The role of digital channels for B2B companies has risen dramatically in recent years, particularly after the COVID-19 crisis began. On average, sales leaders consider digital platforms to be nearly twice as essential as they were previously. B2B sellers who did not have a digital sales process were forced to make one to remain relevant. However, online customer acquisition is a different ball game than the traditional customer sourcing approach.
Buyer demands are different online, and quality service metrics are way different from what they are offline. To cap it all off, there is no room for trial and error because there is teeming competition online. You risk losing your clients to competitors if you do not optimize digital tools to land new clients and retain the existing ones.
This article will walk you through the major pain points that B2B customers face when buying online. Then we’ll examine how you can fine-tune your digital platform to solve those problems and deliver a sterling experience to your customers.
Online B2B Customer Pain Points
Millennials and Gen Z are flooding the global workforce and becoming a major part of B2B decision-makers. These demographics have lived off technology their entire lives, so they have different expectations for online service than older generations.
According to a McKinsey survey, B2B sellers’ digital platform use has seen its sharpest increase since 2019. B2B buyers also strongly prefer self-service when making a purchase. They need to generate quotes, view catalogs, and place orders by themselves.
Still, this does not mean that B2B businesses only need to move operations to a website to succeed. Recent research by the Aberdeen Group reveals that company customers are still struggling with online purchasing decisions. It offers some perspectives into how B2B businesses can help buyers manage the process. For context, 66% of survey respondents were VP rank or above. And, 75% said they were “the decisionmaker” in B2B purchases.
Fifty-three percent of survey respondents said they pause or delay the purchasing process on at least half of their purchases. Why? Well, many buyers actually do not know what they want. Fifty percent of respondents said they do not explicitly describe their needs when looking to purchase.
Aside from ill-defined needs, the two most common reasons for canceling or deferring a purchase were:
- Buyers saw little distinction between the potential options (66% of respondents)
- Buyers decided that no vendor/solution matched their needs (57%)
When asked to list their top three most annoying problems with B2B retailer websites, 36% of B2B buyers cited the buying process's duration. Thirty-four percent mentioned the difficulties of finding products, and 33 % named technological glitches with ordering. Other popular complaints included misleading websites, vague delivery timelines, poor customer support, and difficulties setting up payments.
B2B businesses who want to attract new customers and keep the existing ones must address these pain points on their digital sales platforms.
3 Tips to Improve B2B Customer Acquisition
Now that we have identified the major hassles that B2B customers face when shopping online, let’s look at how you can fix them.
1. Provide Enough Details
If you want to make it easy for customers to buy from you online, you have to create a virtual structure that guides customers through every stage of the sales funnel seamlessly. Your website should be the digital equivalent of a helpful shop assistant. From the point of research to checkout, creating an easy, intuitive service is important for making sales.
Provide in-depth and accurate product details. Customers should see detailed product information to make quick purchase decisions. To achieve this, use high-quality product images and videos that highlight important parts of an item. If there’s not enough information about a product, it becomes more difficult to convince customers to buy it.
2. Simplify the Ordering and Reordering Process
Placing orders on your e-commerce platform should not pose a hassle to customers. Optimize the ordering process so that customers can get speedy responses for basics queries such as quotes. Automation is important so that customers aren't stuck waiting for a response from a filled form.
Also, make it incredibly intuitive for customers to reorder. B2B purchases are usually repetitive and bulky. Incorporating a simple process for replacing orders for previous purchases will save customers a lot of time and effort. Customers love businesses that do both of those things. This improves loyalty on the customer’s part and enhances your customer retention rate. And here’s the interesting part: getting a customer to buy from you once may be easy, but what’s tricky (and more important) is getting them to keep coming back.
Customer retention is like compound interest. Your odds of selling to an existing customer are between 60-70%. But for new customers, that figure drops to 5-20%. Also, increasing customer retention by 5% will result in a minimum 25% increase in profit.
3. Make It Easy to Find Products
Help B2B customers navigate your website easily by making products easy to find. Use search bars, image search, and product filters to achieve this. Search bars and image search make it easy for buyers to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Product filters allow users to sort product search results by attributes such as brand, price, product ratings, or sizes. This feature also gives merchants a chance to display more in-depth attributes of their products. With product filters, you save users the stress of scrolling through numerous product listings and make an impression as an easy-to-use, reliable merchant. It’s a win-win.
Also, tap into the power of visual merchandising. Visual merchandising is the art of arranging products in ways that appeal to customers. This includes sorting related products into categories to encourage up-sells and cross-sells and moving out-of-stock products to the bottom of the page.
Looking for More B2B Customer Acquisition Tips?
Need help with building and optimizing your online B2B platform to land more clients? Reach out to us at Zobrist Inc. today. We are a leading software company that has helped B2B businesses to build enterprise-level e-commerce storefronts and mobile commerce applications.