5 observations on the influence of digital in B2B

Trends in the development of B2B marketing and social selling are on the menu of my article written for Digimind as part of their annual digital exercise. Attention ! I didn’t write revolution because the word is so overused, because it’s been used everywhere. I didn’t write “disrupted” either, not because it’s barbaric, but because this word is also hackneyed. And yet marketing (and sales, because both are closely linked) in B2B will not be spared changes in the coming years. But on the contrary. So here are mine

Trends in the development of B2B: 5 observations on the impact of digitization

Trends in the development of B2B: Here I draw 5 observations on the impact of digital on 1) mass selling in B2B 2) LinkedIn 3) true social selling 4) selling through intermediate screen 5) digital content and its importance

Last year I described a world ruled by uncertainty. At the momentWhere Iwrite these lines, the horizon is more than foggy. But the small digital world continues its unstoppable rise, boosted by this crisis.

For this 2022 prediction, while the B2C only has eyes for TikTok but still keeps one on the “metaverse” (you never know, let’s be careful in case this old concept finally gets recycled at the end of the thousandth try and even gets to it , to save Mr. Zuck from early retirement), I decided this year to take a step back and focus on my favorite topic B2B.

Far removed from media rumors and risky calculations, digital and social media in particular have gotten involved in an upheaval in sales and marketing from shop to shop. We’re just getting started and haven’t seen anything yet. The health crisis will ensure that this transition will be completed quickly.

This is not a digital revolution

The term revolution has been used so often in the tech world that its use ends up being suspect. However, a radical movement is definitely underway in B2B sales.

A sign does not deceive. In amazing repetition, over the past year or two I’ve seen a new population crowding into the digital courses I teach: business-to-business salespeople.

This is a phenomenon, although my statistical sample is a bit weak, I agree that I would place it in the category of those weak signals that tell a profound change is occurring.

5 trends in the development of marketing and sales in B2B due to the impact of digital and social media

Observation #1: Bulk selling in B2B will be digital or not

Sure, Forrester warned us back in 2017[1], business-to-business bulk selling is on the digital journey. The Covid will end up driving a nail into that coffin. In France, we were given a five-year reprieve, but in the United States, the purge started long ago, and Forrester is now planning a million more departures[2]. Get ready to see B2B e-commerce gain momentum. Because as Gitomer says, customers love to buy but hate sellers. Concluding on this first observation, social media will also explode for these types of standardized products and services.[3].

Observation #2: LinkedIn essential and hegemonic, although there are other solutions

When it comes to social media in B2B, choices are starting to narrow. Xing stagnates at 16 million active accounts and only in the DACH region, Viadeo is some kind of digital zombie and LinkedIn reigns supreme on the B2B planet until it becomes hegemonic and dictates the rules: mandatory surveys in 2021 and (probably) live streaming and the profiles of content creators in 2022 (just to discourage the most indecisive bloggers). But on the other hand, the survivors of blogs who built their community have even become media[4], rubbing hands. The clever B2B companies, on the other hand, create forums and federate groups of enthusiasts via exchange platforms[5].

Observation #3: Sellers and marketers who aren’t true social sellers go fishing

As a result of the purge of the B2B commercial sector, needy sellers on the LinkedIn network are trying to survive by “stuffing[6] unsuccessfully with robots powered by artificial stupidity. Those who once get tired of taking rakes will throw in the towel[7]. The others, especially in complex sales, will be the survivors. Even better, this form of selling will grow. Especially with start-ups. For them, it’s a real step up that needs to be taken. Social selling will be one of the ingredients of this boom in high-level B2B commerce. But only those who know how to combine it with intelligent hunting, networking and digital content with high added value will be able to use the advantages of social selling. We have prepared a course on this topic with Yves Blandiaux[8]“Reversing the Logic of B2B Sales” coming soon online at Cloud Business School[9]by Jean Francois Messier.

Observation #4: Selling via an intermediary screen is becoming the norm

Previously selling “through a screen[10] », to use my friend Jean Philippe Cunniet’s concept, was a highly commendable passage. In the past two years, this form of trading has spread beyond the realm of geeks and digital professionals. The whole world is now selling digitally through one screen. So much so that I think it will become the norm and that post-crisis face-to-face sales will remain the exception.

Observation #5: Digital content is becoming even more important

Consequence of the above: isolation + distance selling + social selling + reversal of the sales logic = more digital content. The B2B sector is very mature for content production compared to the general public[11]. But it will enter a new phase: one where producing content is no longer enough and designing “differentiating” content strategies is imperative. All this is not new, I have been doing this job for 27 years! But the generalization of this approach is on track, particularly through the creation of “content factories” that are already commonplace across the Atlantic.

Here are my five trends for 2022 for the development of marketing and sales in B2B. At the end you will tell me why bother us with B2B? It’s true that the area of ​​intermediate goods and services doesn’t carry much weight in the eyes of the general public and even business schools. And for good reason, these exchanges are not included in the calculation of GDP. However, it is estimated, without being able to formally substantiate this, that B2B would make up around two-thirds of the economy. I have already written to you, this is not a revolution, but it looks like it anyway.

I invite you to download the Digimind 2022 trend report to find the contributions of my colleagues, coordinated by Christophe Asselin.
B2B Evolution Trends

You’ll find articles from 30 specialists: marketers, watchdogs, communicators, teacher researchers, consultants, analysts, agency heads, influencers and speakers. Among them Fabrice Frossard, Céline Beckrich, Nicolas Celic, Mathieu Flaig, Quentin Liot, Maria Mercanti-Guérin, Patrice Laubignat, Jérôme Bondu, Jean-Marc Dupouy, Maud Rochand, Guillaume Terrien, David Fayon, Martine Le Jossec, Camille Jourdain, Alina Taher , Jean-Denis Garo, Claire Renault, Anthony Rochand, Damien Douani, Edouard Fillias, Christophe Bisson, Romane de Certaines, Christophe Thil, Arnault Chatel, Emilie Marquois, Jérôme Monange, David Dubois and Christophe Asselin himself.

Yann Gourvennec
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