Since the pandemic, many B2B buyers have had to deal with changes in priorities and budget, with many reporting that their purchase timeline has increased. These changes have made the job of B2B sales even harder. Indeed, for 45% of B2B organizations surveyed by Showpad, closing a deal has been more difficult than before the pandemic.
There are several reasons for the increased difficulty in closing deals. Buying decisions being put on hold was one of the key reasons cited by close to half (46%) of those surveyed, while a little more than two-fifths (43%) say that buyers are reprioritizing. Others are finding that buyers are undergoing budget cuts (36%) and changes in their decision criteria (36%) since the pandemic.
Digital Transformation Presents Challenges for Sellers
The pandemic has led many companies to step up their digital transformation efforts. In fact, 84% of organizations report that they have had to undergo significant digital transformation since the pandemic.
Although other research found that B2B sales professionals are optimistic about digital selling and its positive impact on their organization’s recovery, Showpad posits that one reason sales enablement has become more important since the pandemic is because sales teams were not prepared to sell remotely. Since the pandemic, 28% of respondents cite one of their biggest challenges as not having enough training to succeed with remote selling (up from 23% before the pandemic).
Alongside the sparsity of training, some 28% now say they have difficulty gauging engagement on calls (up from 19% prior to the pandemic). This poses a problem since close to 6 in 10 (57%) report that more than half of their sales calls became remote only.
The pandemic has also led B2B buyers to engage with digital content more. While 20% of organizations were challenged by not being able to access relevant content before the pandemic, that percentage has grown to 29% since the pandemic.
Sales Enablement Challenges
Earlier this year, research from Seismic found that sales enablement visionaries are most likely to support sales, marketing and customer service. Unfortunately, since the pandemic, sales enablement professionals have found cross-functional collaboration to be a bigger challenge than prior to the pandemic (43% vs. 34%). There has also been a spike in those who are finding it difficult to connect the dots across all involved functions (pre-pandemic: 15%; since the pandemic: 33%).
Perhaps surprisingly, only about 1 in 5 (18%) say their job has become more of a challenge due to drastic budget cuts. This, however, is up from 10% prior to the pandemic.
Tools for Remote Engagement
Since the pandemic, about one-quarter (24%) of sellers say they don’t have access to the technology needed. And, although the vast majority say they have access to all the required tools to engage buyers remotely, the survey shows a gap in the tools being used.
More than three-quarters (77%) say they use video onboarding systems (such as Zoom, Teems and Webex) to engage with prospects remotely, yet far fewer are using tools such as webinar solutions (45%), meeting intelligence (40%) or enablement content solutions (40%).
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About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of more than 400 B2B organizations from various industries and company sizes covering the US, UK and DACH region.