May 17, 2022

Digital-First Selling is the Future

Matt Compton

Co-Founder & CEO

Digital-first. Virtual selling. Collaborative selling. These terms funnel up to the way buyers are preferring to interact.

Digital-first selling isn't new, but the pandemic and workplace shifts of the last 3 years have brought about its revolution. A McKinsey & Company April 2022 article reports "buyers and sellers not only intend to continue engaging remotely; two-thirds prefer it to in-person interactions at many purchasing stages", with "more than 90 percent of enterprises [planning] to sustain the changes made to their sales force structure over the past year to enable hybrid."

Your buyers are distracted … and stressed.

Buyers are busy. They have dozens of projects piled on their plates (which is why they need your software or service!) But to a buyer, the process of purchasing can seem like yet another droning task.

This kicks off your company's selling experience in two major ways—none of which are good:

  • Your brand is associated with stress for your buyer. "Ugh, I have to get this software evaluated and purchased, but I have no time to coordinate a call or sift through my email." Or, for existing customers, it’s an ongoing painful process of trying to locate conversations, resources, expectations, the gambit.
  • Your long-term customer experience if you do sign the buyer is kicked off by digging yourself out of a stressful purchasing experience.

Are you making it easy for buyers? (and yourself?)

Buyers (and sellers!) want the flexibility to evaluate and purchase on their terms. While, yes, the world is moving towards a hybrid working environment permanently (if we're not there already), "customers want to be served in this manner, and sellers want flexibility in how they work." (McKinsey & Company)

It shouldn't be foreign to have a high benchmark of CSATs at the beginning of a customer relationship. When contracts are signed, companies should be working to maintain and elevate an already amazing customer experience, not just starting to build it.

What about existing customers? Their purchasing experience still matters.

Think about how you interact with existing customers. Where does your partnership history exist? In 5, 10 different apps? That many channels may sound ridiculous, but it’s the norm.

“B2B buyers use up to and sometimes more than ten channels, including online and digital, as part of any given purchase, which is double the number of channels five years ago, and up from seven channels only two years ago.” (McKinsey & Company)

No alt text provided for this image
Image: McKinsey & Company

There’s an obvious gap in the tools used pre-sale to what’s expected post-sale. Conversations, documents, resources, stakeholder thoughts and feedback—all of these crucial pieces of a buyer/seller relationship live disparately in tools with their own specific purpose. None of which are for streamlining a sales process for the seller or buyer.

“OK, so digital-first selling is already here. How do I get on board?”

The proof is in the data. Your buyers — both existing and new — are falling into a permanent hybrid-work life, and digital-selling not only fits that mold, it’s how global sales is evolving.

"Hybrid selling orchestrates the customer journey across multiple touchpoints and is, therefore, a critical capability in the omnichannel ecosystem."
(McKinsey & Company)

Thought leaders like McKinsey & Company have already called out the "omnipresence of omnichannel", and how a combination of channels allows customers to purchase the way they prefer and enable "broader and deeper real-time customer engagement."

The question for every seller in particular remains: "Great, but how do I do that in a high-velocity capacity that templatizes a strategic sales process?"

Here's how we see it:

  • Employees want a hybrid work life, whether businesses like it or not. It's here, we're living it, it's time to adapt.
  • Buyers and sellers want a digital-first [sales] experience.
  • Bonus: Digital-first accelerates conversations, meaningful engagement, and desired outcomes.

Enable your teams to win.

When it comes to selling, leaders must enable their sales teams with a digital-first strategy that offers flexibility on both the buyer and seller side, producing:

  • Reduced sales cycle
  • Increased win rates
  • Higher customer CSAT, retention, & growth
  • Increased selling efficiency

At Filo we’re leaning into what 90% (McKinsey & Company) of enterprises are evolving towards: hybrid, digital-first collaboration.