The days of talking to a B2B sales company, working with a call-center and flipping through a catalog are over. B2B buying behavior has drastically changed and are expecting the same customer experience they receive as B2C consumers. B2B companies are seeing the need to rethink and transform their sales channels and models to incorporate digital means for their processes. The B2B buyer has transformed through adapting to the new online environment. These buyers are more connected, impulsive, impatient and informed than previous B2B buyers. More and more, B2B buyers want to self-educate and purchase their items and/or services by visiting the sellers’ websites.
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1 million US B2B sales representatives will lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020 (Forrester, Death of a B2B Salesman, 2015)
The B2B “connected buyer” is looking for empowered experiences to deliver efficiency and convenience. Today’s self-serve eCommerce sites do more than replicate their sales reps, often providing functions that humans simply cannot do. B2B commerce sites provide the ability to research and understand products, receive suggestions for assortment combinations, and manage their buying process anytime and anywhere digital channels give B2B customers control over the buyer’s journey. But these benefits do not belong to the customer alone. While the customer benefits from visibility, convenience and control, B2B providers are able to deliver these competitive benefits at a lower cost point and accelerate the sales cycle, while gaining more transparency and insight into the customer’s needs, patterns, and buying cycles.
An empowered buyer needs to be able to navigate the complexity of a B2B transaction easily, independently, and with the same level of service and accuracy they have come to expect with their traditional relationship managers and sales reps.
How can you empower your buyer?
- Provide multiple customer touch points
- Share customer data and analytics across channels
- Set the right incentives and metrics within your organization
- Provide seamless and accurate integration of self-service systems
- Understand buyer behaviors and needs beyond the sale
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