Low touch economy: what it is and how it affects B2B sales



Much has been said about the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on various aspects of society. In fact, we cannot deny that numerous transformations are underway and many others have been greatly accelerated. Among them, a good part is due to the need for social distance. In this sense, perhaps one of the most important is the establishment of the low touch economy.

In Portuguese, the expression means “low contact economy”. You must have already understood the relationship, right? This new market model was already a trend and, due to interaction restrictions imposed by the context of the pandemic, its dissemination ended up being anticipated.

Many studies have already been carried out to understand the changes in consumption habits in the post-coronavirus era. And, for those who work in the commercial area, it will be essential to understand how the low touch economy will affect B2B sales.

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Therefore, in this article we will address both its characteristics and its possible implications. After all, having a deeper understanding of this new model and its effects, it will be easier to create adaptation strategies to succeed in the new scenario.

What is low touch economy?

Low touch economy is a term that has been used to refer to the new market model that was established due to the economic and behavioral changes brought about by the pandemic.

The low-contact economy, as the name implies, is premised on the flow of capital without the need for direct contact. We can think, for example, of closing deals that do not depend on direct interaction between the parties involved – sellers and customers.

Therefore, we already have low touch experiences when we go to a restaurant and request an order through an app and we are notified by it that the dish is ready, without having to interact with a waiter. Or, in a supermarket, when we use self-checkout to pay for our purchases.

Okay, it’s easy to find B2C examples. What about B2B sales? Social selling, videoconferences, online fairs and events, digital contract signatures… we have many practices that have been accelerated recently in our universe and that are also part of this era with less physical contact between people

It is important to make it clear that, due to the continuous digital transformation that we have been going through in recent years, the low touch economy was already growing. Therefore, this is not a complete novelty for those who stay tuned in to trends.

However, we also cannot deny that the reduction in face-to-face engagement imposed by Covid-19 significantly intensified this process. Therefore, this “new normal” confronts us with the urgent need for adaptation.

In times of an economy of little contact, sales tools become even more fundamental to the commercial routine. Discover 18 of them that we recommend:

How does low touch economy affect B2B sales management?

In order to minimize social interactions, governments, companies and institutions had to adopt preventive measures and reorganize their activities, adapting to a new context. In addition, customers’ needs have also changed due to their own adjustments. Today they behave differently, buy different products through different channels and with different frequencies than before.

Therefore, B2B sales managers need to adapt their operation in several aspects. Let’s talk in more detail about some of them and bring tips on how to deal with the transformations imposed by the low touch economy y.

1. Remote work

Many companies that started to work remotely due to the need for social distance will certainly not return to the old reality, that is, the office. According to a study carried out by the company Fortieth, 30% of companies expressed their intention to keep the remote model after the pandemic.

The home office worked very well for many organizations when it comes to productivity, in addition to representing a huge savings in resources previously spent on infrastructure.

However, it is critical to be aware of how each member of your team is handling the work at home. Some professionals may find it difficult to find a balance between home care activities and work, for example. Added to this, in a context in which there is less face-to-face contact with other people, the team’s emotional challenges should be one of the manager’s priorities. 

In addition to understanding and perhaps some flexibility, the situation requires the leader to think of tools and strategies to help salespeople organize their routine, relieve stress, and reconcile work and personal life in an innovative way.

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2. Automation and digitization of processes

Both the new home office work configuration and the use of online sales channels show that the migration to the digital universe can no longer wait. The low touch economy requires your company to offer adequate tools for the sales team to sell and for your customer to buy, with the least amount of friction.

To name a few items, it is essential to invest in automation systems, such as CRM platforms in the cloud, as well as efficient means for communication between the team, such as videoconferencing and messaging software.

It’s also worth remembering that there will be less contact between the company and its customers, so if you haven’t digitized processes such as signing a contract, it’s high time to do it!

3. Engagement with customers

One of the main features of the low touch economy is, in addition to low contact, greater customer autonomy. This means that to engage you, you will need to use new types of resources and create efficient service strategies.

Online shopping has grown exponentially in the B2B market in the post-pandemic context. To keep up with this change, it will be necessary to invest in making online sales and communication as easy as possible.

More accessible and intuitive platforms can help in this regard. In addition, it will also be essential to have trained professionals to offer more attentive and assertive purchase support when requested.

4. Online Events

There is no doubt that, in many circumstances, nothing replaces social presence and interactions. Today, however, we know that many activities that previously required people to move and meet can be done at a distance. That’s because online facilitation has evolved a lot, creating solutions for different formats and types of events.

Currently, in addition to having the possibility of developing distance training much more attractive, we realize that large fairs, for example, can be adapted to the virtual environment. In this way, they continue to represent good business opportunities and become less costly.

The important thing is to understand that, possibly, this source of lead generation will not be the same as before. However, there are alternatives that are proving very interesting in online engagement!

Want an example? One of the biggest events in the world, Collision, brought together in an online platform more than 32,000 people from 140 countries in its latest edition – which was even a way to reduce barriers and increase the number and diversity of participants.

Is your company prepared for the low touch economy?

To adapt to the low touch economy, many organizations will have to undergo a real change in their organizational culture. This means a great impact in all areas, including, as we have seen, in the commercial operation.

However, it is important to keep in mind that this new business model does not represent, in any way, the extinction of teams or the very form of sales we know. This transformation is part of a natural evolution that should bring a series of benefits for everyone.