The ashes are not yet lukewarm as the oracles of our modern world, the patented scouts of our society, the advanced lookouts of our economy are already strongly asserting the ultimate consequences of the still painful cataclysm.
Shift to omnichannel has now become the predominant path for B2B sales
With a survey supporting it, the reliable firm McKinsey has announced sweeping changes in the way B2B goods and services are now sold and bought. Far from going against these conclusions, we will limit ourselves to saying that the premises of these changes already existed before Covid. However, the health crisis, as we have already indicated, has acted as a catalyst and an accelerator of a trend that was already emerging and that some of us, like at WholeSoft Market, had anticipated.
The B2B world is however very diverse and deserves a detailed analysis to be properly appreciated. When it comes to the B2B software world, which I know best, the consequences are happening every day. Buyers are less and less shy in the face of primarily digital sale cycles.
State of play by geography
McKinsey points out geographic disparities in this new appetite. Digital nations like China and India unsurprisingly finding themselves among the least reluctant to remote selling. For India, which has gone, so to speak, from an agrarian economy to a digital economy without going through the industrial age, in the words of Hubert Védrine, this acceleration of the digitization of society can only be a good thing. As for China, which has admittedly been the factory of the world for decades, it made its digital turn about 15 years ago, and is now also rewarded. So, no real surprises that the countries of our old Europe, which are unfortunately still too conservative in digital matters, are slightly behind in the study. That said, the wind has also blown in Europe, and behavior is already changing. Oddly enough, one major country is missing from the McKinsey study: the United States.
Who could think however, that the global trend affecting B2B sales wouldn’t affect a nation that has practiced videoconferencing for years, to avoid taking planes every day to look for customers over one, two or three time zones? No one will deny that the acceleration of the omnichannel approach in B2B sales is also strong in the USA.
New opportunities for small & mid-sized European B2B Software vendors to expand overseas
Which brings me to a conclusion / question - already brought up in previous articles -: in view of the evolution of purchasing practices, what are innovative small and medium-sized European software publishers waiting to start remotely closing first references in lucrative foreign markets, such as the United States?
After all, aren’t software publishers in the best position, from a technology viewpoint, to take advantage of the current trend? SaaS models, the growing acceptance of the Cloud, the mainstream use of remote communication systems, are creating opportunities for many companies in the sector, who used to refuse to internationally expand because of the significant required investments and risks related to setting up physical operations in a foreign country.
Of course, it remains that being successful in selling B2B software is not just about the high-level characteristics of the seller, nor about the theoretical behavior of buyers. Selling B2B software remains a complex exercise, requiring particularly in-depth knowledge of target accounts and target persona in order to best penetrate the accounts … Which seems to radically contradict the absence of presence in the country… This is obviously where the main problem lies when it comes to a remote cross-border approach. This is also where companies like WholeSoft Market can help: through their local network.
Through technology and a strong network of local software experts, WholeSoft Market accelerates overseas market penetration.
Technologies now theoretically allow access to anyone in foreign markets, and technically to sell SaaS solutions to foreign customers. B2B buyers had already changed their perception before Covid by starting to respond more positively to digital approaches from vendors; the health crisis has only accelerated this trend.
A few significant frictions in remote B2B software sales are therefore in the process of disappearing. Other major obstacles remain however but can be overcome by relying on efficient local allies for prospecting and implementing in the countries.
But let's face it! The actual pure sales exercise would stay with you. No need to start a super costly, painful and treacherous hiring process for getting local sales guys in order to close your first references in a foreign territory. And, that is still very good news, because, who better than yourself can sell your software!
So, if you had any plans to expand internationally in the coming 3 years, why don’t you try and close your first references remotely first. Once you actually decide to go abroad, those first deals will be a great development accelerator.