Over 90% of sales shifted to remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the majority of people thinkremote selling is better than in-person sales. Further, companies that have a digital buying process are 2x more likely to be named a preferred supplier. This growth is happening across every industry - chemical manufacturing is not exempt, and chemical companies need to think about how to build and scale their digital channels. If you’re having trouble with digital sales adoption in your organization, here are four ways that chemical companies can accelerate their digital sales growth for a post-COVID reality.
1. Modernize your sales process
Even if you use Zoom to connect, it’s still often a very manual process. Since more than half (58%) of chemical buyers said they would switch providers if their preferences (including digital experiences) are not met, it’s critical to update and modernize your sales processes. If you update and modernize your sales process, you work with more customers using the same resources.
Modernizing your sales process has three key parts to it:
1. Tech-first: Your sales process needs to start and end with technology. While humans are involved throughout the process, it’s critical that the single source of truth is technology that everyone has access to. This not only helps with scalability, but also with analytics and data-driven decision-making later on. 2. Automate where possible: Simple processes like meeting booking requesting a quote or delivering boilerplate information should be automated. This not only saves time for your sales team, but provides a consistent experience for prospects. 3. Focused on training and ongoing support: A McKinsey and Company study found a lot of B2B salespeople are skeptical of data-driven decisions because they are used to trusting their gut. Providing ongoing support and training for your team is critical to get them adopting new habits.
With this foundation in place, you open up a world of opportunity, both from a sales efficiency perspective and using digital tools to bring new customers to you.
2. Create a unique customer experience
A Gartner study found that only 17% of the buyer’s journey is spent talking to suppliers. More than a quarter (27%) of that time is spent researching independently online and 18% of that time is spent researching offline. So once you have the right foundation in place for your sales team, you have to think about the customer experience throughout the whole buying process.
Since buyers spend more than double as much time researching as they do talking to suppliers, your website needs to support buyers in their journey with catalogs, pricing information, and educational content about your offering.
Keep in mind, too, that the experience doesn’t stop when someone buys your product. A McKinsey and Company study found that more than half of B2B buyers rely on sellers to remind them when it’s time to re-order. If you focus on an end-to-end customer experience with a technology foundation, you can automatically remind customers about reordering - and power it seamlessly through your digital portal.
3. Integrate your channel partners onto your portal
Distributors play a critical role in the chemical industry value chains. Not only do they service small and mid-size customers that are difficult to reach for producers, but they also hold inventory, handle complex logistics, provide technical support, and manage overall customer relationships.
Producers need an effective way to channel prospective customers (leads) to distributors so that the prospects get immediate attention and producers are able to track progress on leads routed to distributors. This is something native to the Agilis platform, through the Channel Partner Workflows feature. With this feature, Producers can create business rules to automatically route customer leads to specific distributors in respective geographies. This way, customers get immediate attention, distributors receive new sales opportunities and producers are able to improve the experience for all customers.
While each company is different, there are a few key integrations every organization needs:
With the right integrations, you’ll maintain a single source of truth both for your sales team and your customer experience, which leads to both a better partner experience and a better customer experience.
4. Launch your own enterprise marketplace:
When setting up digital buying portals, many chemical companies fall into the false assumption that you have to choose either a branded portal to sell by yourself or create a profile in an online marketplace. Instead of choosing between the two, create your own enterprise marketplace where you control the whole customer experience and bring customers right to your (digital) door.
For example, Agilis helps chemical manufacturers create branded online portals in a matter of weeks, with minimal business disruption, so they can create a tech-first digital experience for buyers. On top of the portal, Agilis integrates with UL Prospector to bring customers to you, providing the benefits of a marketplace.
Make digital acceleration easy
Buyers want digital options - and they want more information and transparency throughout the buying process. Instead of taking up even more time with information calls and answering questions, empower the whole process digitally. When you set up the right foundation, customer experience, integrations, and marketplace features, you end up with a digital buying ecosystem that is built for growth.If you’re looking at digital solutions for the chemical industry, schedule a free, no-obligation demo of Agilis HERE
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