The data clearly shows that B2B buyers and sellers prefer the new digital reality. Here’s how companies are adapting.
Whether we like it or not, the “New Normal” is here, and while the current pandemic may not last forever, a significant shift in the way we conduct business seems like it’s here to stay.
To say that the last year has been a considerable challenge for companies world-wide is an understatement. Companies adapting to new market conditions are already a step ahead, while those who sit on the fence and wait for things to return to how they were are quickly being left behind.
This article aims to uncover the data that supports the remote working changes every business needs to make as we enter the post-pandemic era.
Remote Working & Freelancing Are On The Increase
Physical sales meetings are being replaced by virtual interaction. What’s even more interesting is that B2B buyers seem to prefer this method of business even when making high value purchasing decisions.
70-80% of B2B decision makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000 - McKinsey
The shift to remote working practices within the workplace has consistently been growing in popularity over the last few years. The global health crisis has just been the catalyst to propel this ‘new’ way of working into standard practice almost overnight.
And Remote working has mostly been a success, with 83% of employers and 71% of employees reporting that the shift from office-based to remote working as being “successful” or “very successful” according to a recent PWC survey
Advances in technology, especially software that makes communication and collaboration easy, has also been a factor in making this transition much faster than it would have been a few years back.
Time is short, because companies that are slow to digitize risk losing a race that has already begun. By design or default, most companies are heading toward a hybrid workplace - PWC
These figures are also backed up by the rapid rise in user numbers of online video and chat software within the workplace.
Zoom, the front runner in online video chat, is now used by over 700,000 companies globally and has reported an increase in daily video meetings from 10M in December 2019 to over 200M in April 2020.
Self-Employment & Freelancing Is On The Rise
As employers look to save money and skilled workers crave more control over their time and income, freelancing and self-employment have also been experiencing exponential growth over recent years.
The current economic climate has only accelerated the numbers of workers breaking away from the constraints and uncertainty of employment and has been steadily fueling this upward trend.
Statista reports that freelancers will make up 50.9% of the US workforce by 2027.
Companies Are Utilising Remote Working B2B Commission-Only Sales Reps
The changes in the way we’re now conducting business also extend to the types of relationships we have with our external partners and vendors.
Not only are companies quickly pivoting to remote working practices, but they’re also employing new strategies for rapid expansion and increased market penetration without having to rely solely on a static sales force.
Traditionally, expansion has meant physically moving into new territories. This expensive, resource-heavy and time-consuming practice was usually reserved for capital-rich companies and achieved by opening new offices and hiring additional employees locally.
Instead, companies are taking advantage of the freelance economy’s rise by creating strategic partnerships with remote working independent sales reps who currently operate in those areas.
Doing so has several benefits, including first-mover advantage, lower overheads, and taking advantage of the network effect that comes with it.
Companies of all sizes can now compete on a level playing field due to advances in online technology and a remotely connected society. Success is now more aligned to the quality of products and services being produced and not exclusively on the amount of working capital at your disposal
Laura McGregor, CommissionCrowd
The Importance Of Independent Sales Networks
Aside from the costs associated with finding and paying for new physical premises, recruiting new sales employees, training, and onboarding, the broader issue is much slower growth given the length of time it takes to expand into new territory physically.
Companies can now by-pass this by working in conjunction with a freelance sales force and tapping into their existing customer base and networks in those regions.
What’s great about B2B commission-only sales reps is that they can quickly open up new territories. We’re now making movements into Singapore and Hong Kong simply because we’ve been able to partner with the right sales agents in those regions without having to open new offices across Asia
Deepak Shukla, Pearl Lemon
Similarly, we’re seeing a rising trend in the number of sales professionals transitioning from employment to self-employment.
The ability to take advantage of a digitally connected world, where decision makers are comfortable making high-value purchases over video conference calls, means that sales professionals are no longer restricted to relying on a single entity to pay them a salary and provide the products and services they can sell locally.
Instead, self-employment means the ability to build diverse sales portfolios, save time and expense on travel and ultimately reap higher rewards as a result.
And It’s Only Just The Beginning…
The shift towards a more connected and remote working future was always in the works. It’s just taken a pandemic to show us that society functions well, if not better, in some cases when working remotely, given the technology now available to us.
Elon Musk goes one step further by saying “We’re already a cyborg. You have more power than the president of the United States had 20 years ago. You can answer any question, you can video conference with anyone, anywhere. You can send messages to millions of people instantly. Just do incredible things.”
And while that sounds far-fetched, in essence, he’s correct. Humans are already so integrated with mobile technology that it’s almost a physical part of us now.
This could also explain why decision makers are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchasing decisions without needing the salesperson to be physically present. It’s just not an efficient use of time.
In conclusion, while we’re living and working in challenging times, the data clearly shows that significant shifts in the way we operate are essential to moving forward.
The data clearly shows that B2B decision-makers are becoming increasingly comfortable making significant purchasing decisions without a physically present sales professional. Therefore, one thing will remain constant; companies with B2B remote sales teams will stay ahead of the curve.