How to take advantage of the post Covid shift to digital JANUARY 12, 20226 MIN READ
How to take advantage of the post Covid shift to digital

For decades, B2B export sales involved meeting a lot of people, for a lot of the time. Most sales were made through things like conferences, trade shows, and one on one interactions. This method was stressful for a lot of sales reps.

Sales reps could spend most part of the day traveling to meet potential customers. And this also doesn’t even take into consideration the other expenses associated with this.

Regardless of these difficulties, sales continued like this for decades, most people thought there was no better way to do things.

Well, until the COVID19 pandemic struck, and upended the whole B2B export sales process.

How the Pandemic Changed Foreign B2B Sales

B2B ecommerce

With the COVID19 pandemic, sales reps could no longer meet potential customers face to face. Lockdowns made exhibitions and trade shows redundant. International and interstate travel took a hit, meaning that you couldn’t even go to see clients just across the country.

In the throes of the pandemic, companies turned to the internet to keep the wheels of international trade turning. And the internet delivered on this, spectacularly.

In just three months, ecommerce penetration in the US market grew more than it did in the last ten years combined.[1] People no longer had to pick up their bags and travel halfway across the world to make sales.

They found themselves doing it from the comfort of their bedrooms.

And they loved it. This is why even with the easing of lockdown restrictions businesses haven’t gone back to the old ways of making sales. 70% of B2B decision makers say they prefer making sales online to making sales physically.[2]

Benefits of Digital Sales

benefits of digital

It’s not far-fetched to see why B2B sales people are now taken in with digital sales. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to take advantage of this shift to digital sales.

You can easily sell online with Alibaba.

Doing so gives you access to the advantages of digital sales such as:

  • Low Customer Acquisition Costs: Meeting physically with potential customers halfway across the world is very expensive in monetary and human resources. You can sidestep this by making use of Alibaba.

    If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating your own ecommerce website, you can just create a storefront on Alibaba.

    This is like your ecommerce website, but with access to millions of potential customers from multiple countries.

    Alibaba also has active and passive customer acquisition channels. With active customer acquisition, you can refer your existing customers to your Alibaba storefront. You can also make your storefront the final point in your own sales funnel.

    The passive customer acquisition is where you sit back and let the Alibaba algorithm bring the customers to you.

    By combining these two channels you can increase your ROI.

  • Scalability: With digital sales, you only need to set up your digital footprint once. If you do this right, you can use it to service millions of customers over the course of your business cycle.

    This is better than the conventional method where you have to make traveling arrangements for each customer outreach you want to undertake.

  • No Time and Space Constraints: In the days before COVID, most businesses had peaks and troughs in their business cycles. The peak periods are usually one or two months when you’re at a trade show or exhibition.

    With digital sales, you don’t have to limit your sales to specific periods of the year. You can make sales in January, March, or December. If there’s the need for a meeting to demonstrate your product, you can do that through the use of video calls, which is also available on Alibaba.

    You also don’t have to worry about renting space for your exhibitions. All the space you need is within the microchip of your computer and

What Made In-Person Sales Attractive?

To be fair, there were a lot of advantages to in-person sales. If there weren’t it wouldn't have remained the dominant method for decades.

Fortunately, you can still get these benefits when you go digital, without the costs associated with in-person sales.

One advantage of in-person sales was that it gave you the avenue to make connections with your customers. With Alibaba, you can do this without having to leave the comfort of your home (or office).

Alibaba offers live chat features that make communication easy. A lot of communication and relationships today are built online, you can also apply that to your B2B sales.

Alibaba also has a translation tool that works for 18 languages, making it easy for you to build relationships and sell to a global customer-base.

In-person sales gave you the opportunity to educate your customers as you were making the sales. You had the opportunity to take questions from them regarding the use of the product. You could also on-board them with instruction manuals.

You can do this, and more, with digital sales through the Alibaba platform. Live broadcasts and video chats give you the opportunity to communicate directly with your customers. You can field questions in real time and provide access to your knowledge base, all at the click of a button.

Alibaba also offers other features. For instance, you can use the Request For Quotation tool to advertise your products to prospects who are requesting goods similar to yours. This gives you access to warm leads who are already interested in your product or a close substitute.

The Next Step

The effects of the COVID19 pandemic would be felt for years to come. Two years ago, no one thought it was possible for in-person sales to lose its position as the prime sales method for B2B export businesses.

Today, it is the norm.

The changes brought about by the pandemic would create winners and losers. Businesses that can adapt quickly and effectively to the changing environment would be on the winning side.

The winds are shifting, and they point to digital sales.

You can place your business in a prime position to benefit from this by selling on Alibaba today.