Cisco Canada Blog

Virtual Sales Vantage Point: Supporting sales and marketing meet the economic opportunity of a lifetime

June 1, 2021

Sales and marketing teams have shown incredible agility during these ambiguous times: carefully listening to customers in their time of uncertainty and acting with speed to support them. Customers — whether out of necessity or convenience — embraced a digital-first approach when making purchase decisions, and sales leaders and marketers have adapted to meet the expectations that come with it. Personalized journeys have created and tailored to a customer’s unique needs.

However, as vaccination rates continue to rise in Canada and the rest of the world, analysts are predicting that we are on the cusp of one the largest upturns in the last 100 years. For customers, this means continuing to invest in digitization, particularly as some employees return to a physical workplace and others continue working remotely. Partners, on the other hand, will need to make sure their teams – from sales, marketing, and enablement – are ready to support them.

As marketing and sales teams prepare, here’s what they need to keep in mind to remain relevant to customers.

New customer habits are here to stay

Pertaining to virtual selling, not much has been left unturned over this past year, instead of the traditional sales process, customers are now exposed to digital marketing early on in their customer journey.

The Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report predicts that by 2025, 80 per cent of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur through digital channels.

Not only that, but buyers typically only spend around 17 per cent of their purchase journey with a sales representative, meaning that more than ever, digital-first marketing is critical.

We’ve seen how customers’ buying habits have shifted dramatically over the course of the pandemic, and this is bound to continue well into the future. The challenge for sales organizations will be to prioritize this move to digital, or risk leaving behind the digital-first customers, which makes up so many buyers today.

Sales teams need to leverage their digital marketing know-how to drive customer engagement and offer a customer journey in line with the way customers are buying today.

Get sales and marketing teams future-ready — no crystal ball required

As the economic opportunity of a lifetime looms on the horizon, ensuring sales and marketing have the tools, processes, and skills in place to meet this pending opportunity will be crucial. Not just to remain relevant to customers, but also to ensure your organization’s long-term profitability.

Not only are digital customers here to stay, but we also now have more insights into their behaviours, their interests, and their careabouts than ever before. Teams need to be ready to leverage these insights and analytics to get a more nuanced understanding on where customers are in their journey, and once again, act with speed to support them.

But that won’t be enough to seize this opportunity. Differentiation will also be key to unlocking profitability. That means sales and marketing teams will need to increasingly focus on emphasizing the unique value their organizations offer across various product lifecycles — whether it’s the cloud, collaboration, or security – to ensure their profitability both today and in the future.

Rethinking the future of sales

Sales today isn’t quite what we thought it would be prior to the pandemic, accelerating the move to virtual for both customers and sellers alike. As we think about what the next five years have in store, we need to ensure virtual sales teams are equipped with the right resources and skills, so they can respond to changing customer needs with vigor and know-how.

We recently announced new additions and changes to Marketing Velocity that will help sellers differentiate themselves from competitors, reach more customers, create more value, and ultimately drive a better customer experience. From Marketing Velocity Voice, where partners can network and connect and elevate their marketing practices, to Marketing Velocity Central, where teams can gain access to Cisco-led and on-demand webinars that accelerate demand generation through invitations, webinar syndication and post-event follow up.

The customer journey is evolving, which means to stay relevant, agile, and profitable, sales teams need to follow suit. Read more about how to future-proof your virtual selling with Cisco at the Virtual Sales Vantage Point blog series.

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