Today, more B2B transactions occur without any interaction from a sales rep than ever before. Think about that for a minute — and the implications for the sales cycle. We know that more people than ever are researching online before talking to sales teams — but now much of the sales process is happening without any interaction at all? Let’s take a deeper look.
The buyer journey has changed forever, and sales leaders must change their approach in order to reach the modern B2B buyer. If they haven’t done so already, they’re risking it all.
It takes a collaborative approach to the buying process between sales professionals and marketing pros to attract, nurture, and close deals with a potential buyer. A sales enablement platform and digital salesroom platform are both crucial to optimizing the buyer experience, and giving organizations the sales automation tools they need to manage B2B sales interactions.
What Is a Digital Sales Room?
Also known as a “digital deal room,” a digital sales room provides a virtual destination that serves to close the gap between the modern buying journey and the traditional sales process. It allows potential or new customers easy access to all the relevant content they need throughout their journey. At the same time, it provides sales organizations with insights into prospective buyer behavior and engagement, along with showing them what marketing content and relevant information is being consumed, and what’s converting well. This helps sellers better understand buyer needs and interests, resulting in more targeted sales proposals in the deal cycle.
A digital sales room functions as a digital showroom for interactive content, allowing customers to choose what they want to engage with. It is customer-facing and can be customized by the marketing and sales teams based on the customer’s needs. Sales reps can create client portals that provide highly targeted content, including data and spec sheets, case studies, sales collateral, interaction content, etc.
Much like in B2C sales interactions, digital sales room algorithms learn customer behavior and preferences over time so you can further tailor content accordingly. This digital space integrates with your sales enablement tool to capture every touchpoint across different digital channels and sales interactions to nurture prospects and close deals. By pulling all of this data together, sales teams have a more comprehensive picture of their buyers, helping to accelerate the sales process.
Today, one of the challenges for B2B sales teams is that buying committees are expanding. Complex B2B sales generally involve six to 10 decision-makers, each of which may approach the buying process with different goals in mind. The digital sales room makes it easy for material to be shared among decision makers and allows sellers to track who engages with what material.
Gartner's research shows that B2B buyers spend only 17% of their time meeting with all potential sellers. If they’re talking to multiple providers, any one sales rep may only get 5% of the total time. So, when they get that 5%, they had better be prepared and know exactly what that prospect wants. By tracking engagement, sales teams can refine their messaging and come armed to every opportunity with the knowledge they need to improve their win rates.
Effectively using digital sales room software requires integration with your tech stack so that every customer touchpoint and interaction is tracked — whether it’s in person or digital. Face-to-face meetings, phone calls, video calls, and virtual selling must all flow seamlessly through the digital sales room software, capture sales interactions, and provide the relevant content to work together, providing real-time insight to drive buyer engagement.
The real value of digital sales is not in replacing the role of the sales rep or bypassing a sales engagement platform. It is, however, an important part of the new buyer-focused sales process. Today, technology allows us to track just about everything prospects and customers do. How many times have they visited your website? Where did they go? What are they looking at? Have they downloaded any content or watched a video? How long did they watch the video?
Throughout the buyer's journey, you’re collecting all of these data points to help better understand prospects, so when you do get the chance to engage directly, you’re ready. Using digital sales rooms makes it simple for prospects to continue their journey in a more focused way and pull other people into the buying process.
A Digital Sales Room Example
Here’s an example of how this might work. Through digital interactions, you get insight into what is drawing a prospect’s interest. That enables you to customize your outreach to get a meeting based on past engagement. Ahead of that meeting, you can tap into virtual selling tools to provide additional relevant content to frame the meeting. Maybe you will send a short video about how your product helped someone else in the same industry and include an agenda or key items to discuss. This demonstrates that you understand the prospect’s needs and aren’t going to try to force them to sit through a canned sales pitch filled with details that aren’t relevant to them or their needs and pain points.
Since sales calls today often occur in 15-minute and half-hour blocks, it also shows you are respecting a B2B prospect’s time. You may also want to send an introductory video so you can get right down to business when you get to the live meeting.
