The traditional B2B sales model is at a critical turning point. Until recently, most B2B companies relied on printed catalogues, armies of sales reps, and well-staffed call centres to drive and support customer purchases.
But today’s B2B customers are shifting their research and transaction activities online as well as onto their mobile devices. They are demanding B2C experiences, while expecting that B2B specific buying and self-management processes will be available and covered.
Delayed order processing, a lack of information transparency, and inflexible customer service caused by inefficient systems and siloed channels frustrate self-service oriented buyers.
# 1: B2B buyer preferences have fundamentally shifted
# 2: Time-consuming and error-prone processing of orders
# 3: Labour-intensive customer service business processes
# 4: Siloed, outdated and inefficient systems
# 5: Zero integration of the digital channel within the wider business landscape
Some of the best independent analysts’ firms, agree that B2B eCommerce market will double B2C market figures by 2020. In order to serve new self-service oriented business buyers manufacturers and distributors must digitize their B2B selling model and utilize a centralized commerce technology, to build self-service customer portals that deliver a better customer experience.
According to Intershop, the largest independent provider of omnichannel commerce solutions and one of the companies with more experience in B2B commerce, offering a self-service platform for B2B customers can provide a set of benefits:
– It eliminates administrative tasks unrelated to their core business for buyers.
– Online ordering tools increase the efficiency of the internal order fulfilment process and ensure visibility and transparency around the order status.
– It’s easier and more cost effective to provide guidance and customer assistance when it’s needed (such as contextual help or chat services).
– Digitally enabled employees can provide better guidance and customer assistance to customers.
– Sales representatives and customer service agents can focus their efforts on interactions that create additional value for business buyers.
I will be talking about “The 7 secrets for fast digital transformation in B2B commerce” at #DES2017 on behalf of Sugerendo, do not miss the opportunity to know them.
Juan Manuel Rubio
Head of business development