Digital technology is revolutionising B2B sales and marketing, and early digital adopters are significantly outpacing their competitors. Recent research by McKinsey & Co. found that B2B companies that have invested in and mastered a “targeted set of digital capabilities and approaches” are generating 8 percent more shareholder returns and a revenue compound annual growth rate that is five times greater than other companies in their field.
With results such as the aforementioned, why are so many B2B companies digitally immature? While early adopters are embracing online marketplaces, most B2B companies are still largely stuck in an offline or digitally immature selling mode, with some not even offering an option to buy through their website, much less providing trading and auction mechanisms.
If the majority of B2B providers aren’t underestimating the importance of digital sales and the potential of online marketplaces to raise revenue, why aren’t more of them making the transformation to digitally-focused sales? Why is B2B still in an early-adopter stage?
All too often, the answer relates to internal issues and misperceptions, such as a belief by company leaders that the business has already digitally transformed because it has taken steps to improve back-office processes with digital tools and/or invested in internal IT infrastructure improvements. Other common hindrances include:
- Concerns about the short-term cost of making a change (without regard to the impressive ROI possible).
- A lack of time, resources, or authority by those who realise the opportunities presented by digitisation.
- Concerns about integration with existing IT infrastructure and systems (e.g., CRM, accounting, inventory management, marketing automation).
- A complacent comfort with existing sales technology solutions, without looking for more advanced options.
- A belief that switching to new digital solutions will be time-consuming and take an unacceptably long time.
Whether you are setting up your first online B2B marketplace, or enhancing an existing solution, you should consider asking some of the following questions:
- How much more market penetration could you achieve with an online marketplace? (The opportunity).
- Can sales inefficiencies can be corrected or improved via an online marketplace?
- What are the priorities, needs, and interests of your market players?
- What customer-experience improvements do you need to make? How can you enhance the user’s experience?
- Are you making full use of customer data, and if not, what data do you need to capture and analyse?
If you are interested in obtaining a comprehensive list of questions or would like to learn how early adopters of online marketplaces significantly outpace their competitors, read our latest white paper: ‘The Digital Transformation of B2B Marketplaces: Making the Switch’.
B2B sales digitisation is an inevitability, and early adopters of online B2B marketplaces are gaining a distinct competitive advantage by making it easier for customers to buy, increasing price transparency, and using data to provide targeted, personalised sales offers and recommendations that increase sales, maximise prices, and provide B2B buyers with the consumer-like buying experience they are demanding.
Given the complexities of B2B markets and the technical challenges of online marketplaces, many companies can benefit from expert third-party support such as Perfect Channel provides. Please contact us if you would like to learn how our Perfect Exchange and Perfect Insight products (used separately or bundled together) can make the customer experience easy, frictionless, and anticipative, while increasing conversions and maximizing pricing for the marketplace.
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