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Unleashing the Potential of a B2B eCommerce Platform and a Matrixed Selling Approach in B2B Sales
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Compared to a decade ago, the B2B sales landscape has dramatically changed and many industries are feeling the heat. Physical presence has transformed to digital, and many businesses are closely examining their own online presence and systems in addition to capabilities of competitors and future business partners. Traditionally, the B2B procurement process involved a sales representative and a key point of contact. Now, as validated by Frost & Sullivan research across verticals such as healthcare and automotive, groups and committees are formed to carry out the procurement process. The impact of this change in stakeholders of a B2B transaction is huge, but how will it affect the process itself? With more contacts and more steps in the process, B2B sales cycles are lengthened and take an average of 6 to 12 months to close one deal. Additionally, B2B interactions have become more complex with multiple touch points and platforms that include email, Web sites, and forums across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Given this complex web of interactions, how can these B2B businesses improve their sales strategies to shorten the cycle, maintain good relationships with their customers, and harness the power of a digital platform?The following market insight delves deep into the battlefield of B2B sales. This piece examines the recent changes that spurred a value analysis committee (VAC) in B2B healthcare sales and a Group of Four as the decision makers for the automotive supplier industry. It will touch on how these stakeholders changed the B2B sales procurement process and what it will now take for a sales representative to build and maintain a healthy business relationship with their customer. This insight will also reveal the power of not only interacting with customers online but constructing a cohesive and streamlined interaction within a B2B eCommerce Web site. The advantages of eCommerce cannot be ignored, as 93% of B2B buyers search online before buying the product; 73% of B2B buyers search for product pricing information; 91% of B2B buyers’ searches are carried out on a mobile device; and 1 in 4 B2B buyers bought the product online through a mobile device. Though a B2B eCommerce Web site is a powerful tool, it is difficult to construct without the right solution and support. Investing in a B2B eCommerce platform will ultimately lead to a business’ “adapt or die” fate because much of the competition fades out or gains strength with B2B eCommerce platforms in their arsenal. In the battlefield of B2B sales, businesses that will thrive are those that will tap into the value proposition that B2B eCommerce platforms provide—especially when deployed as part of a cohesive matrix selling approach.
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