What is the Next Normal and what is the future like for B2B SaaS?

What an experience the pandemic has been for all of us, hasn’t it?

I believe you also have a lot to share about your personal and business experiences of this challenging period. 

You can guess that the next normal will bring some solid changes for B2B SaaS.

But you should not only focus on what will change, you should also focus on what will not change!

There are many different opinions on this topic, but there’s certainly one thing that most experts agree on: There will be drastic changes in the future of businesses. 

This blog post will explore some of these predictions so that you can start thinking about how your company should position itself for the next few years.

Welcome to the next normal

The assumption that our era will be defined by the period before COVID-19 and the “new normal” that will develop in the post-viral era, coined by McKinsey, is referred to as “The Next Normal.

Organizations must rethink their digital strategies and accelerate the transformation to thrive in the Next Normal by:

Enabling an Agile Workforce

Before the pandemic, only a few amount of companies had been prepared for a massive increase in remote jobs. 

Organizations are now obliged to manage remote and in-office workforce due to necessity. 

In order to be able to do it effectively, they must equip their employees with all the tools they need to be productive, as well as executives with the visibility they need to understand the needs of their company.

Redefining Customer Journeys

Many businesses used a combination of digital and conventional customer service operations prior to Covid-19.

Companies must now transition to a “contactless economy” in order to be successful. This entails using all the digital tools at their disposal to enhance both self-service and customer service.

Accelerating Tech Modernization

Only 30% of companies aligned their analytics strategy with their overall corporate strategy before the Next Normal (McKinsey). 

As the world’s workforce shifts to remote work, it’s more important than ever for businesses to connect their technology and business strategies. This process can be streamlined and enhanced by using data and analytics.

Digital Transformation in The Next Normal

The digital transformation promised a new way of doing business, which, however, never seemed to be forced by an urgent need…

Until now.

Industry leaders recognize that their businesses are at risk without reinventing and accelerating the process of becoming more digitally driven. 

The pandemic condensed an entire decade’s worth of change into months. The vast majority of B2B companies quickly shifted the majority of their business to more digital self-serve and remote sales, and along with the vast majority of their customers, preferred the new model over the traditional one.

With that being said, companies that want to succeed in 2022 and beyond should embrace the omnichannel model.

The B2B omnichannel model has arrived

Two major findings emerged from a McKinsey survey of 3,600 B2B decision-makers.

First and foremost, the online transition was instantaneous, overwhelming, and successful.

Just a month after the pandemic began, more than 90% of B2B companies switched to a virtual sales model.

More than 70% of customers prefer doing business online, and a stunning 97% of them said they’d be willing to make digital, self-serve purchases worth more than $50,000.

Second, 90% of leaders believe that the digital model is here to stay, and 70% believe it is at least as effective as the pre-Covid business models.

Only about 25% of B2B customers want to continue face-to-face interactions with salespeople. And sellers who provide exceptional digital experiences have a significant competitive advantage, with more than twice the chance of being picked as primary suppliers.

The three keys to omnichannel success: speed, transparency, and expertise

Omnichannel success depends on 3 crucial things: speed, transparency, and expertise. 

Speed is all about giving customers instant access to information when, how, and where they want it. This includes always available video and lives chat as well as convenience features like one-click purchases or shortcuts for repeat orders.

Transparency ensures that buyers are fully aware of other options so there can be a clear understanding of total value before making a final decision. This can be as simple as offering an online product comparison tool or extra information on parts, supplies, solutions, etc. 

Expertise means going beyond online resources to answer technical questions that customers might have at any time of day or night. During the research stage of their journey, 33% of buyers rank 24/7 live chat as a top-three requirement for best-in-class suppliers.

Know your customers inside out

Customers are now thinking, feeling, and making decisions very differently than they did a few years ago. Moreover, during the pandemic, their decision-making processes have changed dramatically.

Providing a world-class omnichannel experience requires a deep understanding of customers based on analytics and granular data.

It entails asking yourself the following questions: 

  • How does their decision-making process look like?
  • What is the most important thing to them?
  • What inspires them?
  • Where can you make an impression on them?
  • What are some ways that a strong omnichannel experience can help you stand out?

But, don’t try to be the jack-of-all-trades for every customer by attempting to meet their omnichannel needs at all touchpoints.

Instead, focus on ways of strengthening your own omnichannel capabilities and optimizing meaningful interactions across the right touchpoints. Also, don’t put too much emphasis on digital channels and tools at the expense of your organization’s omnichannel capabilities.

Don’t neglect the human connection

Omnichannel entails more than just experimenting with new digital tools and fine-tuning online touchpoints.

