Does B2B sales have anything to do with the Metaverse?

The constant change in business processes and the introduction of new buzzwords seem to be faster than most companies can drive their change. Leading companies that proactively shape and implement these changes are also those that take a leadership position in their industry often because of their lasting competitive advantages that they create with these changes. Not every company can be a leader in its industry. This article deals precisely with this group of companies and answers the following questions:

  • Is this relevant for B2B companies and SMEs?

  • How should companies plan their journey there?

  • Where to start?

A contribution by Prof. Dr. Markus Hesse and Suchi Shinde, September 2022

Figure 1 Industrial Metaverse Sales from Rightsourcing

One of the most popular definitions of Metaverse is that it is the next iteration of the Internet. /1/ Metaverse seamlessly connects our digital and physical lives.

There are 3 basic characteristics of the Metaverse:

  •  A sense of immersion in the world of interest (often using Augmented or Virtual Reality)
  • Real-time interactivity, ‘Always on’
  • User autonomy.

The full vision of the Metaverse will include interoperability across platforms and devices, simultaneous interaction of thousands of people, and use cases well beyond games. User autonomy means that users in this world organize themselves within the framework of given guidelines.

The Metaverse relevant to the B2B and industrial segments is the industrial Metaverse. Rightsourcing refers to the Metaverse used for Sales and Marketing Automation in the industrial world as Industrial Metaverse Sales .

How customer needs are changing?

Today’s B2B customers are becoming increasingly demanding. They want more channels, more convenience, and a personalized shopping experience – always-on, personalized, and omnichannel. According to a representative study by McKinsey in February this year, all B2B customers prefer omnichannel, regardless of their industry, country, size, or stage of their customer relationship. Recent research shows that B2B customers (buyers) prefer to use a balanced mix of traditional (e.g. in-person), remote (e.g. video conference or phone), and self-service interactions (e.g. e-commerce). /2/

BCG research on changing consumer (B2B and B2C) expectations shows that 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences, and 64% of consumers expect companies to respond and interact with them in real time. These changing behaviors of consumers necessitate shifts in sales and marketing. /3/

This new dynamic requires that B2B organizations move from traditional and internal sales to hybrid sales in order to move with the desires of their customers. This offers high value to buyers and sellers. Moving to a hybrid selling model is expected to increase field rep productivity by about 60%. /3/

Hybrid selling—initially an adaptation to the pandemic—is expected to be the most dominant sales strategy by 2024 due to shifts in customer preferences and remote-first engagement. /2/

At its core, Industrial Metaverse Sales uses concepts and technologies from Metaverse to bring about the transformation of a B2B company to digital hybrid sales. The technologies used include web, augmented and virtual reality, and X technologies.

Figure 2 Rise in Digital and Hybrid Sales /2/

Analysis have shown that successful B2B organizations have already implemented hybrid sales (Figure 2). In doing so, they have implemented four measures that enable success and those companies that can be classified as discoverers of the Metaverse should also use:

  • Use remote sales wherever possible and where customers prefer – but never give up face-to-face sales altogether. In the Industrial Metaverse, too, people buy from people.
  • Technology: Optimize your sales and marketing organization for a “digital remote first get in touch environment”
  • Use the insights of customers and salespeople from the beginning to the end of the customer decision journey (Virtual Sales Machine)
  • Incrementally build a next-generation sales and marketing organization to attract the best talent on the market.

Sales organizations must become learning organizations. Develop the next generation of sales and marketing skills, thereby attracting more and diverse talent. /4/ Companies in traditional industries with a traditional sales approach will find it increasingly difficult to attract talent in the market. (and manage the challenges of ‘Great resignation’ and ‘Quite quitting’)

How can leaders assess the potential and what should you do today?

By 2030, more than 50 percent of customer interactions could happen in the Metaverse, and more than 80 percent of B2B supplier and buyer transactions could be impacted by something the actors do there. Leaders need to define the role they want to play in the Metaverse. Companies already using the Metaverse can gain lasting competitive advantages. These companies are already using Metaverse in 5 areas:

  • Marketing campaigns or sales initiatives
  • Learning and development for employees
  • Meetings in the Metaverse
  • Events or conferences
  • Product design or digital partnerships

As part of Industrial Metaverse Solutions, Rightsourcing offers expertise in the development of concepts & implementation of Metaverse for marketing & sales and the learning & development of employees and sales organizations. Figure 3 shows technological concepts for implementing Industrial Metaverse Sales. These are shown depending on the degree of differentiation possibility (points of differentiation, points of parity) for gaining competitive advantages.

Figure 3 Technological concepts for implementing Industrial Metaverse Sales

The entry points for larger companies and SMEs in the Industrial Metaverse Sales are as different as the companies themselves. Nevertheless, a certain clustering can be carried out.

You can solve two important current challenges that affect a large number of manufacturing companies:

1.How best to grow your business and address the changing needs of the B2B customer?

2.How to become an attractive employer for new candidates and talents?

Start your journey into the Industrial Metaverse now.

Contact Rightsourcing to discuss how and where to get started. We are not theorists. We have already implemented parts of Industrial Metaverse Sales and thus contributed to the success of our customers.

Sources:

/1/ Hazan, E., Kelly, G., Khan, H., Spillecke, D., Yee, L., Marketing in the Metaverse: An opportunity for innovation and experimentation, McKinsey Quarterly, May 2022
/2/ Donchak, L., McClatchy, J., Stanley,J., The future of B2B sales is hybrid, McKinsey & Co, April 27, 2022
/3/ N.N., The Future of Sales and Marketing Is Here, BCG Executive Perspectives, February 2022
/4/ Harney, M., Ketola, L., Naik, K., Probst, N., Reis, S., Building next-generation B2B sales capabilities, McKinsey & Company, March 15, 2022

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