It's no secret that we live in a fast-paced world in which seemingly no one has time to dillydally.
This is especially true in the world of business. Time is money, after all.
While we tend to associate features like one-click purchases and instant checkouts with B2C websites like Amazon, the truth is even B2B customers have begun to expect the buying process to be as quick as the eCommerce experiences they go through during their free time.
According to eCommerceandB2B, 80% of B2B companies using eCommerce believe their customers’ expectations have changed to a B2C mindset when it comes to the purchasing and checkout processes.
And, while the traditional method of making B2B purchases is still alive and well, data collected by Forrester finds that, by 2020, B2B eCommerce sales will top $1.1 trillion - roughly 12% of all US-based B2B sales.
What this means is:
If your B2B company’s selling processes aren’t created with today’s (and tomorrow’s) customers in mind, you’re going to end up losing sales.
In the following section, we’ll discuss the main benefits of streamlining the B2B selling process - as well as the implications of merely maintaining the status quo.
The Key Benefits of a Streamlined B2B Selling Process
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that providing a quick and easy checkout process to your customers is good for business.
But it’s important that we break down why doing so can be so beneficial to your organization.
Lowered Cost of Doing More Business
One of the major draws of automation across the board is the fact that it saves organizations an unspeakable amount of time, money, and energy, as sales reps and AR teams don’t need to spend countless hours working on menial tasks (such as order management and invoicing).
It makes perfect sense: If an organization doesn’t need to spend time on certain tasks, it will inherently save money in the process.
But, as we’ve alluded to throughout this article, many B2B companies are hesitant to automate most customer-facing processes. This may be due largely to the fact that business relationships between B2B companies and their customers have traditionally been much more hands-on than typical B2C relationships.
However, going back to what we mentioned earlier, the landscape of B2B sales is currently facing a major paradigm shift. The modern customer typically wants to be able to make purchases with as little human interaction as possible (or, at least, with as many automated processes as possible).
Not only that, but customers don’t need service reps to hold their hand throughout the sales process anymore. While, in the “olden days”, product information was only made available through representatives of a company, such information is, for the most part, freely available today. Proof positive: eCommerceandB2B reports that the typical B2B customer has already completed nearly 60% of the buying process before they’ve even reached out to a service rep.
Of course, saving time and money is only one benefit of streamlining and automating your sales processes. On the other side of the coin is the fact that, because your service reps won’t be tied up working on minor, menial tasks, they’ll be free to focus on the more intensive aspects of customer relations and sales.
Much like in the modern B2C landscape, today’s B2B customers seek organizations whose sales reps go beyond the sale. The B2B company that shows that it actively cares about helping its customers succeed (rather than simply looking to make a sale) will easily be able to set itself apart from its competition.
So, not only will you save time and money by streamlining your sales processes, but you’ll also be able to use the time and money you’ve saved to more efficiently engage with your customers when they do need help.
Increased Retention Rates
According to data collected by Salesforce, an astounding 74% of customers report they’re either somewhat likely or extremely likely to switch brands if a company’s checkout process is difficult or problematic.
While this report consisted of information gathered from B2B and B2C companies, the implication is clear:
Your retention rate can be directly impacted by the efficiency of your sales process.
The flipside to this statistic is, of course, that if you’ve ensured your selling and checkout processes are simple and intuitive, you make it easy for your customers to do business with your company.
Automating and streamlining your B2B selling processes is especially efficient when it comes to serving repeat customers. According to McKinsey & Company, 86% of return customers prefer self-service tools rather than communicating with sales reps when making repeat orders.
And, again: customers who become frustrated by an organization’s sales process are much less likely to return in the first place. In fact, customer experience is primed to become the main differentiator between B2B brands by 2020.
So, to be clear:
A happy customer will almost assuredly become a return customer. To make your customers happy, you need to make the process of doing business with your company easy. By automating as much of the sales process as possible, you’ll inherently increase your overall customer retention rate.
If you haven’t begun automating and streamlining your B2B sales processes, you’re likely falling behind your competition - and you’re running the risk of losing even your most loyal customers.
Luckily, making the leap into automation isn’t as difficult or intimidating as it sounds. And, once you’ve set up your new payment processes, you’ll be free to begin improving other areas of your service, in the name of better serving your customers.
Apruve can help you streamline your sales processes, whether on- or offline. Check us out to see what we can do for you.