McKinsey believes there are three varieties of digital for business-to-business (B2B) that are going to happen and mature in the market. One is just a pure digital experience. Think about your consumer life — how you buy on Amazon, for example. How delightful it can be, how easy, how you can compare prices and get recommendations. That’s a 100% digital experience.
The second way is a digital blended experience with frontline sellers. Instead of a customer having to call their account rep to see what things they’ve purchased or to manage their upgrades, their rep has visibility into all of that digitally, and knows when to reach out.
The third way we see digital happening is related to channel: You can actually use it to start prospecting. Customers can discover a product in a digital format, and then be flipped to a channel partner who can help with the rest of the sale or help with the services and the installation.
Some people have asked us, "Does digital mean the death of the traditional channel, your resellers?" I don't think that's the case for B2B selling. If anything, digital should be a complement, not a substitution. If digital helps you bring in more leads and prospects, and do things in a quicker and more delightful way, it should be blended into your channel route to market.