Building strong, long-lasting relationships with customers and trading partners is high on the strategic agenda for most companies selling in b2b markets. It’s a priority that’s embedded into practices across the business, and especially in ecommerce processes where capabilities have now moved beyond automated ordering systems to encompass the management of more complex, higher value transactions. So how are b2b companies optimising this approach to deliver increased revenues?
Many b2b businesses are enriching the buying process by adopting solutions that automate the high levels of personalisation required for effective b2b selling. From simplifying the navigation of large product catalogues and accommodating the need for different product configurations, to enabling access to individual customer purchasing terms, discounts, pricing, and promotions. This tailored approach helps customers save time and ensures they receive information in a more convenient and relevant way.
Business-to-business sellers are also focusing on reducing the complexity of customer interactions and transactions. The easier it is for a buyer to engage and buy, the better the customer experience and the more likely they are to complete an order. There are often online opportunities for sellers to capture data about customers or prospects that can be used to personalise messages and product promotions – for example completing questionnaires in order to access gated content or special offers. In our experience however, response rates are higher and interactions more effective when visitors only have to provide a minimal amount of information to be rewarded.
Many b2b ecommerce companies have the capability to allow customers to access information such as their account information, purchase history and product preferences. But with the right ecommerce system, b2b sellers have the chance to add even more value to customer relationships by providing additional information to make their customers’ jobs easier. For example, as well as the ability to see real-time inventories and delivery lead times, providing access to resources such as maintenance and service records, contract and correspondence history, and product roadmaps can be a huge benefit for b2b customers.
Today’s digital business world never stands still and b2b companies must continually evolve their product offering and the way in which they interact with their customers in order to attract new business, maximise margin and maintain competitive advantage. One way that businesses are attracting and nurturing new customers is by tailoring an introductory, entry-level offer to prospects that utilises a small (higher margin) portion of the product portfolio. Once customers are on board, they are targeted with product extensions, upgrades or renewals that expand on the initial offer. The speed and simplicity of these additional transactions is a benefit to both seller and buyer and supports increased customer loyalty.