How to Drive Your B2B Success with a bag of Tricks…
…Spryker has the ace up its Sleeve
B2B e-commerce is growing across industries in all sectors at 15 percent per annum from 2015 to 2019 – at least that is what the latest available figures of the Arthur D. Little consultancy from early 2017 say. The question of whether this has already settled for all B2B retailers should be answered with a “yes”, but the figures from the study say something else, because this figure for growth in e-commerce is definitely below average. So, what are most retailers doing wrong?
If B2B retailers had three wishes, they would probably be the following:
First: B2B e-commerce should work like B2C trade.
Second: A small customer base consisting of just a few major clients should be enough for success.
Third: A good sales force should still be a guarantor of firm customer loyalty.
Here is the bad news: Digitalization is not a fairy-tale book and magic does not exist.
The good news: Even though Spryker cannot do magic, we have an ace up our sleeve – our new B2B suite – and we can help you transform and optimize these three aspects.
B2B Works Differently Than B2C
B2B and B2C businesses obviously have things in common, such as price and quality being arguments for the purchase decision. But in B2B it takes more to stabilize customer loyalty in the long term. Here, too, customer satisfaction is a crucial aspect, but unlike the B2C counterparts, it depends less on the emotional experience for trading partners, and more on a convenient experience.
“This is why great B2B online shops and an app for sales that replaces the order block are no longer enough in B2B. Even in B2C it is difficult to identify the truly customer-centric companies among the established players in the market, and institutional customer orientation is even rarer in B2B”
– Lennart Paul, Owner, Founder & Editor of warenausgang.com, Etribes Partner
Regardless of the industry, customer orientation is at least as important in B2B trade as it is in B2C business, and it goes beyond an app. Retailers must think beyond the classic ordering processes with devices that include a maximum of desktop and mobile.
Even Large Customers are not as Loyal as you Think
On the one hand, some feel scarcely vulnerable to new online portals due to an already completely personalized sales force.
This personalization is often simply equated with customized price lists for the same offer and digitalization is taken to be a synonym for PDF product catalogs. Companies with a few very large customers consider their offer to be incomparable and see themselves not as retailers, but as “solution providers”. If you then ask their customers if they would be interested in alternatives that are more cost-effective, efficient, or convenient, then the customer previously described as loyal will no longer be so loyal.
The Role of Sales Representatives has to Change.
According to a study by Forrester Research (2017), around three quarters of B2B buyers stated that they find it more convenient to purchase via the internet than via a supplier’s sales representative. This has a significant influence on the purchase decision.
This shows that new, digital models with data and technology at the heart of their trading seem far superior to the old-school approaches to sales and procurement.
The frequently discussed personal contact between suppliers and customers, held up by established providers as the last bastion, is also increasingly gaining ground in digital business models. But these companies do not rely purely on the sales talent and self-motivation of employees, they also support them with true CRM processes, data-based marketing campaigns or advanced analytics. The digital customer touchpoints of new digital companies in B2B are getting better day by day, whether they are desktop, smartphone, or IoT applications.
“We can already see that the traffic on our digital touchpoints is significantly increasing. However, I do not believe that sales representatives and personal contact are becoming less important. However, the work of the sales reps will change: In future, they will be much more involved in consulting. This means they will identify potential customer problems before the customers do.”
– Thomas Kühne, Director of Corporate Digital Business Development, Lekkerland
The Ace Up The Sleeve: The Spryker B2B Suite
In an extended feature set of the Spryker B2B suite, we provide lots of new functionalities for the complex B2B environment and a B2B platform that can cope in the fast-paced market dynamics today and in the future. Furthermore, various new pricing and product features, rights management for individual company structures, and even the existing functionalities can be more closely tailored to each B2B company.
Want To Find Out More?
In our white paper “Transformers – The Era of Digital B2B E-Commerce Starts Here”, you can find:
- Exciting case studies from different industries
- The biggest players and other factors influencing the B2B market
- Digital transformation step by step – outlined by digital agency Friends of C.
We will also be glad to help you personally! Just contact us here: