Buyers willing to spend over $500k in a fully remote sales model © Getty Images
Buyers willing to spend over $500k in a fully remote sales model © Getty Images

Why are buyers spending $1m with no in-person contact?

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
23 March 2021

Omnichannel has become the predominant model for B2B purchasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to research.

In a report McKinsey said omnichannel – representing in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions – was “not simply a trend nor a pandemic workaround” but a “critically important fixture for B2B sales globally”.

The report said survey results showed 20% of buyers would be willing to spend more than $500,000 in a fully remote/digital sales model, “despite the conventional wisdom that big ticket sales require in-person contact”.

“And 11% of all B2B buyers would spend more than one million,” said McKinsey.

A survey of buyers conducted in February 2021 found a roughly even split between traditional interactions, remote human interactions and digital self-serve when identifying and researching new suppliers, evaluating new suppliers, ordering, and reordering.

A similar survey in August 2020 found remote human interactions accounted for roughly half of these tasks. The February 2021 data showed digital self-serve had cut into remote human interactions for identifying and evaluating new suppliers, while traditional interactions became more predominant in ordering and reordering.

“The pandemic has cemented omnichannel interactions as the predominant path for B2B sales,” said the report.

“Even as in-person engagement reemerged as an option, buyers made clear they prefer a cross-channel mix, choosing in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions in equal measure.”

Eight in 10 respondents said omnichannel was as or more effective than traditional methods for reaching and serving customers, and this held true across regions, with South Korea, China and Spain among the “most enthusiastic”.

The report said while nearly all companies would be able to connect with customers in physical locations “by the start of 2022”, only 15% expected in-person sales meetings to be the norm going forward while 47% predicted in-person meetings would take place less than half the time.

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