In recent years, business-to-business marketing and sales have changed rapidly as the digitization of buyers has changed how they research and purchase products and services.
The digitalization of supply chains and procurement has enabled buyers to analyze and collect more data.
Google has become the primary tool of research for procurement professionals. It provides a wealthier and more diverse range of information about products and suppliers.
There is an information revolution happening at every level of the B2B marketplace. Buyers are not tolerant of systems or processes limiting their information access. They want detailed and relevant information at their fingertips, without having to deal with the gatekeepers of the seller’s sales department. This is true for buyers of all sizes, from small businesses to large corporations.
What can B2B providers do to ensure buyers get the information they want?
E-Commerce Is No Longer Optional
Until recently, B2B vendors could count on prospective buyers to call them early in the selection process. Buyers are much more likely to contact a seller’s sales department when they have already gotten further into the purchasing funnel. They may want to speak to a seller’s salesperson at some point. However, the initial selection of vendors is based on research conducted independently and informed by online information about a company or product.
When buyers cannot find enough information online, they do not contact the vendor’s sales team but drop them from their consideration. This is most likely to be the case in highly competitive industries.
If several suppliers are acceptable, the ones that offer the most helpful information online have a better chance of being selected.
E-commerce may be the best way to ensure access to adequate information online. Modern ecommerce applications present products and services in rich detail, especially on the aspects that matter most to buyers. This includes product specifications and pricing. These are essentially content management systems designed for sales, which makes them more effective in presenting information than less sophisticated catalogs or listing solutions.
Also, e-commerce applications include features for B2B. Magento and WooCommerce, which are more geared towards consumer retail, can be enhanced by extensions and plugins to make them B2B-friendly. Enterprise B2B platforms like IBM Websphere, Oracle’s Netsuite SuiteCommerce, and others are equipped with bulk ordering, customer-specific catalogs, and business-to-business selling features.
Search engine optimization is dependent on e-commerce. Google is the first place most business buyers go to begin their research. It’s not surprising that Google is the first place people go to do research. Because so many business buyers rely on Google to find relevant products, sellers who don’t rank highly are at a disadvantage compared to their competitors. Your buyers may not know about your products if they don’t appear prominently on Google searches.