If you don’t think the Amazon effect includes B2B customer experience, think again.
Let’s say you’re a manufacturing company with all the complexities of sales, channels, services. Or perhaps a wholesale distribution or consumer product company dealing with logistics and pricing.
Are you still relying on your sales and account management teams to drive revenue through sales relationships? Perhaps your products are very specialized, demanding complex quotes and sales commissions.
Today, even the most traditional business practices in your industry are being inexorably pulled into the digital landscape.
The Amazon effect: e-commerce moves into the B2B customer landscape
How does the digital world affect your B2B business and customers?
Every customer behind every deal is also a consumer using Amazon or similar platforms. Their personal digital interactions have changed expectations of how business should work.
This doesn’t mean point-and-click to buy and deliver at home is applicable to you, or that Instagram is your social channel. However, translating the changes to the business landscape and transforming your customer experience can help you discover new business models to unlock additional revenue.
What if you could become the Amazon of your industry?
3 forces defining transformation in the B2B industry
Search: Every lead or prospect begins with search – not on your website or RFP – but some external source, often via different devices, making your presence on external industry sites very important.
All the industry reports and lists used today are being digitized, if they haven’t been already. You don’t even control the initial prospect, because when customers land on your site, they’re already half-way along the sales and discovery process. They just need to be able to FIND what they are looking for – quickly. This means your product catalog should be easily accessible, and any questions about the products should be handled immediately, and via a detailed FAQ section.
Speed: Customers expect a fast response in an instant gratification world. Remember, the average millennial attention span is only 10 seconds! Chatbots can handle any customer query, at any time, on a global scale. They can help capture the initial interest and ensure that leads generated from your digital properties reach sales teams as soon as possible. The long list of leads won’t just automatically be sent over to sales – they’re classified, ranked, scored leads – that tell sales which deals to focus on. Sophisticated chatbots can process orders or addresses service-related queries on complex products. The promptness of your response can go a long way towards closing your deal in a short time.
Transparency: Today you can track your pizza delivery, from where the driver is, to what time it will reach your door. In a B2B world, visibility along the entire process is critical to customers and their complex bill of materials, including information on product availability, pricing, delivery and service.
The digital transformation of the supply chain that allowed companies to optimize cost and efficiency can also be used to pull information on pricing, contracts, product catalogs, or inventory for customers in real-time. This connects the supply chain to the demand chain, dramatically changing the B2B customer experience.
With the advent of blockchain technology, products can be tracked almost like that pizza order! Now you can let your wholesaler or distributor know which farm harvested the produce and when. The steel or components for manufacturing can be tracked to the truck on which it was loaded and when it will be delivered.
B2B + B2C = B2B2C (the Amazon effect)
While the B2C industry is competing for consumer’s attention and eyeballs, the B2B industry needs to focus on helping customers keep their eye on the ball.
In a globally connected digital supply chain, empowering your customers with reliable, real-time information and service is a valuable currency. If that information is delivered conveniently with chatbots or mobile apps, then you have reached the land where B2B meets Amazon.