with the B2B buyer in the B2B purchasing department, the B2B seller has contributed to the development of his sales team.

Which are the current trends in the B2B sales-purchases?

Regardless of the field, there can be massive change in the initial negotiation processes with customer. The change is due to the online market transparency and globalization.The established customer relationships are further strenghtened by the vendors, making companies more and more customer-centric. Attractive customer experiences are coming more and more important, a variety of customer events to protect and strenghten loyalty have been widely used.The value chains have changed for increase of intermediaries and often intermediaries have mediators as well. This brings new providers to the markets. Together

with the globalization of markets, it is raising competition levels to new heights. Factors that require change and should be addressed:

* Greater transparency in the global market, increasing customer purchasing power via fast-aivalable information-flow.

* Faster and easier replacement of products and services for wide and fast aivalability sufficient technical and etc. informations in needs.

* The emergence of new, alternative providers with lower prices and un-traditional business-models

* Significant shift in the purchasing power of the sales process to the buyer.

* Seller needs to deliver more sophisticated products, services that are more suited to changing modern-customer requirements.

For B2B sales companies seems to be good instruments for adaptation:

* contribution B2B business-executives to retransform to individ-orientated sales-force to extraordinary motivated and compact sales-teams.

* B2B business executives own and more regular participation in sales-process, not to duplicate sales-representatives, but to open more widely to customers company missions, strategies, aivalable mainly from executive compedence-level.

* Engagement to in-direct sales-influencers whole company team, including backoffice people etc.

* Entrace to sales-process via customer-relationship as early as possible ( after investment-decisions , etc. )

* Introducing CRM ( Customer Relationship Management ) software use in company in effective way

* Retransformation purchase-process for customer as fast and comfortable as possible

* Overlook from customer point of view offered goods and services, arranging needed and possible adaptations as fast as possible

* To be effective to use digitalization-advantages to communicate better with market

* Better integrating marketing-and sales processes together under direct quidances of executive

B2B Salesman - what will be his ( hers ) destiny during digitalisation processes?

There has been made several studies how customers look to sales-representatives services during globalization, digitalisation. Despite digitalisation and easy access to information on the Internet,buyers continue to appreciate highly direct contact with sales staff in sales companies - if they are professional and supportive enough. It is really important that these contacts must help the buyer to get more advantages , not only to solve real-case specific customer- problems.

The highly-rated sales representative features are usually:

* Helpfulness, informativeness

* Level of comprehensive support above customer expectations

* Very good sector-specific knowledge

* Professionalism

* Ability to highlight the additional benefits associated with deal, offer alternatives.

The best will be to advice to B2B companies to find and hire naturally talented sales representatives ( called as " Challengers " ) but unfortunately this persons are aivalable only in very limited number, specially in small countries, as Estonia is. And typically this persons are already hired by large, powerful B2B companies which would like to keep them. Probably the best possible solution is to find out about the labor market and hire and develop good ones average or simply potential sales staff and integrate them with the company's team-based sale strategy, company's high internal culture and customer service culture.

Integrated with modern tools, belonging to digitalisation period as well, this will ensures the result.

One is sure, a B2B professional salesman will remain in the digital age, and his reputation grows thanks to the era itself.

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