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Three elements of B2B online transformation


The 2009 Global CRM Leaders Study reveals that 46% of executives view delivering effective online customer experience as a biggest challenge. For many Business-to-Business (B2B) companies this mean shifting from the traditional phone/fax/e-mail channel to the Internet/web channel that delivers rich, contextual, and buyer-centric experience. This is a significant transformation as the familiar human aspect of business transactions will now be replaced by an online experience.

This post offers three elements that B2B companies should focus on for a successful online transformation.

  • Operational Automation

  • The goal of this first element is to automate all sales administration tasks by using the online channel to approve buyer registration, deliver buyer-specific online catalog, display contract-based price, and automatically enforce other contractual terms and conditions. The automation helps to reduce operational costs and relieve sales personnel from manual low value processes to focus on value selling.

  • Buyer-centric Marketing

  • A recent article “Three B2B Value-Proposition Rules That Create Preference, Not Just Parity” at MarketingProfs mentions that,

    In fact, you need to inject emotion into your messaging. Even in B2B, you have to get decision makers emotionally invested in the decision. They will justify with facts, but they will buy based on how your solution will influence their success or failure in their jobs.

    Buyer-centric marketing helps to influence B2B buyers by applying proven B2C online marketing techniques to B2B marketing. The first step includes using advertisement banners, product recommendations, and marketing promotions. Then B2B companies should develop an “ongoing dialog” with buyers by capturing triggers (e.g. page views/clicks, abandoned shop cart, or any time-based events) and respond with actions (e.g. promotional offer, customer landing page, or a mobile SMS message). This idea of nurturing an “ongoing dialog” helps to deliver a virtual salesperson experience, keep the buyers engaged with the brand, and improve sales.

  • Rich Online Experience

  • The final element is about simplifying processes, increasing customer satisfaction, and building brand loyalty by delivering personalized experiences based on buyer persona and buyer organization (e.g. tier 1, tier 2 partners). B2B e-commerce sites are leveraging Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies to deliver an intuitive shopping experience and offers tools like a mini-shopping cart and quick info pop-up to streamline the checkout process. Buyers should be able to easily compare products, add items to shopping cart, and checkout, without leaving the current page. To enable community interaction, the sites should support product ratings & reviews, forums, and blogs.

    These three elements will guide B2B companies through a successful online transformation journey, and help create streamlined business processes, improve online sales, and build brand differentiation.

    Note: The above posting is my own and don’t necessarily represent positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or other companies

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    1. IWD
      September 14, 2010 at 6:17 am

      B2B portals guarantee & generate massive amount of industrial traffic. But we need to list in the correct directory. Many B2B portals promise traffic but when it comes to real conversions they fail. So proper selection of B2B portals is a must to generate relevant traffic.

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