To work from home
Hybrid, remote or personal – no matter what the future of work looks like, one thing is certain: Reaching the right person remotely will be even more difficult in the coming months.
Prosper – work from home
Prosper Insights & Analytics
According to the August 2021 consumer survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 14.8% of business buyers who used to work from home are now working from home. That’s a decrease from more than a quarter (25.6%) of workers who reported the same thing in the April 2020 Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, which shows more people are returning to offices. The August 2021 survey also found that 64% of employees have no influence on the company’s purchasing decisions. When you summarize these factors through the lens of a B2B sales professional, we have what could make it difficult to reach prospects.
Prosper – influence company acquisitions
Prosper Insights & Analytics
I sat down with Leo Tenenblat, Chief Product Officer at Drift, a sales acceleration platform for more than 50,000 companies like Okta and Gong, to discuss what an uncertain future of work means for the future of sales.
Gary Drenik: What do you think are the biggest challenges for sales teams after the pandemic?
Leo Tenenblat: I think the challenges for sales teams haven’t changed much since the pandemic – their end goal is still to have conversations with prospects and close deals. What has changed is the way we engage prospects in a digital-first environment.
In order for sales teams to win now and in the future, they need tools that connect them to more qualified buyers faster. It involves unifying data to understand which accounts have the highest intent and eliminating the friction between being identified and starting a conversation.
Drenik: What are some of the lasting changes that will remain after we return to the office?
Tenenblat: During the pandemic, we saw chatbot engagement increase about 40% outside of 9am to 5pm as they spent more time catching up on emails and looking for solutions to improve their workflow. This trend will continue.
For sales teams, out-of-hours engagement means one of two things: Either you’re ready 24/7 to greet a prospect or customer on your website – which just can’t be done – or you channel new technologies like AI to do the work for you She. Drift’s automated chatbots bind and qualify website visitors in real time and ask questions about their organization and needs. One step further, these bots can plan meetings directly from the chat.
Drenik: How is B2B purchasing different today from what it was before the pandemic? What does it borrow from B2C?
Tenenblat: This is an interesting question because that’s what Drift was founded for in 2015. Our founders David Cancel and Elias Torres saw a growing gap between B2B and B2C buying processes. While B2C prioritized a smooth, customer-centric process, B2B relied on sales forms with long leads and impersonal email marketing campaigns.
Today, consumer behavior has changed and shoppers make more than 80% of their purchases online. However, B2B companies are still struggling to deliver amazing online experiences to these digital-first customers. Brands need to fix that or they will lose valuable revenue. Right now in a digital environment, there is a race to get your customers’ attention and B2B companies need tools to act faster. To do this, marketing and sales organizations need to reorganize according to customer needs – not their own.
Drenik: Where do you see the greatest need for teams to be successful during this transition?
Tenenblat: The greatest need is to challenge the status quo and our preconceived notions about how we interact with customers virtually.
Corporate websites have long been viewed as static billboards for marketing messaging and brand-centric communication, but now we need to rethink their role as a top-of-the-funnel storefront, where prospects and customers can interact with the brand at any time on their terms.
Drenik: How does this affect sales and marketing on an organizational level?
Tenenblat: For decades, sales and marketing teams have spoken different languages and measured success with different metrics, even though they fulfill the same basic function: business development. Now the dynamics are shifting, as every manager has to make himself responsible for the turnover as a key figure. At Drift, we call this the “revenue era”.
With this single goal in mind, sales, marketing and all departments should be united in order to achieve lasting customer benefits throughout the entire buying process – from new business to renewal and expansion. Drift builds the tools to make it faster.
Drenik: Thank you, Leo, for taking the time to walk us through these changes in the way we work. With new factors like the delta variant and labor shortage calling into question our return to work, this shifting focus on sales will be crucial.