Omnichannel sales is no longer a buzzword. Today’s B2B buyers are digital-savvy with high expectations—they want a streamlined, convenient process that stretches online and offline. 

But as in-person interactions are re-emerging, will the rise of omnichannel sales experience a downfall? Was omnichannel simply a short-lived trend?

The data says no. According to Bloomreach’s annual study, 58% of buyers say they always or often research a product online before going to the physical store. 

That’s good news, as omnichannel sales are a win-win for both buyers and companies. It’s why eight in 10 B2B decision-makers think omnichannel sales is as or even more effective than traditional sales methods. 

But how does an omnichannel approach integrate with the practice of selling through multiple online and offline channels?  

Omnichannel sales: The perfect complement to a multichannel strategy

Aberdeen Group found that 51% of companies use at least eight channels to interact with customers. Many businesses sell through multiple channels because it enables them to reach consumers at various touchpoints and share relevant information. But they often run into one of the following problems:

An omnichannel strategy aims to tie each of these disparate channels and give your buyers a cohesive buying experience. To understand how, you first need to know the difference between omnichannel sales and multichannel sales. 

Difference between omnichannel sales and multichannel sales 

Difference #1: Integration of the purchasing journey 

Multichannel sales: 

Omnichannel sales: 

Difference #2: Different focus areas

Multichannel sales: 

Omnichannel sales: 

How omnichannel sales and multichannel sales work together  

According to a study by SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. And yet, 42% of B2B marketing and sales teams say their efforts are not fully personalized. 

Combining a multichannel approach with an omnichannel sales experience is one of the primary ways brands can tailor a customized message for their customers—no matter what channel is used. Omnichannel sales can help you connect your different online and offline channels into a consistent brand experience for buyers. 

Experts agree. Take Christina Crawley, the managing director of marketing at Forum One, for instance. “In a digital world that is overflowing with competing content and marketing messages, standing out is usually the biggest challenge, which is where omnichannel marketing can make a big difference,” she writes in this article

It’s not just Crawley. According to McKinsey, 83% of B2B leaders believe omnichannel sales is a more successful method for customer acquisition rather than the previous face-to-face-only approach.

Thus, B2B brands must increase their sales channels via multichannel selling and tie them together via an omnichannel strategy. For instance, if a consumer reaches out to you through social media, they should be able to transition their communication to email or live chat friction-free. But the reality is, most consumers don’t have a seamless experience when switching between channels. 

Why does omnichannel adoption lag so far behind for many enterprises? One of the primary reasons is the lack of the right infrastructure and tools.

3 types of tools that enable omnichannel sales

Adapting to omnichannel sales is a step in the right direction. Your tech stack is at the heart of that plan, especially when 64% of marketers cite a lack of resources and investment required to succeed as one of the top reasons for not executing an omnichannel strategy. 

Here are the top three types of tools that can help you achieve success with omnichannel sales. 

#1: Customer support tools

Providing omnichannel customer support is a chance to stand out from the competition and increase revenue. 

An omnichannel service would integrate text, chat, email, phone, and in-person communication to provide a unified and seamless brand experience. A customer would be able to switch between multiple channels and still get the same quality of service. 

Your business can get badly impacted if you don’t get your customer support right. One in three B2B customers would walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. But it can be a hassle to communicate with your customers through multiple channels, let alone in an integrated way. 

The solution? Software that is modern, agile, and integrated. 

Below are some tools you can use to ensure your customer support is a delightful experience:

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  • Helpdesk: A helpdesk unifies all support channels into one place, so your support team can stay organized and manage customer problems better. Freshdesk, for instance, is an omnichannel solution for customer support teams. It helps you streamline customer communication via different channels, creates a better ticketing system, and automates repetitive tasks.
  • Knowledge base: A knowledge base is an extensive repository of the most commonly asked customer questions. It’s a self-service place where customers can find answers to their questions themselves—enabling 24/7 customer support and easing your support team’s load. Many helpdesk tools like Freshdesk also allow you to build a knowledge base through their platform. Here are some best practices to build a knowledge base.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots offer another form of self-service for your clients and consumers. You can set up workflows to automatically guide them through a troubleshooting process without human intervention. Freshdesk Messaging, for example, uses artificial intelligence to allow you to suggest automated resolutions to your customers—and even foster a relationship with them through small talk instead of only providing robotic answers.
  • Live chat: Live chat means instant communication with your customers in real time. You can answer any questions promptly and conveniently with the right live chat software. Freshdesk Messaging, for instance, connects different messaging apps and mechanisms—like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Mobile, or Web—into one inbox. Your sales reps can easily see what a potential customer has communicated in a centralized place.
  • Email: Many customers still prefer to reach out to your business via email. Tools like Freshdesk integrate with email to automatically create a support ticket anytime someone emails your support team. Your agents can now work on email support queries from the tool itself.
  • Phone support: Sometimes, you just need a phone call to get things right. Luckily, many tools like Freshdesk allow you to set up a virtual call channel, convert voicemails or missed calls to support tickets, and even set up an interactive voice response to redirect customers to the right agent.

