While Sales Engagement vendors continue to expand their supported channels, email and phone remain the preferred B2B channels. Preliminary results from a VanillaSoft survey of 2,000 executives indicated that email is the preferred communication channel. SMS and Social Media were not listed as preferred channels with social media peaking at 24% during the need stage and falling to 15% during the evaluation stage
“We often read and hear about the rise and role of social selling at various points in the sales engagement process,” said VanillaSoft CEO David Hood, “However, as these initial findings show, more traditional channels – from email to phone to simple word-of-mouth – are actually preferred by B2B buyers.”
Phone contact grows in importance from 39% in the Need stage to 54% in the Evaluation phase.
Social Media remains low, but it is a broad category and likely perceived as more of a consumer channel. Even young professionals (25 to 34) had little interest in social as a sales contact channel with only 18% looking favorably upon social as a desirable sales communications channel. 41% of young professionals favored the telephone.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator has had significant success as a third channel with messaging, InMail, and PointDrive. Had LinkedIn been broken out as a distinct category, it likely would have scored higher. SNAP connectors are now available from Outreach, SalesLoft, InsideSales, and Yesware. VanillaSoft is in the middle of its certification process. SalesLoft has indicated that Sales Navigator is their top ecosystem partner.
Also omitted were video meetings (e.g. WebEx, JoinMe, BlueJeans, Zoom) which are commonly used within organizations and work quite well for establishing trust with prospects, demoing a product, and walking through documents.
“Understanding these types of reality-based findings will allow smart sales professionals to align their activities to their customers’ wants and desires,” said Hood.