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What's big tech doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Viewpoints 2020-06-20 162 0

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Reference:CGTN | Updated: 18 June 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the world economy to the extent that some cross-border traders in China are moving to English education.

For a lot of salesmen, the pandemic has also been a disaster in which they can no longer go to anyone's doorstep and sell products face-to-face because the quarantine has prevented so many potential buyers from opening the front door.

But online sales are different: Browse, order, pay and the product is ready for shipment. For cloud service sales, it's even easier since everything can be done online.

It makes almost no difference between B2C and B2B sales, according to Claudio Christensen, vice president of IBM Digital Sales Centre in Europe.

In Europe, a lot of small business owners are used to buying services online, just like e-commerce.

One important benefit for online purchasing is that you can browse many brands at once and compare them side-by-side, which will probably lead to more rational choices.

IBM is not new in digital sales, Christensen told CGTN Digital. They have a sales team of more than 600 people spread across 23 countries.

"By sales center I mean actual centers instead of old-fashioned call centers," Christensen stressed.

The team's workflow is in no way complicated. For most cloud products, they offer a three-month trial period. Since the services are online products themselves, it's straightforward to just let users dive into the actual product.

From a five-dollar cloud server to million-dollar video streaming platform, products from across the internet are using trial periods to attract new users.

IBM also offers what they call "demo webinars" to offer demo product tailored for a client with salesmen guidance.

"Virtual [sale] is king. It's the only way that works now in Europe," Christensen said.

Just like competitors Huawei, Oracle and Microsoft, IBM is seeing an increase in the need for a secure mobile network and video chat software from customers.

The rising stars in the business-level video chat arena like Zoom and Tencent's VooV Meeting are using these companies' products as the backbone of their networks.

We at CGTN Digital are also witnessing a drastic increase in the use of video chat as part of news media. The once "low-quality" video content has now become one of the most used content forms by major video news outlets.

Another new norm brought about by the pandemic is the home office. A lot of white collar workers' dreams have suddenly come true. But ironically, it may not be as comfortable as they thought.

"They simply just don't have the right equipment at home," Christensen complained. Most of his team members used to work in office. They had not prepared their houses for long-term work at home.

"We are seeing a lot of our people now are asking for physio support," Christensen told CGTN Digital.

Talking about the future of digital sales, Christensen appeared very optimistic.

"Digital sales are here to stay," Christensen said, predicting that the surge of online business will survive longer than the pandemic.

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