Today’s B2C and B2B buyers want accessible, relevant and immediate information whether they are on-the-go, in the office or at home. With evolving customer preferences and behaviors, companies have to evolve and digitally transform if they want to acquire new business and mold them into loyal customers.
In our last blog we illustrated how deploying eCommerce can lower your costs to serve your customers by enabling them to more efficiently self-serve, and it doesn’t end there. In B2B, utilizing eCommerce can also help you reduce your acquisition costs whether looking for new customers within existing accounts, or looking for new companies all together.
In this blog we’ll provide tips for manufacturers and distributors to find new business by utilizing an eCommerce solution that has native B2B functionality built right into the platform.
Know your customers.
Acquiring new customers isn’t always about identifying new businesses all together. Often, there are opportunities within existing accounts to sell across divisions.
You have to know the contacts within your accounts and understand what their business challenges are. Do you have the ability to leverage marketing to reach more people in those organizations? Do you have the ability to reach more buyers, more decision makers and more researchers? It is often easier to sell more across accounts and divisions than it is to acquire entirely new accounts.
Minimize Onboarding Time with Features like Workflows.
As your CSRs and sales people identify new contacts it is important to have an efficient onboarding strategy to get them setup in your eCommerce platform. When there are onboarding processes in place it is easier for customers to buy when they are ready to do so.
Traditionally in B2B, customers buy on terms. New customers have to get pre setup in order to buy from you, which often requires a credit check, bank approval, and so forth. These intricacies can slow you down and make it difficult for customers to buy from you. Sometimes it can take six to eight days for customers to be approved to place their first order. It doesn’t have to be this way when you have an eCommerce platform built to solve complex problems like this. A manufacturer, for example, can create automated workflows that allow their customers to quickly get credit approval to do business with them.
Create and Manage Content.
Traditionally, manufacturers and distributors acquire new customers through sales people, referral business and large events and tradeshows. Often this kind of acquisition can be costly and hold up your team and valuable resources. Can you really afford to spend upwards of $60,000 on an event only to attain 10 new business leads? Investing in a strategic content strategy can be much more affordable.
Many manufacturers and distributors struggle with building content but it is one of your best tools for building brand awareness. Often manufacturers and distributors have small marketing teams. However, there are ways to punch above your weight.
It comes down to building integrated marketing strategies and A/B testing different messages and mediums. Incorporate media like podcasts, webinars, blogs, eBooks and white papers into your strategy and spin one idea into various forms.
Delivering your media to the right people and at the right time is another challenge. Consulting your current customers to understand what their pain points are and where they are getting their information can be helpful while crafting your content.
With B2B eCommerce, you can take all the high quality content you’ve created and personalize it to deliver even better experiences. In a noisy, competitive market, you have to find ways to stand out from the competition. If you have powerful and relevant thought leadership content you can drive traffic to your website and awareness for your company. But people have to know where to find you which leads into our next point…
Make Your Business Findable.
SEO is all the rage in the marketing world, and for good reason. Today it is more important than ever to ensure your business is findable. That means you need to work to get your website on the first page of search results.
When we create content at Insite, we ensure we create it based on keywords our customers and potential customers are looking for. It is no different in manufacturing and distribution. It’s crucial to optimize your content for SEO by adding highly searched words and building high quality content.
You can also use adwords to augment your SEO efforts. When you are not appearing in search efforts organically you can bid on words that are relevant to your business.
Your marketing team has to help your business be findable and support your business by building awareness early on in the buying journey.
Use Features like Guest Checkout and Kitting/Bundling to Deliver Better Experiences.
While B2B and B2C are different beasts, delivering on the expectations people have formed due to their personal buying experiences is important.
Guest checkout, for example can be and incredibly valuable part of eCommerce if your business can utilize it. When one time users come to your site to buy for the first time, being able to make that purchase allows them to become business leads for your sales team.
Kitting and bundling provides another opportunity for manufacturers and distributors. When a plumber has to work on a sink for example, the buyer for the business doesn’t always know what specific parts they need. When you are able to bundle items for the sink, faucet, drain, etc. together you make it easier and more affordable for that business to buy from you and you can certainly acquire new business that way.
B2B is largely based on relationships. After acquiring customers it is very important that you keep them and mold them into loyal customers. We’ve talked about how eCommerce can free up your CSRs and salespeople so that they are able to deliver more value added services.
Retaining new customers means getting them quickly and seamlessly onboarded into your eCommerce platform, giving your team the ability to forge those relationships by freeing up their time, and delivering the information they need when they need it. Ultimately to keep customers, you have to ensure it is easy for them to do business with you.