#2: Marketing and messaging tools

You want to diversify your approach and get your messages to customers across different channels. But you also want your brand messaging to be consistent—the tone you use, the offers you provide, and the language you incorporate. After all, consistent branding could increase your revenue by 10-20%

But roughly a third of marketing and sales professionals report that they struggle to maintain brand identity consistently. Why? Each channel encourages a different communication style, and consumers today expect varied responses depending on the medium they contact you through.Thus, your sales reps need channel-specific guidance to communicate well with customers. Sending too many (or too few) messages that aren’t relevant, personalized, and properly timed can cost you customers, sales, and even your reputation.

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While 90% of consumers expect brands to provide relevant content, more than half of it is not meaningful to customers and ultimately drowns them in content clutter. 

Here are some marketing and messaging tools that can help you enhance your customer communication: 

  • Email marketing: Email generates $42 for every $1 spent, a 4200% ROI—making it one of the most effective marketing channels. Regularly sharing company updates, new features and discounts, and other helpful insights can help you stay in touch with customers and upsell your products or services. Freshmarketer’s email builder enables you to run email campaigns with a simple drag-and-drop editor.
  • Social media: Today, social media is an essential part of every marketing strategy—whether it’s company announcements, trends, or providing customer service. There are many tools available today that allow you to schedule your social media posts for all platforms and manage all your accounts from a centralized location. Tools like Freshdesk can even help convert social media queries to support tickets and proactively monitor social media content that mentions your brand.
  • Text messaging software: Communicating via text message with your customers is great for creating urgency or sharing updates—such as a time-bound discount, limited-time deals, and account changes. Text messaging tools now have the capability to allow you to segment and automate this process. Support agents can even respond to text message queries directly from your support desk using Freshworks.

These tools sync your customer communication across channels—be it social media, email, or SMS. They use identity resolution to give you all the data about a customer in one place, enabling your sales team to continue a conversation started on one channel on another without a hiccup. 

#3: Omnichannel CRM

While there are plenty of tools available on the market for your business to adopt omnichannel sales, wouldn’t it be easier if you could do everything from a single platform? 

An omnichannel CRM makes it possible. It’s at the heart of your customer experience strategy.

You can build campaigns, centralize client information, automate customized movement in the sales pipeline, and unify customer journeys across multiple channels. 

In the next section, we’ll see exactly how a CRM can help you successfully bring your omnichannel blueprint to life. 

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Bringing it all together: Why you should use an omnichannel CRM 

CRM has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a back-office tool. Today, an advanced omnichannel CRM can enable cross-channel engagement, leverage artificial intelligence, and help you organize and consolidate your data. 

Consider it your ultimate source of truth: It’s the one place where your marketing, sales, and support teams can interact and keep up with a customer’s journey. 

Here’s how an omnichannel CRM facilitates omnichannel sales: 

#1: Maintain a universal data platform

Imagine that a potential customer knows your brand through Twitter. Here, you address the customer’s problems quickly. But if the same customer reaches out to your sales team a week later via email with an update to their problem, they have to repeat themselves from the beginning to give the appropriate context. Your chances of converting this lead to a recurring customer are now significantly reduced.

With an omnichannel CRM in place, you can make the purchase journey more fluid. An omnichannel CRM collects and organizes all customer data—derived from web forms, live chat, email, social media, and telephone—into a single dashboard. Now, customers get consistent support from your brand across channels. 

Organized customer data is the basis for customer engagement at scale. You can track, segment, and organize buyer information, which enables you to convert numbers to actionable business decisions. 

#2: Increase productivity with automation

An omnichannel CRM can automate sequences of sales actions such as emails and calls, and can also personalize interactions so you close deals faster. It has the ability to automate your key tasks and business processes with intelligent workflows. 

All these points below will help your team save valuable hours, improve productivity, and work more efficiently from reliable inputs. It benefits your customers too, as it allows for customer journeys that are relevant, personalized, and synchronized.

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#3: Track the customer journey

A customer reached out to you via email and later intended to continue the same conversation on phone support. 75% of consumers hate repeating themselves when they have an issue with a brand. So, they expect to pick up where they left off, no matter the channel. An omnichannel CRM integrates all this data in one place so your staff can continue from the last conversation.

An omnichannel CRM enables tracking of how a customer is interacting with your brand every step of the way. Giving omnichannel support means your business is available as one unit whenever a customer tries to initiate contact. It also allows you to track where your customers are coming from, what channels to utilize better, and other data that helps you make more strategic decisions. 

Accurately tracking the customer journey enables different departments to take over (with the full context) whenever their chance comes. For instance, sales can start the conversation with a lead, and customer success can seamlessly take over once they convert into a customer.  

Omnichannel sales is your competitive advantage

It’s indisputable that omnichannel sales is no longer optional for businesses today. By being present where your customers are, your business will provide a level of service that makes you stand out from the competition. 

But omnichannel sales isn’t easy. There are many integrated channels to keep up with, a lot of data to track, and tons of follow-ups to write. 

That’s where an all-in-one CRM platform comes into play. It will keep your employees in sync, automate manual tasks, and provide a frictionless experience for your team and, most importantly, your consumers.