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The 9 Levers You Can Pull to Grow Your B2B E-Commerce Business - Part 2

Part 1: Revenue Growth

Part 2: Customer Experience Management

Part 3: Complexity Management

This is multi-part series on the 3 biggest pains each B2B organization needs to overcome and the levers they can pull to be successful selling online. You can download the corresponding e-book here.

Disruption is Upon Us

As we said in part 1, the B2B market place is ripe for innovation. Now more than ever B2B sellers capabilities are misaligned with B2B buyers expectations. If, according to Frost and Sullivan, the online B2B market actually reaches $6.7 trillion dollars by 2020 then B2B sellers can expect both more opportunity to differentiate themselves and more competition. The companies who can pull these 9 levers most effectively will position themselves to capture more market share and succeed financially. Part 1 was about revenue growth issues and the levers that can be pulled to address them. Now we turn our attention to customer experience.

Customer Experience Issues

The area of customer experience management is increasingly central to online sellers strategy but what does that practically look like? There are three levers B2B sellers can pull to improve their customer experience: simplicity, visibility and personalization.  The driving force behind simplifying the buying process is to make a B2B buyers jobs easier and in turn make you their vendor of choice.  Visibility is all about giving buyers and approves a better understanding of their business and personalization is about tailoring experiences to meet customers buying preferences.

Simplicity

Did you know that 73% of your customers want automated work flow for approvals? That's because most routine approvals (purchases that are on contract and under spending limits) distract from strategically important work. Further, 74% buyers research at least half of their purchases online. They don't want to spend time talking to a sales or support rep to get the relevant data needed to make an informed decision. At the end of the day buyers are influenced by their own preferences. If they can negotiate the best price and receive the quality of service they need online then they will undoubtedly choose to do so. Simplicity at its core is all about efficiency. Other ways buying organizations want you to simplify the customer experience include:

- Delegated user administration of catalog entitlements and filters

- Automated approval workflows

- On-boarding time and complexity

- Price management and negotiation

Visibility

The second lever available to B2B sellers is that of visibility. Visibility into what? How? To create an exceptional customer experience sellers can provide their buyers more visibility into both their existing entitlements and buyer habits. There is dependency on simplifying the buyer experience involved in pulling this lever but there are big wins to be had simply by providing a single view of product and account data across channels in a single location.

  • 64% of buyers have said that they think visibility into all buyer activity across channels is important or very important.
  • 62% of those same buyers have said that a unified view of account history across channels is important or very important.

The bottom line is that visibility build awareness and awareness makes the decision making process easier. Visibility into account activity also speeds up the buying process because it gives the buyer confidence they have all the relevant information to make the purchase.

Personalization

Personalization is perhaps the biggest lever B2B sellers have to create a differentiated customer experience. Personalizing to the way a buyer works touches on many of the other levers we have already discussed. The best B2B sellers can  rise to the top of the market on by pulling this lever because it fulfills requests that buyers have already said are important to them:

- 64% of buyers want personalized cross-sells and substitutions

- 68% of buyers want flexible price lists and catalogs for different users

- 73% of buyers want personalized approval workflow, meaning unique to their needs.

Of course, personalization in the B2B context is quite different than in B2C. The key message here is to tailor the buying and research process to your buyers preferences. 

Take the Wheel

B2B sellers have a difficult job. Experiences outside of work continue to change and those experiences get brought into the workplace. That doesn't have to be problem. If you are interested in learning more about how you can grow your business online check out our home page here or 

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