I recently read a report from Forrester Research that shared an interesting statistic supporting what my gut knew instinctively, but that I didn’t have any proof of until now.
Your B2B ecommerce site should be thought of and prioritized as your best sales person.
I’ve always thought this should be true. A well-crafted B2B ecommerce site is personalized for the user, always available, provides consistent product messaging, offers numerous resources and details to the shopper, and allows the shopper to make a purchase whenever it is most convenient for them. Ecommerce doesn’t take vacations, rarely gets sick and is tireless in the promotion of your products.
And yet, all too often, an ecommerce site can fall by the wayside to make way for other initiatives. According to Forrester’s research, that should change.
Forrester Research conducted a survey of technology buyers in Europe and the United States. When asked “which of the following sources of information influence your decision-making process?” buyers ranked the following as their top five resources:
- Colleagues within your organization: 68%
- Websites: 65%
- Consultants or systems integrators: 64%
- Vendor sales people: 61%
- Printed publications (magazines, reports, white papers): 54%
In a similar but separate survey of technology vendors in North America, Forrester asked the vendors which of the following they used to “cultivate leads to sales qualified status.” Websites were ranked third behind content marketing and webinars (which were 5th and 8th respectively from the buyers’ perspective). Direct sales teams and tele-sales teams were ranked #9 and #10 respectively! (Source: Forrester Research, Inc.)
In light of this research that shows buyers prefer to find information about products and services on a website over talking to a sales person, does this mean a robust ecommerce site should replace your human sales team?
Of course not.
It simply means that you need to bring your ecommerce site onto the sales team and update the site with the same robust information you provide to your sales team.
The Take Away
As a B2B company in ecommerce, if your ecommerce site is low on your priority list or falls to the bottom of your to-do list in light of other initiatives, you’re likely missing key sales opportunities. It’s time to analyze the quality of information that you are providing on your ecommerce site as well the design and functionality of the site.
Intuitive and strategic site design, on-going content updates and dynamic tools coupled with a long-term plan for site development and enhancement will go a long way to leverage the consumer’s preferred way to get information about your products.
To maximize the success of your B2B ecommerce initiative, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.