The New Normal: How the Cloud and COVID-19 Have Impacted B2B SalesApril 14, 2021 No Comments
In this interview, Mert Yentur, CEO of Pitcher discusses the changes that SaaS models and COVID have had on sales enablement technology, including which features are most likely to become permanent.
- Q. How has cloud computing and the SaaS model impacted B2B sales?
A. I’d say that the cloud is accelerating the trend toward better and more engaging sales conversations. In part, this is because the number of those involved in buying decisions and the different interests they represent has widened. Demonstrating value in an increasingly short amount of time to various stakeholders is now table stakes for sales teams. To your question, the shift to the cloud adds additional pressure in that the old model of simply “getting to yes” no longer applies. Now, sales teams must articulate not just the initial value, but ongoing value, as subscription-based services mean customers have other options at their fingertips. Mass-customized collateral and vendor-dominated conversations no longer cut it, and sales teams have had to adjust to be more transparent and agile.
- Q. Same thing about COVID-19, what are some of the changes you’re seeing there?
A. COVID-19’s primary impact was the elimination of in-person visits, the cornerstone for field reps from the beginning of time. Reps had to adapt quickly to virtual visits, often with sales enablement solutions that weren’t built for them – and the necessity of technology built for remote interactions became obvious nearly instantaneously. That’s one change – a hybrid model is now part of the new workplace environment, and sales teams now require solutions that make the virtual visit as effective as an in-person one. Additionally, the pandemic underscored the importance of personalized content. With screen fatigue and Zoom exhaustion, every minute of a conversation needs to speak to the customer’s pain points and how a vendor can uniquely solve them. It’s actually kind of interesting, in that technology will need to replace some of the soft skills that sales reps have traditionally cultivated. It’s a disruption, but I don’t think it has to be a scary one.
- Q. Which of these shifts, cloud or COVID-based, do you predict will become permanent?
A. I think sales teams will be looking to simplify the processes that individual reps have to manage. Instead of requiring reps to juggle a number of patchwork solutions for different parts of the sales cycle (notes, different communication channels, CRM, invoicing, content, etc.) enterprises will be looking to consolidate tools into a single platform. This will help cut down on the administrative burdens while also driving effectiveness, productivity, and workflow continuity. I also think that the pandemic showcased the need for omnichannel communication options, as applications and collaboration tools have proliferated. With no single standard, empowering reps with the ability to conduct business across whatever channels their customers use is just one more way of demonstrating flexibility and awareness of customer needs.
- Q. What technologies or features are proving to be essential to sales teams?
A. Again, I’d say simplicity and comprehensiveness are the two key elements. Any sales enablement platform should make it simple for field reps to do their job, from recording new data and access historical information, to integrate with CRMs and ERPs, and creating content tailored specifically to specific prospects. This kind of agility also needs to become part of retail execution processes and auditing, and I think data-driven models designed to customize all parts of sales enablement and customer engagement are the future.
- Q. What types of organizations is Pitcher seeing the most interest from? Are there certain industries that are adapting faster than others?
A. One of our strengths is that while we work across multiple verticals, we are also acutely aware of the differences and particularities within each vertical market. If your sales rep approaches manufacturing prospects in the exact manner they’d approach consumer goods prospects, there is no amount of technological innovation that can make up for that lack of understanding. We started ten years ago in the life sciences industry, and have a lot of traction there. We intentionally expanded into consumer and retail goods, financial services, and manufacturing, and have customers in each.
Mert Yentur is the founder and CEO of Pitcher, creator of the SuperApp, a unified, end-to-end mobile sales enablement and content management platform. Mert brings more than 20 years of experience as a computer engineer and 10 years of mobile innovation to Pitcher. Combining deep technical expertise with a vision of modernizing the sales process, Mert started his career as a computer engineer and studied neuromorphic engineering at the University of Zurich before founding Pitcher.
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