It’s about maintaining the human connection in an increasingly digitized world, merging the human and the technology to provide customers with a smooth, personalized experience both online and offline.

Companies must figure out how to best integrate sales reps and digital technologies across channels in order to help customers—those that add the human touch to digital sales consistently outperform their competition. Additionally, companies that invest more in digital technology are twice as likely to report large revenue growth.

The trick is to figure out which areas of human interaction are the most important and invest in them, whether it’s live web chats, quick responses to customer queries, or making sure someone answers the phone when a potential customer calls.

Now is the time to fast-track your B2B selling model

Last year, the pandemic prompted businesses to step up their digital game, and 2022 offers a fantastic opportunity to seize the omnichannel potential.

Because of outstanding omnichannel experiences, even B2B buyers in stable markets are now more willing to switch suppliers.

Companies that invest in customer support and new client acquisition will gain market share. 

However, how fast and fully they embrace omnichannel to improve the total customer experience, expand reach, and improve sales effectiveness will determine how successful they will be.

Throughout every major touchpoint, the goal is to delight customers in new and meaningful ways.

And achieving that goal rests on four priorities: strengthening e-commerce capabilities, harmonizing physical and digital capabilities, retraining your salesforce so they can offer a seamless customer experience no matter the channel, and putting the customer at the heart of your omnichannel strategy.

While the current crisis will pass, the events have permanently changed the way customers behave. It’s unclear how these changes will play out in the long run, but for the time being, all businesses must evolve alongside their customers in order to stay competitive.

What should you do to position yourself for success in the future?

The pace of technological change is accelerating, and businesses need to be prepared for what’s next. 

There are many ways that this will impact your business, but the most important thing to realize is that you can’t just keep doing things the way they’ve always been done before.

You need to start thinking about how these changes might affect your company in the future so that you can prepare yourself for them now.

Here are 5 effective ways to meet your customer needs and position yourself for success in the future:

1. Pivot your business model

To adapt to the new market conditions, the first and most drastic strategy is to change your business model

The most significant impact on consumer behavior has been the confinement and shelter-in-place mandates. 

People have very limited access to businesses such as restaurants, retail shops, and gyms. As a result, their online usage has skyrocketed. 

2. Attract new customers with incentives

During this time, an increasing number of businesses are going online, which means there are more opportunities to attract new clients through online channels. 

This is an excellent chance for B2B SaaS companies to promote trials of their products by offering them for free or at a discount.

3. Adapt your marketing

Given the rapid changes in customer behavior and priorities, it is important to rethink your entire marketing strategy, from messaging to how you spend money on advertisements and content.

Marketing must now, more than ever, be focused on the immediate needs of your customers.

People will be turned off if you continue to push a hard sale or show any indication of being opportunistic.

4. Prepare for the future 

This one may sound obvious, but hear me out. 

In addition to exploring new revenue opportunities and evolving your marketing, it is also a great time to lay the groundwork for when the next shift occurs.

If not now, then when? Are there any new features you can add? Are there any fixes that you’ve been putting off?

You never know what will come up next so you should always keep yourself prepared.

5. Take care of people and customers.

Taking care of people and customers should be a major priority for leaders considering how to react. 

Leaders must adjust how their companies sell in the face of changing customer habits and difficult economic times.

Customer behavior changes are, in many ways, an acceleration of digital trends that were already underway before the pandemic. 

I believe we have reached a digital turning point, where B2B operations will no longer be the same as they were before the pandemic.

Conclusion

One thing is certain, the world has changed and there’s no way of knowing how it will change in the future. 

But for today, B2B SaaS companies are finding ways to adapt to this current environment. 

While some businesses may be in a better position to discover new revenue streams or increase their customer base, others are focusing on getting ready for when the business picks up again.

Customer priorities and needs are changing, so the value you provide must change as well.  

Stay ahead of the game by thinking about possible scenarios and create the strategies for each situation so you don’t get caught off guard if one pops up tomorrow!

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the next normal?

The next normal is the name given to the assumed period that will follow the normal before the COVID-19.


What is the new normal in 2022?

There are various suggestions and approaches to the new normal in 2022. However, it is a fact that the pandemic has had a strong effect on the lifestyle, habits, and jobs; and this has changed the normal as we knew it before.


What is contact free economy?

A contact-free economy means that people do not have to be in physical contact in order to be included in the economy. In other words, for some businesses, you don’t have to be in physical contact to buy and sell things, or work and get a service from someone. 

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Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that helps teams scale user onboarding and boost user engagement.