Despite lockdowns and social distancing rules across the globe, consumer and business buying hasn’t stopped. Instead, we’ve seen a large-scale shift in the entire customer relationship, which has now moved online.
Undoubtedly, this global crisis will shift consumer behaviour forever. And through the lessons we’ve learned from analysing many holiday shopping seasons, most customers will continue to operate in this new digital normal long after this crisis subsides.
Opening online channels to connect with customers may have once been a visionary idea for B2B business leaders. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’re hearing from more customers for whom this task is now mandatory and urgent.
So how do you start your journey to digital and get online quickly, to stay resilient and future-proof against changes in customer behaviour?
Digital channels are your lifeline. React by getting online, fast.
50% of B2B businesses had already moved to selling online pre-COVID-19, and in light of recent events, it’s imperative in order to maintain agility and transparency across your business and communicate with your customers. Field Sales Reps and in-store staff who previously connected with customers face-to-face need an alternative solution.
In today’s world, 76% of B2B buyers find it helpful to speak to a salesperson when they are researching a new product or service. But only 15% want to speak to someone when they are re-ordering the same product or service. By allowing buyers to purchase online, B2B companies will be easier to buy from where other channels are restricted and provide a better customer experience by servicing customers on their preferred channel.
We know speed is of the essence right now, so we’ve devised a Quick Start solution that can help you launch a B2B eCommerce site in just a matter of weeks. Get a complete commerce toolkit to help you set up, run your site and fulfil orders. Start growing now and prepare for what’s next with this all-in-one solution for B2B Commerce.
Margins are squeezed. Manage your costs
For many B2B companies, a large amount of revenue comes from a small set of customers. That leaves a long tail of customers (potentially up to 80%) generating approximately 20% of revenue who also need to be effectively served.
For example, think of a consumer goods manufacturer who mostly sells through large, national retailers to generate most of their revenue. They also, however, have smaller, local stores that want their products. Investing in a self-serve digital sales channel allows you to easily reach this set of long-tail customers, and enable them to easily order – and re-order online. This leaves your Sales or Service Reps to spend time on higher touch activities, like helping customers weather the current storm or finding new prospects when the time comes to re-group and grow.
By automating transactional tasks and giving customers self-service visibility into orders and delivery status in real time online, you can make savings of around £9 on every order placed.
This too shall pass. Prepare for omnichannel experiences
This current urgency to move to digital, of course, doesn’t negate the need to be able to service customers through offline channels too – especially when something resembling normal life returns.
You’ll need to effectively merge all your channels to have all customer data and service activity to hand for a 360-degree experience. In Forrester’s recent report, they uncovered around one-third of B2B firms who were levelling up their omnichannel strategy. This involves ensuring they are able to respond to customers with information based on every interaction they have with the business.
To succeed in the omni-channel world your business will need to anticipate changes in technology, processes and staff to align on supporting B2B buyers wherever they want to engage. By taking a phased approach, you can roll out to different locations or areas of the business at a time.
Learn more about tactics to future-proof and grow your business through digital commerce and explore how your B2B sales team can win with commerce with our E-book on Transforming the B2B Sales Function.
Or find out more on how Salesforce can help you deploy a B2B Commerce storefront for self-service ordering in as few as five weeks.