For chemical companies, the B2B sales function has long taken a more or less unchanged approach to customers, with salespeople helping buyers through various transactions, making presentations, offering product samples, providing technical advice and, over time, building one-to-one relationships with each customer. But B2B sales is being disrupted by new channels, innovative and differentiating service models, and data and analytics. That means chemical companies need to reassess how their sales function operates so it remains valuable to customers.
Much of this change is due to the growing role of digital technology in B2B sales. The use of technology has certainly been accelerated by COVID-19, which essentially "shocked" the sales function into becoming more digital. In reality, however, this disruption has been underway for some time, as chemical companies and their customers see technology as a way to make sales more efficient.
The question is, how should chemical companies reshape their B2B sales to take advantage of digital technology? Or more to the point, what do their customers (converters and manufacturers) want out of a transformed, digitally enabled sales function? Our Global Buyer Values Study provides some answers to these questions and points to opportunities for improvement.