Research Outline

Building Trust Virtually


To determine a set of guidelines surrounding how sellers can build trust in a virtual sales environment ideally sourced from industry articles, surveys, and/or blogs.

Early Findings

According to the Symmetrics Group, there are four R's to remember when it comes to building virtual trust surrounding a product or service.
  • Relevant — Proactively leaning is essential to match pace with the ever-changing flow of information. Engage in relevant dialogue as it is critical to meet the changing needs of customers. "Be sure to ask confirming questions to make certain that you stay relevant and ask exploratory questions to improve your knowledge of your client’s unique situation. The more you learn about each of your clients and how they react to what you share, the stronger your insights will become."
  • Real — The current landscape of change is daunting. "Empathizing with customer challenges, both professionally and if appropriate, personally, and sharing a few of your own can help to establish a more “real” and authentic foundation for your relationships."
  • Relatable — "Be sure to also consider your client’s generational set. Research shows that different generations process change and stress in dramatically different ways. In addition, they want to receive communication differently and may prefer a method of communication that is different than what you prefer."
  • Reliable — This can be established in two forms. Be a source of trustworthy information and be sure that timely follow thru occurs. "In fairly tumultuous times, the more insight and information you can bring to the table that is grounded in truth and backed up by data, the more your customers will come to depend on you as a reliable source of information."
ThreeKit offers the following insights on the needs of customers during this virtual time as well as recommendations on tips to build virtual trust.
  • Quoting a paywalled report from Forrester, the marketing group states that "67% of B2B buyers said that they do not want to interact with a sales representative as their primary source of research." As such, one of their recommendations is to establish a hands-off initial approach which allows the customer to conduct "self-guided digital research before talking to sales."
  • Additionally, "70% (of B2B clients) said that buying from a website was more convenient than buying from a sales rep when purchasing products or services for work"
  • B2B companies should "move upmarket so as not to become a commodity. This means offering more complex products that come with higher margins."
  • Another key idea is to "engage customers in new and innovative ways." Email, video, chat, and text are all viable options to combat the traditional phone call.
In February 2020, KoMarketing released its "CMO Survey" which provides research showing that B2B companies "may want to focus on establishing more trusting relationships."
  • "27.2% (up from 21.3% the previous year) of customers have made it a top priority to develop a trusting relationship with marketers over the next 12 months."
  • 10.4% of customers feel that "low product/service price" is essential. This figure is down from 21.3% the previous year.
CustomerThink suggests the following areas of focus to improve and build client trust in the digital age:
  • Provide comprehensive company information on the website
  • Brand Mentions on third-party sites
  • Accreditation from third-parties
  • Independent ratings and reviews
  • Build a professional social media presence
  • Provide customer case studies and testimonials
  • Build top of funnel content marketing assets