Like fad diets, trendy strategies for B2B sales run rampant: value-based selling. Hybrid framework. Personalization.
And like a fad diet, it’s a bit of an eye roll, isn’t it? Are carbs really the enemy?
But once in a while, something sticks. I’m looking at you, Paleo. And now in the B2B sales arena, frictionless selling.
What is frictionless selling?
It’s a catchy way to describe a sales process that is free from interruptions to your customer. There are two ways to think about common interruptions:
- Roadblocks in the way of your customer achieving their goal. Ex: clunky or daunting lead forms, poor or incomplete information, broken tools, lack of response.
- Pushy sales tactics. Ex: too many branded emails, insincere interactions with salespeople, the feeling of being sold something they don’t need.
“Think of it as a highly strategic and indirect approach where you meet the needs of your target audience without disrupting their normal routines,” says Ken Franzen at Neon Fish.
Frictionless selling doesn’t rock the boat; it does the opposite. It glides the boat effortlessly into the marina. No one on board even knows it’s docking.
And sure, it all sounds smoother than Carlos Santana, but can it provide a foundation for your company to reap higher sales? Or is it all just marketing jargon?
To investigate, we approached the frictionless sales framework from the perspective of an MSP owner. We considered:
- Internal and external factors in achieving frictionless sales
- Who benefits: customers, team, both?
- Ability to track whether it’s working
Our findings show that frictionless selling is not a passing fad. It’s a powerful framework that with the right tools can be adopted with minimal disruption to current workflows.
💡 B2C example of reducing friction: Shopify’s Accelerated Checkout enables Apple Pay, Google Pay and others, to automatically add a customer credit card and shipping information.
Why frictionless selling is the future of B2B sales
If MSP owners chased every flash-in-the-pan trend for improving sales, there would be no time left for actual selling, am I right?
Adopting frictionless as your sales framework requires an assessment of where there are inefficiencies internally and externally. It looks at improving the sales experience for your customers as well as your salespeople. In these ways, it sets you up for long game wins, including:
- Less time fussing with administrative tasks, more time selling
- Improved customer trust
- Measurable successes
Below are our strongest arguments for why this hot new concept in the industry isn’t one to be ignored.
Digital commerce is here to stay
The past few years have forced a sea change of adaptation to hybrid and fully online models of doing business. And while naysayers may argue it’s only a matter of time before a return to traditional sales tactics, your customers might not agree.
Researchers at McKinsey & Company have noted that “only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated…”
And before you think this only applies to small-scale businesses, consider this: most B2B decision makers (70 percent), are comfortable with making new or fully self-serve purchases over $50,000.
McKinsey & Company believes these habits are going to stick. It’s time to go all-in on digital.
It benefits customers and salespeople alike
Traditional sales tactics are customer-centric almost to a fault. As Ken Franzen notes:
“A common cause of friction is when sellers think of the purchasing process in rigid terms. More specifically, they approach transactions as exchanging goods and services for money. This outdated ideology turns away customers and limits future business.”
These days, approaching customers only to sell is a turn-off. They don’t like it, and salespeople don’t like doing it.
Frictionless selling is supportive and transparent. Customers can access information to make a purchasing decision easily on their own, such as modifying a quote or learning more about your business practices.
On the company side, this means there is work done to provide resources, tools, and additional materials to the customer, without the sales hat on.
“Buyers want experience, referrals, demos, and reviews to see both a product’s promise and limitations,” says TrustRadius, a leading research and review platform. “Without these resources, users feel they aren’t being given the full picture.”
Salespeople benefit, too. When customers are better resourced by tools like Quoter, and a website chock-full of supporting materials, it leaves more time for actual selling. Frictionless selling demands airtight processes; a weeding-out of blockages. When salespeople get to experience more success, the company culture is energized and positive.
You won’t need to overhaul current processes
Introducing a new sales pipeline sounds like a ton of work. Fortunately, frictionless selling wedges itself quite nicely into most MSP internal and sales processes. To us, that’s a win.
To integrate frictionless selling, first assess your business based on three types of friction, as outlined by Hubspot (pg. 2):
- Internal (process, strategy, skill gaps)
- External (product limitations, third-party redundancies)
- Personal (staff culture and morale)
Frictionless selling can be achieved through a patchwork of updates to current internal, external, and personal factors.
The most control you will have as an MSP owner is within your internal environment. Start your focus there. Test your sales pipeline to identify where your prospect might get hung up. Make easy fixes: add e-signature for faster contract acceptance, or automate quote reminders so no customer gets left behind.
Successes in frictionless sales are trackable
Two things are extremely satisfying to a business owner: making more money, and knowing that you’re doing something right.
Committing to frictionless selling is easier when you know you can see improvements to your sales process.
Here are a few ways to assess if you’re removing friction from your sales process:
- Track repeat rate
How often do customers buy from you? This number should go up.
- Track win rate
How many more quotes are closing? This number should go up, too. When you’re ready, read our blog post about improving win rates in B2B sales.
- Track buying cycle
How many days does it take for a quote to close? This number should decrease.
Tracking doesn’t have to be a pain point. Quoter’s reporting features make it easy to quickly summarize quote trends including closing ratios, wins, and performance by salespeople. It’s empowering to see improvements to your sales process in real-time and make decisions for your team based on facts.