We all do it—avoid interacting with a salesperson until it is absolutely necessary. In fact, nearly 85% of all final B2B purchasing decisions are made before a prospect ever contacts a vendor. That dynamic, combined with the increased availability of e-commerce solutions, has led to an increasing share of B2B sales occurring through e-commerce. A Forrester Research report suggests that about one million B2B salespeople in the United States will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce by 2020. Here are some ways marketers can fight technology with technology.
B2B e-commerce is not a funnel. It’s a fire hose.
According to Forrester, the traditional B2B sales funnel is changing. Current U.S. B2B e-commerce has reached $780 billion, representing 9.3% of B2B sales. With a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 7.7%, B2B e-commerce will top $1.1 trillion by 2020, accounting for 12.1% of all B2B sales. So how does your strategy need to change to capture the greatest share of your customers’ wallets?
Enable your customers to sell themselves.
The businesses that will realize the greatest benefits are those that create the shortest path between customers and their needs. That means:
- Optimizing the research and sales paths for your most profitable customer segments
- Evaluating your SEO and SEM strategies to go beyond driving generic site visits, funneling searchers to specific actionable pages
- Prioritizing your user interface and information architecture to highlight high-value actions (search, store, add to cart, place an order, etc.) and minimizing low-value interface elements (shareholder information, about pages, etc.)
- Thinking “mobile first” when designing any e-commerce solution—more than 50% of all web traffic originates on a mobile device
- Most importantly, soliciting feedback from your users —and believing what they tell you when you do
Remember, if you can imagine a better way to sell, your competitors can too. With every new technology, change is only disruption when you are the incumbent. For everyone else, it is simply an opportunity to give your customers what they want in a faster, more efficient way.
Thinking about finding a marketing partner who can help you evolve your B2B online experience?
Since 1985, Magnani Continuum Marketing has made it easier for organizations selling in highly technical and complex markets to deliver the most effective and seamless traditional and digital brand experiences. We are more digital than traditional advertising agencies, more strategic than digital marketing shops, more creative than management consultants, and a heck of a lot easier to work with than almost all of them.