Business to business (B2B) companies are evolving in many ways and the B2B marketplace is part of the new way of working.
Now more B2B buyers are using ecommerce channels as part of their everyday role where previously they might have spoken or met with your sales representatives.
The increasing popularity of B2B marketplaces is forcing many organizations to review their sales approach. While some sectors have been operating marketplaces for many years the use of modern technologies and new players have led to predictions of widespread disruption that could see B2B marketplace sales worldwide reach US $3.6trillion by 2024.
The benefits of B2B marketplaces
Marketplaces make it easier and faster for B2B buyers to collect and compare detailed product information and to place orders. The biggest benefit of participation in B2B marketplaces is their undoubted ability to bring together buyers and sellers in the right place at the right time.
Nine out of 10 buyers have been starting their buying journey online for several years but now only one in five say they expect to return to in-person sales as pandemic restrictions are lifted. Even sectors such as pharmaceuticals that have traditionally relied on face-to-face sales are now embracing digital marketplaces.
One feature of this change is the introduction of more highly specialized marketplaces from metal fabrication to healthcare. Some organizations want to enhance their offer with a more diverse range of products while others are aiming to gain a dominant position in their sector.
How marketplaces are changing B2B sales
Existing B2B sales relationships change when your buyers can research, compare, and buy independently. They can source products from anywhere in the world to meet their needs. As a result, your online sales and marketing teams must deliver a compelling offer and your customer service approach must be updated to exceed their expectations.
Your sales representatives must become part of a comprehensive package of customer service and support that helps them to make the best purchasing choices. When they are trusted to provide accurate information at the right time, they will become an integral part of the buying process.
Collaboration across all your departments will improve customer engagement to increase satisfaction and lifetime value.
Knowing that your products and services can be easily compared with multiple alternatives might be uncomfortable for you. However, organizations that provide content that delivers fast and useful answers to buyers’ questions will have an advantage.
While your sales team continues to build long-term relationships that support repeat business you can also access new customers who are actively researching products and services in your sector.
B2B marketplaces can add value
B2B marketplaces can offer fulfillment, standardized delivery, a higher profile, and compliance. This can help to optimize your overall sales and distribution strategy.
As a manufacturer you can manage your storage space by combining lower cost products into bundles with higher margins and increase sales of surplus or overstock items. If you offer specialist products you can collaborate with third parties to appeal to a wider customer base or to add standardized products and parts to your online offer.
If you’re already a market leading manufacturer or distributor in a specific niche, a vertical marketplace could be the next step to strengthen your market position and attract new buyers. It could simplify the purchasing journey for your buyers and create new sales opportunities. For example, companies in the chemical, IT, and food and beverage sectors are already establishing powerful marketplace platforms.
Getting the balance right
While marketplaces can extend your reach and create new opportunities to sell, you will need to balance this with the need to engage your buyers and maintain relationships based on your knowledge and understanding of their needs.
More than nine out of 10 buyers choose sellers that provide high quality content that helps them to navigate through each stage of the buying process, so you will want an easy and effective content management system.
Once you have provided an outstanding online experience for your customers you will want to make sure that every purchase builds trust and confidence. Your buyers will want to know they have made a good choice.
To provide the level of personalization they are looking for and the highest standards of customer service you will want to avoid silos within your business that could become barriers.
Effective integration of your systems and processes for ecommerce, enterprise, customer relationship management, warehousing and distribution will be at the heart of an effective solution.
Whether you plan to sell via a third-party marketplace or intend to create your own, you will want to deliver excellence consistently. Cloudfy has been created from the beginning to meet the needs of B2B ecommerce.
Find out how we can help you join the B2B marketplace revolution. Book a free demonstration today.