Paperwork, multiple phone numbers for different services, and unique business hours: For B2B customers, these classic forms of collaboration with suppliers have become tiresome. Today, they have entirely different needs, and companies need to understand that.
It is necessary to see your customers through different eyes to find out how they want to interact with your company. If it is digital, put your focus on expanding digital channels. However:
"In Germany last year, 50% of our orders came through fax machines. If you're a 55/60 year old procurement professional who's been doing this all his life, you just have your own processes for certain procurement requests. Then it may not be in your best interest to change that process!" says Daniel Tholander, director of commercial excellence at Rockwool.
But generational change is coming. Already today, many procurement professionals want to be able to buy consumables, spare parts and other products online, rather than always having to rely on the availability of a sales representative.
B2B customers want a personalized shopping experience
Personalization is a key component of a future-ready user experience. It can increase customer retention, loyalty to your company, and sales.
Quick and easy access to installation guides, tutorials, contacts should be available around the clock, as should information on the availability of spare parts and consumables.
B2B personalization needs to be sophisticated. It is unlikely that a B2B customer will spontaneously go through a procurement process. Instead, B2B personalization must create value and efficiency for the user. To be precise, B2B personalization must focus on providing efficiency to customers.
B2B customers want to interact with you at all times
The relationship between your customers and your company changes over time. Your customers interact with you when they place orders, talk to sales reps, learn about new products, search for documentation, or ask for quotes.
All of these processes can be brought together at one point to make the interaction between you and your customers more transparent. If customers are having trouble placing an order, finding a document or contact information, they are increasingly likely to switch to your competitors.
B2B customers want digital twins of their machines
Customers interact with your products, creating a unique product history.
Examples include generating data when a machine is used, configuring service agreements that can be modified later, and changing accessories through upgrading or repair. In a customer portal, the product can be digitally mirrored, giving the customer access to a detailed product history (purchase date, specification, repairs, service agreements, etc.). As a supplier, you can use the e-commerce platform to offer additional services, such as (predictive) product maintenance.
B2B customers want efficiency
Customers love efficiency. They want the buying process to be as efficient as possible. They benefit from convenient search options and smooth and reliable online booking of services (e.g. maintenance).
Self-services and easy access to information reduce the customer's administrative burden and allow them to maintain their existing internal processes. B2B buyers no longer want to be dependent on your company's sales schedule. Positive online experiences are valuable because customers expect seamless service 24/7.
How can you give your customers what they really want? We'll tell you in our interactive whitepaper "Boost your online sales by putting our B2B customers first". Download it now!