As small businesses everywhere continue to navigate through these challenging and shifting times, it is beginning to look like it will be the B2B companies that may face the largest hurdles. As the ever shifting consumer demand reveals new directions, so, too, must B2B companies begin to pivot to make their brands stronger and more durable for the long run. In some recently released research done by FinancesOnline, it seems that getting a handle on strengthening B2B brands may be more involved than first thought. The following is taken directly from that published research:
- The effects of the coronavirus pandemic were immediately felt among B2B industries. In general, 47% of them saw budget-related difficulties, including freezes on budgets and purchases. When asked which weak areas have the pandemic exposed, 56% of B2B companies pointed at technology infrastructure.
- In a B2B trends report, it was stated that top B2B companies combine both human and digital interactions into one hybrid customer journey. Additionally, companies with the best digital capabilities generated an 18% total return to shareholders and even reduced their costs by 40 to 60% (McKinsey).
- B2B companies would have to adopt various digital technologies. In fact, 66% of sales leaders rate digital channels for interaction to be more important. On the other hand, only 34% held traditional sales interactions to be more important (McKinsey, 2020). And this shift, as has been previously noted, is also reflected in the changes in the behaviors of customers.
- Of course, to support those changes and to ensure business continuity, companies had to embrace remote work. Due to lockdowns and quarantines, B2B sellers had to change their tactics. And they adapted rather quickly: by April 2020, approximately 90% were videoconferencing or were working via phone.
- A whopping 76% of B2B buyers find it helpful to speak to someone in person or on the phone when they want to purchase a completely new product or service. Unsurprisingly, 52% of buyers want to speak with someone when they are in the process of buying a previously purchased offering but with a different set of specifications.
- Only 15% want to speak in person when they want to buy the same service or product. Lastly, only 4% of buyers prefer to always communicate digitally.Another one of the B2B trends marketing professionals shouldn’t ignore is that 46% of buyers would purchase from a supplier’s website when given the option, and if the service was efficient (McKinsey). This is a great opportunity as only 10% of B2B buyers purchase online. B2B businesses should capitalize on this. However, this is only just a part of more general trends eCommerce sellers should consider.
- Firstly, B2B buyers have their online B2C buying experiences as well. Their expectations from their B2C experiences have spilled over to the former. Now, whether it is online or offline, B2B buyers want an immediate response. They want to find and use information effortlessly.
- 73% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own. This includes customizing products or service packages not just technical issues. Of course, self-service portals and knowledge bases can help out with this.Also, another way to help them with this is to start using chatbots for online customer service like other companies. This can work well together with self-service portals. Again, hybrid chat can add a personalized touch to this customer service aspect. Also, another way to help them with this is to start using chatbots for online customer service like other companies. This can work well together with self-service portals. Again, hybrid chat can add a personalized touch to this customer service aspect.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer