Sales Is Rapidly Becoming More Digital (Here’s How to Stay Ahead of the Trend)

Lots of companies are trying to map customer journeys across channels, but that may be unnecessary.

The customer journey is becoming more and more digital. A few statistics illustrate the point.

In the UK, eCommerce sales account for just 14% of total retail sales. In the U.S., it’s only 8%. Looking at these, you wouldn’t expect that digital is taking over, but then the narrative shifts when you look at preferences.

It turns out that 40% of U.S. males between the ages of 18-34 say that they would ideally buy everything online. We can all relate to that desire for convenience.

We’re also more and more demanding from digital platforms put out by service providers. 39% of us would stop engaging with a website if it takes too long to load.

These statistics and more came from our most recent guest on The B2B Revenue Executive Experience: Audelia Boker, VP of Marketing at Glassbox Digital. Audelia made a case for why understanding the online behaviors of your prospects and customers is more important now than ever.


It’s Not Just eCommerce

So far, we’ve only covered eCommerce. But digital is trending up in so many other areas as well.

Let’s look at mobile banking. In 2014, 47% of Americans primarily used digital banking. Today, it’s already close to 70%.

All these statistics illustrate how our lives have changed in the last decade. For people today, and especially the emerging generation of young people, ordering shoes and other essentials online is second nature. This emphasizes the importance of digital channels, and in particular, the importance of understanding how people behave on those channels.

What about B2B?

A lot of the statistics Audelia gave seemed to refer to B2C, so we asked her: are these same trends occurring on the B2B side?

She said, “Absolutely.” Recently, she was with a prospect, a Telco organization with a whole B2B division. They’ve identified clearly that in order to engage their own customers, they need to focus more on digital.

At the end of the day, for both B2C and B2B, you’re dealing with people. And people want the simplicity and immediacy of engaging with a service provider online. That’s becoming true across the board.

“Real-timeliness” and “Retroactivity” in Data

When Audelia threw around the terms above, we didn’t know exactly what she meant. But when she explained them, they turned out to be pretty cool concepts. They relate back to what the Glassbox tool does: tracking and recording the exact path a person takes on your website.

Here’s an example she gave for “real-timeliness”: as an end customer, if I try to self-serve on a website and I fail to do so for whatever reason, I fall into the obligation of calling a customer care representative. This person on the line has no idea what has happened to me five minutes ago.

This is frustrating for me and for the representative. Technology such as Glassbox provides visibility in real time to the representative. They can replay the session and understand in a few seconds what’s been going on. Because it’s working in real time, that person can almost co-browse without taking over your desktop.

Some Glassbox customers have reduced the duration of their support calls from five minutes to a minute and a half. That’s a 75% reduction.


The second aspect is “retroactivity.” Glassbox is used for a lot of compliance purposes in dispute management. Your website looks a certain way today, but it might look very different tomorrow. Plus, what you see isn’t necessarily what someone else is seeing if everything is personalized.

If regulators knock on your door asking for proof regarding your website’s setup or its use, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to provide that. With a tool like Glassbox, you can provide a timestamped digital footprint of all sessions and go back retroactively to sessions, even those that are years old. It is unquestionable digital proof.

A Perfect Use Case

Probably the best example Audelia gave for the value of the Glassbox tool was this: one of their UK customers, a top bank, knew they had a conversion issue on their online account opening rate. There was an entire analyst team across the UK and India working on the issue, but they couldn’t figure it out.

Glassbox came in and started capturing all the sessions of people who did not convert. They helped the bank realize that people spent 20 minutes on a form filling in their information in order to open an online account, but for some the end of that 20 minutes was endlessly frustrating.

All the people who had special characters or spaces in their names would be ejected at the end of the process without any error message or notification telling them they had an issue. And this bank happens to be the number one bank in the UK for people relocating there! So people across Europe with accents, etc. in their names were having major issues.

The bank never would have known the issue if they couldn’t look in on exactly what was happening.

What is most effective when someone is trying to sell to you?

We like to ask all of our podcast guests this question. Here’s how Audelia responded:

“It’s very difficult to pinpoint what makes me open and read an email. As I mentioned, 39% of people would abandon a website if it takes too long to load. There’s another statistic that says if a user interface isn’t nice and friendly, I won’t even look at it.

All these wordy emails . . . what it comes down to is people reaching out who are really genuine and are coming to me with a proposition that relates to my needs as a startup. Some people have very generic emails and you get the feeling that it’s spam. They send the same thing as everyone. But when someone reaches out to a business of our size, you have to put yourself in their shoes and relate to their needs.”


Acceleration Insight

In each episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, we ask our guests for one nugget of wisdom they would impart to a sales professional. Here’s this one:

“Maybe it’s because I’m startup-minded, but my best advice is to dare and to do. I like the 80/20 rule. I don’t like things to be 100% perfect. Don’t get stuck if the door is closed; there’s always a window. You can get in through the window. That’s the spirit: be creative and different, and don’t try to be perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Audelia Boker from Glassbox Digital. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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