Can technical consultancy be digitalized in a B2B environment?

Ajda Hafner, CMO at SaleSqueze
February 15, 2023

The nature of B2B business is that the buyers’ requirements are often complex. Consequently, that means there is a need for solutions that are also quite complex and often tailored made for the buyer.

This is especially true when it comes to manufacturing products with various configurations. This can make it tough for buyers to know exactly what they need and how to set it up.

Technical consultancy plays a crucial role in sales for manufacturing companies, especially for more complex products.

In this article, we’ll examine technical consultancy and its significance in B2B environments. We’ll look at the challenges sales reps face when providing technical advice and see how technology can help make the process more efficient. Finally, we’ll take a closer look at some real-life examples to see the impact that technical consultancy can have on the buying process.

What exactly is technical consultancy?

Technical consultancy refers to offering expert advice and guidance to customers in B2B sales in the manufacturing industry. It’s all about helping buyers understand complex and configurable products and making sure they choose the right configuration for their needs.

The purpose of the technical consultancy is to educate customers about the product and its capabilities, so they can make an informed buying decision. It’s important in B2B sales because, without it, customers might not fully understand the products they’re purchasing, leading to disappointment, returns, and loss of business.

Providing technical consultancy helps build trust and credibility with customers, as they can count on the expertise of the sales rep or technology department for guidance. It can also streamline the sales process, reducing the time and resources needed to close a deal.

In today’s highly competitive B2B market, exceptional customer service is key. Technical consultancy is a crucial part of this, as it empowers customers to make smart choices and ensures they’re happy with their purchases. This leads to increased customer loyalty, repeated business, and positive word-of-mouth, which are essential for long-term success in B2B sales.

Challenges sales reps face when providing technical consultancy

Sales representatives are often the face of a company and the first point of contact for potential customers. In many industries, sales reps are expected to provide technical advice and guidance to potential customers, which can be a significant challenge. The following are some difficulties sales reps face when providing technical advice.

  1. Lack of technical expertise: Many sales reps do not have a strong technical background and may struggle to answer complex technical questions or provide accurate technical advice. This can lead to a loss of credibility with potential customers and decrease the chances of closing a sale.
  2. Keeping up with industry developments: The manufacturing and technology industries are constantly evolving, and sales reps need to stay informed of the latest product updates and advancements to provide accurate and relevant technical advice.
  3. Balancing technical information with sales techniques: Providing technical advice is just one aspect of the sales process, and sales reps need to balance their technical knowledge with their sales techniques to close a sale. This can be a challenging balance to strike and requires a high level of skill and experience.
  4. Managing customer expectations: Potential customers often come to sales reps with specific technical requirements or questions. Sales reps must be able to manage customer expectations, answer their questions accurately, and provide relevant technical advice without overpromising or under-delivering.
  5. Managing time effectively: Sales reps frequently have many leads to follow up with and need to prioritize their time effectively to provide technical advice to potential customers. This can be a major challenge, especially in fast-paced environments where time is limited.

Can digital tools replace technological consultancy by sales reps?

Digital tools are transforming many industries, and B2B manufacturing sales are no exception. The use of digitalized technical consultancy is taking over traditional technical consultancy by sales reps. Products selectors and configurators offered by platforms like SaleSqueze are leading this transformation.

SaleSqueze offers businesses a platform to quickly and easily create configurators and supports the research process for buyers as they search for solutions. Digital tools do offer convenience and accessibility to buyers who need information and guidance at any time. And, it’s easier to localize the experience with digital tools as content can be translated, compared to hiring and training new sales reps which can be time-consuming and costly.

Examples of digital technical consultancy

Let’s explore three examples of digital technical consultancy.

Example 1: Waste Management Solutions

The first example is a product selector and configurator for waste management solutions by the company Riko Ekos. This configurator is made up of 7 steps and guides buyers through the process of choosing the right solution for their needs. The use of this tool has allowed Riko Ekos to reduce the time spent on order processing by 70%.

Example 2: Crawler Excavator

In our latest configuration challenge, we recreated Caterpillar‘s build and price solution with our configuration platform. Products as complex as Crawler excavators require a lot of technical consultancies.

The configurator helps buyers understand the different options available for the excavator and pick the best configuration to fit their requirements. This tool makes it easier for buyers to understand the capabilities of the excavator and make informed purchasing decisions.

Example 3: RVs

The third example is RVs, which may seem simple at first glance, but can be complex due to their many possible features. B2B buyers are provided with a comprehensive configuration process, allowing them to create and visualize their desired RV easily, ensuring they get exactly what they need.

You can find more examples of digitalized technical consultancy in our showroom.

The use of digitalized technical consultancy has demonstrated significant benefits for the manufacturing industry, including:

  • Guiding customers through the buying process
  • Streamlining the search for required information
  • Facilitating the identification of a fitting solution
  • Supporting the creation of a customized offer or submitting an order immediately

This approach offers buyers a user-friendly and easily accessible option to gain information and guidance, improving the efficiency of the sales process and reducing the time and resources required to close a sale. The examples provided highlight the positive impact that digital technical consultancy can have on the buying experience and the advantages it can bring to manufacturing companies.

Digitalized technical consultancy vs consultancy by sales reps

Digital technical consultancy offers several benefits compared to traditional sales rep-led consultancy.

Firstly, digital tools are always accessible, so customers can get information and support at any time. This is helpful for busy customers who cannot meet with a sales rep. Secondly, digital tools are easily localized, making it simpler to reach a wider audience globally. Translating digital content is much simpler than hiring and training sales reps in different regions.

Additionally, digital technical consultancy can be more consistent and accurate than consultancy from sales reps. Digital tools are designed to provide specific, up-to-date information to customers, ensuring a consistent experience.

Lastly, digital technical consultancy is more cost-efficient than relying on sales reps. Hiring and training sales reps can be costly, while digital tools can be developed and deployed faster and more efficiently, leading to cost savings for companies.

Why digitalize technical consultancy in numbers

If you are still not sure to digitalize technical consultancy, these numbers will change your mind.

A survey conducted by Accenture found that 82% of buyers prefer to use digital channels for their research process, and 91% of B2B buyers expect an online purchase option.

According to the results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study, only 23% of buyers see salespeople as a top 3 resources to solve business problems. This results in the fact that 70% of buyers wait until needs are fully defined respectively. 44% of buyers even wait until they have identified solutions before they engage with salespeople.

This indicates a clear shift towards digital solutions in the B2B market, and digitalized technical consultancy can help companies meet these expectations and improve customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, the benefits of digitalized technical consultancy are numerous and clear, and the shift toward digital solutions in the B2B market is undeniable. Companies that embrace digitalized technical consultancy will be able to reach a wider audience, provide better support, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase sales and profitability.

Wrap up

Digitalized technical consultancy is a vital tool for companies looking to provide efficient and practical support for their customers. With 24/7 accessibility, localization capabilities, consistent and accurate information, and cost-effectiveness, it is no wonder why so many companies are embracing digitalized technical consultancy as a way to improve their customer support.

The results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study demonstrate the importance of digitalized technical consultancy, as buyers are increasingly expecting to receive support from digital tools. Therefore, companies that want to remain competitive and meet the evolving needs of their customers must digitalize their technical consultancy services.

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