5 Lessons B2B Companies Can Learn from Consumer Markets

The changing B2B space

First up, it’s important to understand what the B2B market actually is, how it works, and how it is changing. Recent research into how established B2B executives see their market is revealing in this regard.

1. Look to the data with a modern data stack

In order for any company to be successful in the B2B space, they will need to build a data collection system that is able to gather genuinely useful information from a variety of sources — ERP systems, CRMs, site and/or product analytics, digital commerce platform, among others.

  • Improve understanding of the customer — pooling all data available on different client segments will paint a better picture of those whose attention you’re trying to capture, and it will show you how each of these groups acts and reacts to different tactics.
  • Automate your actions — data availability will permit you to act quicker, in a timely manner, and it will also allow you to automate actions, interacting with the right people at the right moment.
  • Improve personalization — buyers expect tailored messages to their situation and needs (as we’ll see further on). Getting data from prospect and user interactions will help you better fine-tune and better personalize the sale experience going forward.

2. Understand B2B customers

In the past, B2B customers were seen as fundamentally different from their B2C analogs, but today’s knowledge points to a greater similarity between the two groups. When making purchasing decision, B2B buyers apply rational, objective factors, but also subjective, emotional factors, like their B2C counterparts. This means they don’t just pay attention to the objective side of the transaction (What are the costs? What are the contractual terms?, What are the implications on other departments?), but also to the subjective side of the process (Is this a simple process? Does this B2B competitive positioning align with my values?). Understanding B2B thought and decision patterns will help in building more relevant sales approaches.

3. Focus on B2B personalization

The value of personalization has long been known in B2C eCommerce markets, but it’s only recently come to be of interest in the B2B space. This could have been on account of the general perception that the online personalization tools available to the average business are targeted for use with B2C customers.

4. Harness B2B competitive analysis to optimize your buying tools

While establishing your credentials within a particular sector is very important for the B2B market, this doesn’t mean that you can’t appeal to a wide customer base. In fact, recent research indicates that there are real advantages to offering business customers self-service buying tools. These should not replace face-to-face networking, of course, but should complement it.

5. Optimize your B2B payment setup

B2B sales don’t always follow the classic flow of Add to basket à Pay, but rather involve a back and forth negotiation and fine-tuning process, with quotes, RFPs, proposals, demos and trials all thrown in the mix. To orchestrate this setup, automate it, and integrate data from it with your other business tools, you need an advanced eCommerce provider to ensure a streamlined quote-to-cash setup.

The bottom line

If you’ve made it this far, you should now have a blueprint on what it takes to simplify your B2B digital commerce and gain a competitive advantage in the market. We’ve seen the value that user data provides and the type of tech setup that will help you collect this data. Then we went over the importance of understanding your customer and why you should also stay on top of prospect and user likes, preferences, and patterns. We’ve understood the need for personalization in B2B sales, and why this approach can boost your engagement levels.

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2Checkout (now Verifone)

2Checkout (now Verifone)

2Checkout (now Verifone) is the leading all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses built to help clients drive sales growth across channels.