During that meeting, you can explain that, based on your discussion, you are going to create a digital sales room for them and provide any relevant content they need. This is where prospects can review proposals, look at sales decks, and access anything associated with the buying process. As prospects interact, there is an easy way to message and ask questions. Sellers get a notification and can respond quickly or leave a note for future review. This furthers the sales conversation without having to tie up either buyers or sellers with phone calls, video meetings, or in-person chats.
As prospects continue to interact with content, you can continue to refine how you nurture and target them.
Digital Sales Rooms in Action
The best digital sales rooms have built-in tools that allow marketing and sales teams to easily navigate and populate relevant content. And the best digital sales room platforms provide tools that allow you to create a series of templates segmented by personas, industries, interests, and products. The goal is to allow sales people to customize and personalize these pieces quickly with a few clicks, such as adding a name, logo, or a tailored message.
Sales teams can hand pick the content they want to feature, based on interactions and where customers are on the buying journey. At the beginning of the sales cycle, it may be slightly generic, but as interactions occur and both you and the platform start to understand buyer interest, you can continue to refine the content to provide information that drives them through their journey.
By tracking engagement, you start to understand motivations. For example, when someone looks at your pricing and terms on multiple occasions, and maybe shares that with others in their organization, you can start to anticipate their questions and provide more depth. You may add case studies focused on ROI and a white paper that demonstrates return on investment to your digital deal room, for example.
If that information gets viewed, you know you’re on the right track. Again, this allows you to better focus follow-ups and information to keep deals moving forward. If you see that the content isn’t resonating, it’s a data point that can serve as a catalyst for re-evaluating your approach and asking more questions to find out where you got off track. Either way, it’s important to know.
The End of Boring, Generic Sales Decks
For all of their benefits, it’s important for sales teams to understand that not every customer will embrace this way of doing business. They may never access your client portal, preferring instead to grab info on your website or email back and forth when they want something. You’ll also have some people that want to do business face to face. Still, the digital sales room works as a repository for capturing the information and materials you need to fuel virtual discovery or in-person discovery.
It also helps keep sales teams stay organized around customer needs and interests, even if you’re pulling content out of the digital salesroom and sharing it by email, etc.
All of this can reduce, or even eliminate the need for generic, introductory-level marketing content. After all, nobody has time to sit through boring presentations or discovery calls. By the time a prospect engages, they likely know their problem, what your solution claims to do, and they’re seeking answers to highly specific questions. This process allows you to structure the conversation throughout the digital buyer's journey to give prospects what they want without wasting their time.
It lets buyers conduct the self-discovery they’re going to do anyway and, when it’s time to interact, get down to business more quickly. It also helps buyers stay organized. If you’re sending materials back and forth by email or they’re seeing certain things on your website, it’s easy for information to get lost or for it to become difficult to find when needed. A digital deal room puts everything in one place, so it’s easy for buyers to find what they need, even if it’s weeks or months later when they re-engage.
To maximize the potential of digital sales rooms, marketing teams must come up with a library of strong, relevant, and high-quality content that can be customized quickly by the sales team. Marketing and sales must be tightly aligned to determine what materials need to be developed in order to maximize their digital sales rooms for each individual prospect.
Digital Sales Rooms are Increasing in B2B Sales
Digital sales rooms are growing in use significantly. Gartner predicts that by 2025, half of all enterprise B2B sales implementations will include digital sales rooms and 80% of all B2B interactions between buyers and suppliers will take place on digital channels. To be successful in this self-serve buying era, B2B marketers need to make digital sales rooms a central part of their strategies.
Folloze enables digital sales rooms that allow enterprises to build online toolkits for meaningful customer engagement.
The Folloze personalized marketing platform accelerates account-based marketing (ABM), channel marketing, demand generation, sales orchestration, sales enablement, live events, and more.
To learn more about how to supercharge your digital sales rooms, contact Folloze today to request a demo.