According to Forrester, 17% of all B2B sales will be conducted via an eCommerce platform in just three years time. Primarily, this trend is being driven by customers with a desire to self-serve and transact when it suits them. B2B sales teams need to recognise this need or risk becoming irrelevant.
First came eSignatures, then came eCommerce
For years, B2B sales channels have used tools such as PandaDoc to speed up the contracting process. These tools allow you to upload a document and then get legally binding eSignatures.
A large number of B2B transactions involve complex negotiations and solutions architecture. There are also many that may have initial negotiations on pricing, payment terms and value added services. But instead of having to constantly request eSignatures, eCommerce makes the purchase process far simpler.
Price books and approval processes can be built into eCommerce platforms, which can empower the end user to self-serve once the master services agreement has been signed.
eCommerce should be seen as a tool for a channel, not a channel itself
For too long, companies have thought of eCommerce as a channel that competes with its other channels. That outdated way of thinking needs to change. Every channel should have a digital transformation strategy in place that enables their customers to transact online.
The Sales Rep has an important role to play
One of the biggest fears of a B2B sales rep is that this trend is going to put them out of a job. This simply isn’t true. Their role is even more important now, because where before they were simply taking orders and doing administration, today they are even more involved in the process.
The role is becoming more consultative and they’ll have more time to help their customers succeed, instead of being desk-bound and processing order forms.
Live Chat has an important role to play as an effective B2B eCommerce solution as it provides an additional means of communication with Account Managers.
If you want to chat about eCommerce for B2B, or a company with multiple sales channels, reach out here.