A man wearing a button-up shirt, glasses and a headset sits at a desk in front of a computer monitor and keyboard. He uses one hand to hold the mouthpiece of the headset and is laughing.
Omnichannel outreach involves engaging, selling to and following up with customers in person, over the phone and online. — Getty Images/Bojan89

According to research by Gartner, 80% of business-to-business (B2B) sales interactions between customers and suppliers will occur over digital channels by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend that has long since taken root in business-to-customer (B2C) sales and marketing. More and more customers and suppliers are utilizing digital channels, such as email, LinkedIn and chat messaging, to connect over sales.

Hybrid sales models capture this trend and help companies find the perfect blend of digital and in-person sales. Here’s how hybrid sales work and how to create this model for your business.

What is a hybrid sales model?

A hybrid sales model essentially marries digital and in-person outreach for B2B sales. Hybrid sales models cater to a customer’s preference for digital interaction, using omnichannel outreach to engage with sales leads and provide information about a product or service. A sales team follows up with the potential customer in person, through digital channels (like email) or over the phone, or using a combination of all three.

[Read more: B2B Sales Tools for Your Remote Team]

“Quite simply, digital needs to be at the forefront of every customer interaction. Sellers must offer engaging and intuitive e-commerce solutions to buyers across the entire customer experience, from initial research to the transaction to postsale service,” wrote Boston Consulting Group. “Throughout, sales and marketing leaders should use digital to better understand the performance of their teams and make smarter, data-driven decisions with respect to both improving execution and managing people.”

Ultimately, the goal of a hybrid sales model is to create an approach to lead outreach that seamlessly combines digital forms of communication with the personal touch of an in-person sales team.

[Read more: How Handmade Businesses Are Adapting to Selling in a Hybrid World]

Quite simply, digital needs to be at the forefront of every customer interaction.

Boston Consulting Group

How to create a hybrid sales model

Hybrid sales models lead with digital outreach and channels first. A good first step toward evolving your sales model is to encourage your sales team to be more active on social media channels like LinkedIn. Make sure your company page is high-quality, shares relevant content and links back to your website. Ask your sales team to engage in different industry groups and work toward becoming thought leaders on social media to support customers.

Next, train your sales team to use information from prospective customers’ social media profiles and online presence to understand the customer, identify their pain points and craft a sales pitch accordingly. Using a customer relationship management tool can help your team capture and share prospective buyer’s information, as well as log interactions across social media, email and other sales channels.

Data collection is another important part of the hybrid sales model. “Investing in intent data collection and AI will help your sales team adapt to the increased touchpoints and information needed to provide an effective pitch on digital channels,” wrote Gartner. Use tools like Google Analytics and Salesforce to help your team understand where a customer may be in the sales funnel and how to close the deal.

Finally, create a process where the initial sale is just that: initial. The closing of the deal should be the first part of building a long-term customer relationship. While digital tools provide the means and the data to connect with customers, it’s incumbent on the sales team to continue the relationship. A phone call or personal outreach every once in a while can keep the customer engaged — and increase their lifetime value.

Close the deal

One of the great skills that can make a salesperson successful is intuitively knowing when to close the deal. When many interactions shift to digital, however, it can be hard to anticipate when someone might be ready for the final pitch. There are some digital KPIs that can signal buyer intent, such as:

  • Recent website visits.
  • Frequency of website visits.
  • Types of content consumed.
  • Event or webinar attendance (virtual or in-person).
  • Engagement with sales representatives (virtual or in-person).

Tracking these metrics and sharing them across the entire sales team is important to provide a consistent, personalized experience to any prospective buyer.

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