Insights / Sales / Article

Why Multichannel Buying Experiences Aren’t Delivering Results

April 28, 2023

Contributor: Jordan Turner 

Despite optimizations, multichannel strategies still struggle to drive high-margin purchasing. Purchasers tend to spend more, though, when given a chance to really reflect on what they want and need.

The Big Picture: Multichannel Buying

Commercial teams continue to make multichannel experience more simple and seamless in hopes of more quality deals. But our research shows it’s more important to help buyers better understand what they need and how a purchase will drive value. Sales and marketing must align to choreograph opportunities for buyers to learn more about themselves during the purchase process.

Key Takeaways: Today's Buying Process

The current multichannel approach to selling isn’t working.

Today’s buyers often rely on multiple channels to complete a purchase. But despite sales and marketing efforts to offer a seamless multichannel buying experience, this inadvertently stifles customer learning. Buyers are unfulfilled by both digital and human-led channels — and companies are failing to secure high-margin deals.

  • Seventy-five percent of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free experience, but 22% are more likely to regret self-service digital commerce purchases.

  • Buyers whose purchase decisions were primarily led by sales reps were 63% less likely to complete a high-quality deal, than those who purchased by self-navigating or through a hybrid approach.

Create learning paths for customers to think critically about their purchases.

What prompts buyers to spend more? Self-reflective learning. 

When purchasers get the opportunity during the buying process to pause, think and evolve their understanding of what they need to accomplish their goals, they are 147% more likely to spend more than originally planned.

  • When buyers experience a self-reflective learning path, they understand their own needs better, recognize potential mistakes, identify alternative approaches and evaluate progress toward their goal. This process builds decision confidence.

  • Customers who report high decision confidence are over 10 times more likely to complete a high-quality deal than those reporting average decision confidence.

Sales and marketing must align to implement learning paths.

Creating customer learning paths requires a unified approach across sales and marketing to orchestrate customer learning across channels.

  • Commercial organizations must remove silos between sales and marketing, and integrate around core activities and goals.

  • Organizations that have coalesced around core areas/goals have shown notable commercial outcomes and results, such as increased lead volume, close rates and revenue.

From the Desk of Billy Luckey, Director of Advisory for Gartner for Sales Leaders

“Both sales and marketing must work together to choreograph course-smoothing and course-changing interventions across the purchase journey. This choreography ensures that customers progress smoothly through the three stages of learning (foundational, application and evaluation), ultimately culminating in a high-quality deal.” 

3 Things to Tell Your Peers

  1. Evaluate your current commercial maturity, in collaboration with marketing partners, across seven dimensions: audience understanding, messaging, measurement, revenue enablement, process design, customer data and systems.

  2. Develop a roadmap that outlines prioritized focus areas for tighter sales and marketing integration.

  3. Launch a targeted strategy to address at least one gap in maturity through a process, motion or tool.

Billy Luckey is a Director of Advisory for Gartner for Sales Leaders, which provides best practice research, benchmarking, and advisory support for leading organizations. Mr. Luckey partners with Chief Sales/Commercial Officers and their teams to identify, understand, and advise on their priorities related to the Sales function, focusing on talent development and buyer and seller enablement.

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