On being asked why they are looking to implement a B2B e-Commerce solution, 67% of the survey respondents said that they are looking for efficiency gains of the sales force and other manpower which are associated with the automation of the customer ordering process.

B2B eCommerce Before and After COVID

Yoav Kutner, Founder and CEO | Oro, Inc

Don Fluckinger, a senior news writer for TechTarget, suggested that before COVID business-to-business commerce for many companies comprised shuttling paper, faxes, and spreadsheets between sales and finance departments. Since the pandemic, those companies either moved to online ordering or planned to build tech stacks to get there. 

B2B companies and experts said this transition was well on its way before 2020. But some companies took their time migrating data and processes from manual to fully automated CRM and B2B eCommerce systems. Those that made progress before businesses temporarily shuttered in 2020 experienced growth, while those that failed to do so struggled and either went out of business or are playing catch-up now. 

Twenty-five percent of the world’s population chose to buy online in 2021. The eCommerce industry has grown 20% in the same year. In 2022, retail sales are expected to rise to 17.5% from 13.7% in 2020. Brands, manufacturers, and distributors have traditionally been slow to adopt B2B eCommerce, but this is quickly changing post COVID epidemic. 

On being asked why they are looking to implement a B2B e-Commerce solution, 67% of the survey respondents said that they are looking for efficiency gains of the sales force and other manpower which are associated with the automation of the customer ordering process. The other reason they cited is to remain competitive in their industry with the help of technology.

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The statistics below demonstrate a surge in digitalization which also comes the realization that B2B customers need ability to self-serve while demanding a human touch point. In the rush to deploy digital sales channels, it is easy to get carried away trying to create a completely self-serve model. B2B eCommerce experts point out how B2C has changed the expectations of business buyers. While true, business buyers still want some interaction with a vendor sales representative. 

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B2B sales enablement tool

When used properly, eCommerce does not replace sales representatives, rather it is a B2B sales enablement tool that empowers sales teams to do a better job. Sales enablement is the iterative process of providing your sales team with the resources they need to close more deals. These resources may include content, tools, knowledge, and information to effectively sell your product or service to customers.

Like most B2B enterprises, your products are complex. They solve problems and provide the solutions your customers need to be successful in their business. But customers don’t intuitively know this, and they may not be able to fully capture your company’s ability to drive their success from a website alone. 

In the offline world, B2B sales enablement provides the sales team the tools and information they need to keep the prospect or client engaged throughout the sales cycle. Marketing may develop brochures or sales may collect use cases for a presentation. In the past, sales enablement tools were reusable, and the sales reps used them in conjunction with face-to-face meetings and phone conversations. 

 

A new perspective as COVID abates 

After COVID started to abate personal interactions became important again but eCommerce persisted. Distribution and manufacturing leaders know the importance of B2B. It is never a one size fits all solution and requires the same human touch point in selecting platforms and building IT infrastructures. IT is so important to adopt not just the platform but the ecosystem that comes with it - look at  the relationship with parts and customers. Solutions will fail if treated like digits rather than an ongoing business relationship. Ultimately a decade of B2B experience is the key to a team who understands where the land mines are located and how to avoid them. 




 

About Yoav Kutner

Yoav Kutner is the Founder and CEO of Oro, Inc. Prior to founding Oro and building OroCommerce, OroCRM, and OroPlatform products, he was the CTO and Co-Founder of Magento, where he led product and technology development for all Magento offerings from inception until after its acquisition by eBay, Inc. in 2011. Yoav is a proven product visionary in the business application market. Yoav received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from UCLA.

 

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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