Study: B2B Buyers Are Replacing In-Person Meetings With Virtual

Face-to-face sales meetings are going the way of the dinosaur. And this poses both a challenge and an opportunity for email teams.  

Among B2B buyers who are responsible for more than $12 billion a year for their businesses, 69% say they can do without a live meeting with a sales representative, according to a new study by Showpad, a provider of sales enablement technology.  

Overall, 86% of now prefer to be sold to virtually. And that figure jumps to 92% among Gen Zers.  

That doesn’t mean buyers have totally given up on live meetings -- 51% have purchased after one. But 32% have made purchases through virtual meetings, and 17’% through virtual or in-person. 



Also, 70% have purchased something after seeing it on social media, with 33% who have purchased within the last month, and 50% bought after seeing a video.

Email can be a prime driver of engagements via virtual meetings and social, both in reaching to the person and following up with reminders and notifications. 

What turns people off when dealing with salespeople?

Forty-eight percent resent sellers who will not take no for an answer, and 47% are annoyed by persistent calls and messages. Moreover, 27% pointed to salespeople not knowing their products, and 24% dislike it when salespeople send too much information. 

In addition, 47% say that if a seller was just following a script, they would not proceed. And 41% would drop out if the salesperson appeared to be distracted.  

Another 27% are turned off by messy or untidy backgrounds, and 22% are put off when the salesperson walks away from the screen during the presentation.   

Which social channels predominate? Business buyers go to Facebook (69%), Instagram (57%) and YouTube (48%) are and LinkedIn 26%).  

For some products, buyers prefer in-person meetings. That includes manufacturing & engineering (60%), technology (64%), construction (57%) and insurance (50%). Of those polled, 66% say they like to see the physical products before buying and 34% prefer an in-person demo in their office.  

 “While there will always be space for face-to-face selling, in today’s hybrid working environment, buyers are gravitating more and more toward virtual buying and sales reps need to equip themselves with the right tools to keep up,” says Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad.

Showpad surveyed  521 companies in the technology, manufacturing and finance industries with annual revenues ranging from $2 million to $1 billion.



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