In case you missed the memo, Business-to-Business, also know as B2B refers to commerce between two businesses rather than to commerce between a business. Sort of like Industrial Credit Services and an individual consumer. Business transactions at the wholesale level are most times business-to-business. Retail transactions are usually business-to-consumer or B2C. Of course, the smart business person will target the customer, not the size of the transaction. While many of the business-to-business transactions will often involve high prices and volume, they can also happen on a smaller scale when a business sells its products or services to another small business. The hallmark of a business-to-business commerce then, is the participant – ergo, two businesses rather than a business and a consumer.
Websites And The Internet – Are They The New Kings Of The Hill?
Forrester had a recent forecast for businesses like Industrial Credit Services that they should take a close look at. They forecast that over one million B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service ecommerce by the end of the year 2020.which is a rather broad statement as well as an interesting thought since the year 2020 is closing in. Yes, 2020 may be in the future, but preparation should be the keyword here. So, why is this possible happening worth noting? Well, for one reason, B2B buyers now favor do-it-itself online options researching and buying products and services and are demanding that B2B sellers fully enable those digital paths to purchase. On the other hand,, Industrial Credit Services has noted that too many of B2B companies today still insist that customers of B2B interact with sales people in order to complete a purchase.
Selling Is Different With Business-to-Business
It should be clear by now that selling to a business is a lot different from selling to another individual consumer. Here is the difference:
- Selling can, and often does, require participating in a “bidding” process by responding to a purchase’s request for proposals.
- The decision making process on a purchase can take days, weeks, or even months depending on the size order.
- Purchasing decisions are usually made by committees.
- The dollar value of goods or services sold is much higher than on the consumer or retail level.
B2B companies that want to stay ahead of the curve are going to have to reshape their channel sales strategies and overall re-think the role of their salespeople doing three things:
- Expand the role of the self-service eCommerce. Frankly there is no doubt about it, that the clouds are forming and jury is no longer out and almost 80 percent of B2B buyers have seen the writing on the wall and now say that buying from a website is a whole lot more convenient than buying from a sales rep. Taking it a bit further, upwards of 93 percent say they prefer online service rather than from a salesperson. when they have decided what to buy. Ergo, the bottom line here, from the perspective of companies like Industrial Credit Services, is that B2B companies who are still waiting and thinking about flipping a coin to create self-service eCommerce websites, may risk losing share to pure plays and Omni channel competitors.
- Forrester also believes that these days B2B buyers fall into several distinct quadrants depending on the product or service they are seeking. For certain common scenarios are now self-service. ECommerce websites can better serve B2B buyers on a more effectively level than the salesperson ever could.
- From the perspective of Forrester, digital channels are the name of the game and are here to stay. And both B2B buyers and company-internal sales professionals like Industrial Credit Services are using them to complete transactions. Yet, to be successful they must create websites that network B2B buyers that are researching online with professional call centers, inside sales agents, field professional, as well as their own internal sites.
Special Note: Readers of this article should know or be aware that Business-to-Business does not exclude Business-to-Consumer. In other words a bead manufacturer who sells a product in bulk to a jewelry manufacturer might still package them in smaller quantities and sell to a craft store in a local community.