A B2B company’s success hinges on its customers, and a customer’s success hinges on their journey through the buying process. Studies find that an estimated 61% of all B2B transactions now start online. This explosion of the digital marketplace’s prominence is only expected to continue in the coming years. As such, B2B businesses need to recalibrate their sales approach to guide the customer along a digital journey, if they have not done so already.
The digital space has evolved immensely over the past decade, and many B2B companies have already migrated online to sell their products and services accordingly. Businesses looking to remain competitive must develop smooth and efficient web platforms that can optimize their customers’ experience. This is a key part of the B2B customer journey and is vital to attracting and retaining customers.
What Is the B2B Customer Journey?
The B2B customer journey refers to all of your customers’ interactions with your business. There are many steps that a customer undergoes before they purchase a product, and their journey with your brand continues even after they receive and set up your product.
Compared to B2C (business-to-consumer) operations, B2B businesses focus primarily on selling to fellow businesses, which then resell their products or use them to manufacture others. The key distinctions between the two also lie in their respective pricing models, consumer interaction methods, and website structures.
Unlike B2C businesses, which typically have a fixed price for products and services, B2B pricing structures are usually more flexible and accommodating of their customer’s needs. B2B businesses also typically manage and interact with their clients using account managers, who are responsible for assisting customers along their journey and growing eCommerce sales.
B2B customers typically have more in-depth knowledge of their needs, as their purchases have a direct impact on their business. A 2019 study found that 77% of B2B buyers conduct heavy research and ROI analyses before purchasing a product or service.
B2B customer purchasing decisions are also less driven by emotion, which means they usually take longer to convert. This means you must take time to nurture and strengthen your relationship with a potential B2B customer and provide them with as much support and assistance as they need.
The Stages of the B2B Customer Journey
To drive your eCommerce success, it is important that you provide your customers with support at every step of the buyer’s journey, and emphasize the value of your product or service for their business.
The first step of the B2B customer journey is awareness. When customers discover and acknowledge lapses in their business, they begin to look for ways to fix them. As a B2B business offering a potential solution, it is important to showcase your value and stand out from similar providers. Do this by providing substantial social proof and a track record of successful client deals.
This stage does not always happen online, as potential customers may be made aware of their problems offline. However, their knowledge of your products and services and how these could help their business will be heightened once they explore your social pages or website.
To lock in customers, you must create a detailed and comprehensive customer profile. Who are you trying to sell to? What are the common problems or issues they face in their business? By establishing a clear profile, you will have a deeper understanding of your customer. This in turn allows you to target them more accurately and offer solutions tailored to their problems.
After exploring their options, a customer will narrow down the list to their top choices. This is when customers would typically go through your products and services online and begin adding items to their cart. This is particularly tricky because while they are considering you, they are not fully convinced (yet). Rise to the top by convincing the customer that you are the answer to their problems.
Providing your customer with choices is an excellent way to do this. Your competitors may offer better prices or a better product, but customers will ultimately choose to purchase from a business that offers freedom and flexibility. This may entail developing tailor-fit solutions for your customer to more accurately address their issues.
Additionally, giving more freedom to the customer empowers them. This makes it more likely that they will convert.
“Conversion” is when the customer finally decides to check out their cart. Your customer has placed an order, and you have converted them into a sale. The key to getting to this stage is to allow your customer to take their time. Do not apply pressure—but do not be too relaxed, either.
Additionally, focus on creating an easier checkout experience, as doing so has proven to increase conversions. Gartner finds that 77% of today’s B2B buyers think making a purchase has become an incredibly complicated and lengthy process. Consider adopting payment integrations that allow your customer to check out with just one click.
Now it’s time to build this new relationship with your customer. Get them to stay and continually do business with you. In B2B eCommerce, this means getting your customer to purchase from you again—which will only happen if you provide them with an excellent customer experience.
Continually check up on your customer: ask them for their feedback on your product or service, and continue to give them support even after the sale. This fosters deeper trust, and it helps you optimize your selling process as well.
At the final stage of the B2B customer journey, your loyal customer now advocates for your company and encourages others to do business with you. At this point, your customer may already be a free, word-of-mouth advertiser for your business by recommending your products and services to others or posting about you on their social platforms.
To further solidify your relationship, consider providing your advocates with incentives. Reward their trust and faith in your company by giving them discounts, special offers, or products.
Find the Best B2B Solution for You
Paying attention to the B2B customer journey for your potential and recurring customers is crucial to securing a steady clientele. Pairing with an expert on building eCommerce channels for the digital era, like Zobrist, can help you achieve this goal.
Zobrist specializes in creating powerful eCommerce experiences on par with the demands of the digital age. At Zobrist we offer a wealth of smart solutions to enhance the B2B customer journey. From creating intuitive, robust eCommerce storefronts to offering managed personalized client services, Zobrist has a solution tailor-made for your B2B business, no matter your size or industry.
Transform your eCommerce platform with Zobrist today and supercharge your business.