Once limited by geography and reach, businesses in the 21st century know no bounds when it comes to growth, thanks to the increasing adoption of technology. The digital revolution has ushered in an era of innovation and unprecedented business growth. The B2B industry is a clear beneficiary of technological advancements, experiencing improved revenue and higher customer satisfaction than ever before as a result of digital commerce solutions.
As business buyers increasingly prefer self-service offerings, digital channels become even more integral for B2B players to drive continuous customer engagement. According to a recent Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud (CloudCraze) report, 89% of B2B decision-makers attribute expected business growth to investment in digital commerce. Moreover, the study indicates that B2B organizations that have invested in digital channels are already reaping the benefits. Some key findings of the study are below:
- Digital is no longer seen as a primary business channel
- B2B leaders attribute solid business growth to digital commerce initiatives
- Evolving customer expectations are further driving digital transformation
- B2B leaders experience streamlined customer needs with digital commerce
Digital is fueling B2B growth
B2B organizations today are fast recognizing the value of employing digital channels to offer customers a personalized and responsive experience, which ultimately translates to retention and repeat purchases. Digital commerce, with its complex ordering features, results in cost savings and offers customers an omnichannel, streamlined buying experience. Increasingly, businesses are recognizing its benefits in customer acquisition, up-selling, and self-service. More and more B2B businesses are now selling their full line of products online, some releasing online-only product lines.
Increased access to self-service capabilities allows business buyers to place orders at their own convenience. Not only does this offer immense freedom, but it also reduces servicing costs for low-volume customers. Self-service offerings also free up sales and service executives so they can spend more time building customer relationships, cross-selling and upselling products. Ultimately, this results in reduced transaction costs and improved profits.
Digital also has a clear value addition in terms of order automation, tailored offerings, contract pricing, and a truly omnichannel experience. Moreover, B2B players can drive greater customer engagement beyond enabling online orders. They can do so through personalized product recommendations, cross-selling, relevant promotions, etc., not just retaining customers but also acquiring new ones.
Redefining the sales and service landscape
Since digital commerce platforms offer self-service capabilities, businesses expect reduced service costs as demand for sales staff reduces. However, quite the opposite happens sometimes with sales teams growing in tandem with digital. The fact is, implementing an effective digital program necessitates sophisticated roles for problem-solving and servicing customers. When B2B players implement digital platforms, the sales staff’s focus often shifts to consulting and advising customers instead of simply taking orders.
Service teams also experience new responsibilities – improving the digital commerce experience and working with high-volume customers, for example. Such transformations generate great value for businesses; when sales and service executives move from a transactional role to an advisory role, they offer better guidance to customers through their shopping journey. This, in turn, opens up new opportunities for retention, upselling, and cross-selling.
Getting digital right
Clearly, digital has a lot to offer to the B2B sector. The caveat is, businesses must invest in the right digital commerce platforms to experience actual growth and to scale quickly. The right platform should, therefore, be flexible, scalable, and agile, something that legacy commerce systems fail to offer. They also fail to provide any real insight into customer data. Using a SaaS-based system can especially help B2B players keep up with the changing market.
The future of digital in B2B looks bright
B2B organizations are fast realizing the wisdom in making a digital transformation for business success. This is clear from a growing trend of C-suite executives owning and strongly influencing digital commerce programs. When top executives are involved, it is hard to deny the B2B sector’s commitment to digital commerce.
Businesses are also making the association between a scalable digital platform and improved customer satisfaction. Sophisticated digital platforms simplify customers’ lives with easy browsing and online ordering, reduced order errors, and automated processes. B2B businesses that embrace digital will be quick to see growth and enhanced customer engagement. As the digital commerce landscape matures, B2B players will need to invest in modern solutions that offer fast speed-to-market and flexibility that drives customer engagement.