Digital Transformation in B2B Ushers in a New Age of B2B Commerce
The new normal has seen a shift towards digital in B2B commerce, and today’s buyers are increasingly expecting a seamless, B2C-like experience. Many of today’s B2B operators are accelerating their digital roadmaps to keep up with the changing face of the landscape, which is leading to big wins for both B2B businesses and their customers. Today’s successful B2B player is more agile, customer-centric, transparent and connected than ever before, and traditional B2B businesses are stepping out of the shadows of the old world and onto a digital-first frontier where anything is possible.
To find out how today’s B2B organisation can find success in the current moment and beyond, Forrester Consulting conducted a study to examine the potential ROI that could be achieved by leveraging Salesforce’s B2B Commerce, a commerce solution that digitises the workload of sales teams and elevates the B2B buying experience. Let’s have a look at the Forrester report, The Total Economic Impact of Salesforce B2B Commerce, to see some of the ways that Salesforce’s solution can drive operational efficiency for B2B businesses and help create more seamless experiences for their customers.
Grow B2B Revenue
B2B organisations have long struggled with fragmented experiences and outdated technologies, leading to frustrated employees and buyers. Now, as e-commerce has boomed and buyer expectations have risen, B2B businesses are quickly pivoting to address the digital imperative.
A more agile approach to B2B commerce is taking hold, as businesses look to better respond to market changes, free their workforce from repetitive tasks, onboard new partners efficiently and grow B2B revenue in ever-shrinking time frames.
By offering convenient self-service options and strategic promotions, businesses can increase their AOV (average order value), attract more new customers, improve relationships and see an uptick in broader purchasing patterns. Statistics from the Forrester report highlight the effectiveness of this strategy:
- Digital channel buying behaviours drive 33% more revenue over three years
- Over three years, average revenue per buyer increases by up to 25%
As one Digital Channel Manager for a Consumer Goods company states, “We track whether customers buy a wider variety of products beyond their usual order. We found that customers who use our digital commerce tools buy a wider variety of products compared to customers who don’t”.
Drive B2B commerce productivity and improve operational efficiency
One of the key priorities for both B2B and B2C organisations in the current landscape is maximising the talents of the workforce. Reports show that 70% of business leaders spend one to three hours a day on mundane tasks, so finding a way to free up the workforce to focus on more impactful work is crucial.
Automation is the most effective way to optimise agent capacity, especially since customers prefer self-service options for routine orders and reordering. Companies that don’t offer self-service options are not only leaving revenue on the table by not maximising the talent of their agents; they’re not meeting buyer expectations for flexibility, transparency and control. In fact, the Forrester report shows that process automation can yield up to two additional hours per day per agent – a savings that would lead to more than $1.5 million over three years. Additionally, self-service options lead to improved CX, as buyers can complete orders in 50-70% less time.
“They (reps) can serve 2x to 3x more customers, and as a result, it very effectively compresses cost,” says one CEO of a medical device manufacturing organisation. “Now the average rep can spend more time strategically penetrating with new products and new services”.
Tech stack consolidation
B2B organisations using legacy tools are likely lacking the flexibility needed to keep up with today’s buyer, who expects an integrated journey. Additionally, B2B players with legacy tools have to manage complex system integrations, synchronise batch data and rely on IT to maintain the systems – all while dealing with a fragmented view of the buyer. It’s no wonder, then, that many B2B businesses are consolidating their tech stack to free up sales departments, cut IT costs and get a 360° view of the customer. Here is a closer look at the numbers from the Forrester report.
- Simplifying their technology stack can save organisations 702 hours of manual reporting efforts, equal to nearly $802,000 in savings over a three-year period
- The ‘clicks, not code’ approach of Salesforce’s B2B Commerce platform enables business user ownership, empowering Sales teams and keeping long-term IT costs to a minimum
Consolidating their tech stack enables B2B players to think bigger and move faster by becoming more agile and less unwieldy. One healthcare CIO says, “We were able to simplify our technology stack by removing all of our legacy hosting, services and maintenance resources”.
Faster time to value: ROI
Building strong long-term relationships is just one of the benefits of the B2B Commerce solution. It also helps businesses build agility to pivot in the short term, and rapid improvements can lead to quick turnaround.
- Forrester reveals 278% ROI and $4.3 million in NPV (Net Present Value) over three years
- Companies see payback in less than 13 months, mainly through a rise in customer-facing agent productivity ($1.5M over three years) and increased operating profit ($3.6M)
- Deep, prebuilt integrations and out-of-the-box implementation options enable B2B commerce players to go live quickly and make changes on the fly
The ability to innovate quickly and address changing market conditions is certainly a game-changer for B2B businesses still using outdated tech and legacy systems. As one Digital Channel Manager for a Consumer Goods company put it, “Coming out with new experiences for B2B Commerce is definitely much faster than we could do before. Now we’re able to quickly implement new features that bring value to customers”.
Digital transformation in B2B commerce is here – the time to act is now
The B2B world is changing quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up with new expectations for service. By using Salesforce’s B2B Commerce to implement self-service purchasing capabilities, B2B companies can focus on what really matters – the customer.
As one B2B leader said, “The B2B portal embraces the future in a way that’s incredibly customer-friendly and intuitive, which creates a stickiness with repeat customers. And it will compress costs and increase profitability in a really exciting way”.