The Covid-19 pandemic has changed B2B buying habits dramatically, with more interactions than ever before taking place digitally instead of face-to-face. Manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors have had to race to catch up with the seamless online buying experience their customers experience in the B2C world.
Here are 5 ways B2B sales have changed during Covid and some suggestions on what businesses need to do to stay ahead.
Covid has shattered the normal sales channels of B2B. This means a clunky static website with an endless catalogue of goods marks a quick race to the bottom in the new digital post pandemic world. Just having an ecommerce presence, however, is not enough. Customer experience needs to be central to the entire online experience, with self-service at the heart. If you have an ecommerce channel it needs to offer a seamless and convenient shopping experience for your customers and should be integrated with all of your sales channels.
Post Covid customers have become used to ordering online in all aspects of their lives, which means these same people, as B2B customers, also expect speed. The ordering process needs to be quick and seamless, not long and slow. It should be easy for customers to find products, prices and information, navigate the site and make a purchase. Any technical glitches on the company website need to be ironed out.
Research from McKinsey shows that there’s a 2x increased likelihood of companies that provide an outstanding digital experience being chosen as the primary supplier. This means offering customers an intuitive digital experience channels with a slick ecommerce solution. Not just on your website, but on any other digital channels you use (such as apps).
With a world class customer online experience which is intuitive, responsive and easy to use, you improve customer satisfaction, enhance loyalty and increase sales over the longer-term.
B2B customers still expect the same expertise they enjoyed from face-to-face sales reps, but this expertise also needs to be migrated online. Research from McKinsey [https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/how-b2b-sales-have-changed-during-covid-19] shows that live chat is rated as the top channel for researching suppliers. If your expertise hasn’t been migrated into live chat you are missing out on potential sales.
Although the digital experience is everything, it will never entirely replace the human touch. So make sure there are still ways for your customers to receive a one-to-one experience with your sales team.
Your customers and their expectations have changed, so make sure you are re-evaluating your go to market (GTM) strategy, including your marketing plan and sales strategy. With omnichannel selling and ecommerce now playing a major part in B2B sales, these changes need to be reflected in all of your planning and evaluation.
Digital is now an essential means of doing business. B2B sales have changed during Covid 19 and the only way forwards for successful B2B organisations is to offer a world class digital ecommerce experience. Now businesses have been pushed into making transactions online, it’s likely that this will be a permanent shift, with B2B needing to continue to adapt to the new economic shift.
If you’re looking for a B2B ecommerce solution which truly understands B2B selling and integrates well with existing systems, Aspidistra can help. In addition to a full design ecommerce website, Aspidistra is offering a fast-track solution that can be up and running in two weeks and requires no capital expenditure. Contact us to find out more.
This excellent infographic from McKinsey summarises some of the points in this blog: