The ever-evolving landscape of B2B commerce holds promise of growth and innovation. Despite the momentum of progress, persistent myths have blurred the path to B2B e-commerce adoption. It is time to embrace the opportunities ahead: by addressing prominent beliefs we’ve heard from clients again and again that hinder companies to navigate their way towards the digital future – and to actually drive their sales.
“E-commerce may work for other B2B companies, but our unique product portfolio, distinct customer needs, and complicated procurement processes set us apart.”
The assumption that the complexity of a company’s product line and sourcing practices blocks them from the digital revolution. This thinking underestimates the adaptability of e-commerce and the preferences of B2B buyers. As McKinsey has researched, 32% of B2B buyers find e-commerce channels more effective for sourcing, compared to 23% who prefer face to face interactions. It’s a myth that customers shy away from digital channels. Moreover, the notion that certain products are unsuitable for online platforms is simply overrated.
“E-commerce is only suitable for shopping carts with high numbers of low-priced products or repeat purchases.”
Look at the numbers again: A staggering 35% of B2B buyers are willing to make significant purchases over $0.5 million without prior face to face contact, even for an initial purchase in a new product or service category, signaling a shift toward using e-commerce for more complex transactions.
“Our sales team will torpedo e-commerce by arguing that B2B success depends solely on interpersonal interactions.”
This belief is a serious misconception – one that equates e-commerce with a replacement for traditional sales teams. In truth, the digital sphere and human interaction need not be adversaries, they are allies enhancing each other. The merger of e-commerce and sales is not a threat, but a synergy that enriches the customer experience and drives business growth. Fostering a symbiotic relationship between e-commerce and sales teams is therefore key.
By Data-driven Synergy: e-commerce platforms provide a goldmine of data illuminating customer behavior patterns, preferences, and pain points. Leveraging these insights gives the sales team an edge in personalising their approach and anticipating customer needs.
By a unified intelligence hub: Seamless integration of e-commerce with CRM, ERP, and PIM/DAM systems empowers the sales team with real-time data, simplifying the process of understanding customer history, preferences, and interactions.
By Empowered Consultation: Rather than encroaching on the sales team’s territory, e-commerce streamlines administrative processes, enabling sales professionals to spend more time on strategic consulting. The rich relationship they’ve cultivated with customers becomes an invaluable asset in understanding their nuanced needs.
Start to think holistically
E-commerce goes beyond the transactional realm to encompass the entire buyer journey. Collaboration across product management, marketing, sales, support, and after-sales, will redefine customer engagement.
The integration of CRM, ERP, and PIM is critical to ensure a harmonious interplay of systems. Earlier investments in adaptable architectures such as MACH architectures are paying off in the long run.
Our experts offer a guiding hand to personalise B2B e-commerce solutions propelling your business into the digital future.