The digitization of B2B is inevitable. Forrester estimates that US B2B eCommerce will hit $1.8 trillion by 2023. B2B companies across all industries, from manufacturing to services to high tech, are facing the ultimate customer ultimatum: make B2B shopping as easy as B2C or we’ll find someone else who will. Therefore, this article will tell you something you don’t know about B2B eCommerce experience, to help you come up with a strategy of your own.
Understand Your Audience and Be Customer-Centric
We talked about how B2B buyers are becoming more demanding and their expectations have changed in years. That also translates into the B2B buyer journey too. In a nutshell, today’s B2B buyer journey is now not a linear and simple transaction; it is more a looping, multi-person online journey across a typical B2B purchase, revisiting every three stages from awareness to decision. And there’s a great likelihood that the first connection with a B2B buyer happens online; via an inquiry form, email, or even a social media platform.
Buyers will browse products or services using their own natural language, in their own time and on any device. In essence, they will behave just as they do when buying B2C products. They could browse vendors on a smartphone while in transit, pause the search, then pick it up later on another device. Whatever channel they jump to, they want fast information and personalized content that measures up to expectations.
Understanding these needs is critical. Without this foundation of understanding, you will unlikely be able to deliver the successful customer experience that is expected from you.
Connect the Internal Experience First
B2B sales cycles have a plethora of moving parts. Sales, Marketing, IT, Product Management, Legal, and more all control a specific part of the customer journey.
For digital to be a company-wide success all these departments need to be able to control their own piece of the experience. Marketing should be able to update the mobile site without having to go through IT; and Sales should be able to see the latest product information without having to email Product Management.
Connecting the internal experience removes these bottlenecks. First up in connecting the experience is to map out exactly what information each department is currently in control of; and what tools they use to manage that content. List out what data and collateral to use in the sales cycle, who is in control of this content, and who needs access to it to successfully meet their goals.
Define Your Priorities and Create a Roadmap
How do people interact with your brand now? How should they interact in the future? Focusing on these two points, sketch out a roadmap of how your business will get from A to B.
Roadmaps are flexible, the one you set now is almost guaranteed to evolve over the next 12-18 months; but the process of creating provides a deeper understanding of the goals and needs of the initiative.
Additionally, as B2B architecture and processes are generally more complex than in B2C; taking the time to understand the impact of digital across the entire setup will ensure it’s done right the first time.
Put The Connected Experience in The Hands of Your Team
When it comes to the complex sales cycles of B2B, a large part of a smooth process is getting the relevant information directly to your own team.
A great example of this is a commercial paper company that, with the help of Guidance, created a field sales app that showed product compatibility and real-time inventory information.
In just two years with this sales enablement app, the company is driving over $100 million a year in sales. Often the simplest things make the biggest impact. Enabling your entire team with the most up to date content makes cross-team collaboration efficient, instills confidence in those involved in the complex sales cycle; and makes everyone’s day-to-day jobs easier.
The benefits of a consistent, connected experience aren’t limited to your internal teams either.
Above are some things you need to know about B2B eCommerce experience. If you have any concerns, let us know and we will help you to answer. If you are a beginner and looking for a tool that involves some of these elements at the same time; then check out Grit Global. A Magento b2b website that offers you multiple channels, flexibility in creating customizing catalogs, prices as well as Comprehensive Inventory Management Features. Thus, you will not have to worry and do tasks on your own with this genius invention. Let this be a part of your journey ahead.
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