Gartner® Report: 2022 Strategic Roadmap for B2B Digital Selling

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The days of sellers driving the B2B purchasing flow are long gone. Today, B2B buyers lead the sales cycle and therefore, sellers need to adapt. Updating sales technology is a given in order to thrive. For sales leaders, an up-to-to date strategic roadmap needs to be followed to ensure that sales players are ahead of the game. 

This Gartner report offers a strategic roadmap for B2B digital selling, giving technologic strategic direction for the sales leaders of 2022. 

 

Gartner® reports the following key findings:

  • “An overall average of 43% of Baby Boomer, Gen X and Millennial customers prefer a rep-free experience.
  • By the end of 2021, the total number of business-to-business digital commerce transactions is expected to overtake the total number of B2B direct sales transactions.
  • B2B organizations will implement digital sales rooms that blend the physical and digital sales experiences.
  • B2B organizations’ digital sales rooms will enable salespersons to intelligently interact, collaborate and influence the buying process with a customer.”

What are some digital selling recommendations for sales leaders?

Gartner recommends that leaders responsible for CRM sales and digital commerce should:
“Move to a digital sales room by selecting, purchasing and integrating technologies that support a digital and physical sales customer journey.”

“Enable intelligent coordination, which integrates all customer points of interaction to provide a contextual customer experience at any time or customer point of interaction.”

 

Strategic planning assumptions

Gartner predicts that “by 2025, 50% of all enterprise B2B sales technology implementations will include digital sales rooms.” (Source: Predicts 2021: New Selling Imperatives Drive CRM Sales Technology Roadmaps.)

So, the days of the hybrid rep are clearly here, but sales organizations must make more space and allow set up for a fully digital selling space. 

What’s more:

“By 2024, 15% of B2B organizations will use digital commerce platforms to support customers and sales reps in all sales activities. (Source: Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.)

By 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. (Source: Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms.)

By 2025, 20% of B2B companies will see revenue growth from multiexperience sales due to a well-executed “everywhere customer” vision. (Source: Predicts 2021: New Selling Imperatives Drive CRM Sales Technology Roadmaps.)”

 

Three major trends influencing B2B digital selling

The current market is more challenging than ever before. Due to Covid-19 and generational sales preferences, organizations are challenged to advance their B2B digital selling capabilities. 

Gartner predicts that in the future, leaders responsible for sales technologies will see three major trends influence the future of B2B digital selling:

The location of people's work has changed, and based on Gartner’s predictions,  it will continue to change.

 

  1. Hybrid work models: “Gartner’s future- of-work research has shown that “45% of those surveyed agree there will be a rise in demand for hybrid work models".
  2.  

Figure1-2

How will digital continue to change B2B sales? 

The shift to digital channels. “The days of meeting the client or prospect in the office are fading away, and it is becoming difficult to even schedule face-to-face meetings with customers who are working from home.”

Gartner predicts that as many as “80% of B2B sales interactions will occur in digital channels by 2025.”

Also, “By the end of 2023, the total number of B2B digital commerce transactions is expected to overtake the total number of B2B direct sales transactions.” 

B2B sales being digital first is already here now. 

 

  • The rep-free experience: Customers prefer to be in charge of the sales experience themselves.”An average of 43% of baby boomers, Gen X and millennials customers prefer a rep-free experience. This is a generational change in preferences (see Figure 2).”

Figure2-2

B2B customers will no longer need, or want, a sales rep to help complete the sale, and as we see this will be a key hallmark of the B2B sales processes of the future. The customer can themself assess their needs and determine their requirements online. 

 

As Gartner says, digital commerce sites could “at a minimum, support a click-to- lead model by delivering a fully qualified lead directly to a salesperson to close the deal.”

 

However, discounting the sales rep completely would be a mistake. Reps do in fact have a lot of advantages, especially “during the needs and requirements stages, as well as during negotiations.”

As Gartner states: “A salesperson can help to lower buyer purchase regret, enable pricing negotiation and increase a customer’s confidence in their purchase decisions. Much of that key support is lost in a rep-free model, likely leading to fewer high-quality deals to close.” 

“Moreover, in the world of B2B buying, the differences between competing offerings can be subtle, yet important, and high levels of perceived supplier differentiation are associated with a 5.1% increase in customer confidence.”

 

Why is this research important?

As Gartner states, this research can be used by leaders to:

  • Understand the future state of B2B digital selling
  • Compare themselves to the current state of B2B digital selling
  • Determine the gaps in the B2B digital selling
  • Determine their migration plan steps

  Figure3-2

“The future of B2B digital selling will happen over a period of several years, and the timeline below shows the drivers of each year as we move to 2024 (see Figure 4).”

Figure4-2

The impact of the pandemic is not over yet, as we can still see it influencing the remote work model during 2022. “During that time, Gartner believes that visual configuration, virtual customer assistant and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) for digital commerce will be technologies that organizations will look to incorporate into their current B2B digital-selling portfolios.

 

“In 2023, the desire to create an improved digital sales environment will drive organizations to seek value from voice-driven sales apps, conversational engagement analytics for sales and digital adoption solutions.”

 

New methods and technologies will be adapted to advance the digital experience further. 

“By 2024, organizations will seek to create an immersive digital sales environment. This will include augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) for sales, and emotion AI, along with many existing sales and collaboration technologies to create the first generation of digital sales rooms (DSRs).”

Figure5-1

Gartner’s Integration Maturity Model research from 2020 shows that 64% of respondents have integrated at least one application, and 13% had plans to integrate CRM applications by YE20.” 

We're sorry, the access to this report has expired. Watch this space for more Gartner reports! 

 

FAQs

What are some digital selling recommendations for sales leaders?

Gartner recommends that leaders responsible for CRM sales and digital commerce should:
“Move to a digital sales room by selecting, purchasing and integrating technologies that support a digital and physical sales customer journey.”

“Enable intelligent coordination, which integrates all customer points of interaction to provide a contextual customer experience at any time or customer point of interaction.”

 

What are three major trends influencing B2B digital selling?

The current market is more challenging than ever before. Due to Covid-19 and generational sales preferences, organizations are challenged to advance their B2B digital selling capabilities. 

Gartner predicts that in the future, leaders responsible for sales technologies will see three major trends influence the future of B2B digital selling:

The location of people's work has changed, and based on Gartner’s predictions,  it will continue to change.

 Hybrid work models: “Gartner’s future- of-work research has shown that “45% of those surveyed agree there will be a rise in demand for hybrid work models".

 

How will digital continue to change B2B sales? 

The shift to digital channels. “The days of meeting the client or prospect in the office are fading away, and it is becoming difficult to even schedule face-to-face meetings with customers who are working from home.”

Gartner predicts that as many as “80% of B2B sales interactions will occur in digital channels by 2025.”

Also, “By the end of 2023, the total number of B2B digital commerce transactions is expected to overtake the total number of B2B direct sales transactions.” 

B2B sales being digital first is already here now.