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B2B selling? Let’s call it B2E(commerce)

Author: Tim Harris, Chief Strategy Officer, Arbela Technologies

What drives the economy? Consumer spending.

What drives post-pandemic consumer spending? E-commerce. Though most would agree that the pandemic simply accelerated the move away from brick-and-mortar buying habits to e-commerce – the move was coming regardless.

How does consumer spending and behavior moving to e-commerce platforms and processes impact the world of B2B? Simply put, it impacts B2B in two ways: immediately and immeasurably.

How is B2B adapting to the New Normal? What e-commerce best practices can a B2B company easily embrace and roll-out? When should you start?

Read on to learn the answers, or view our  recent webinar, The shift to B2B e-commerce: Trends and best practices.

Amazonification: Don’t be scared

It’s no secret Amazon — with its simple goal of selling all things to all people everywhere in the world — is the key driver in both the surge in e-commerce spending and in the experience of e-commerce itself. The surge is why B2B companies need to embrace e-commerce best practice. But it’s the experience that’s truly the good news here.

Amazon has templated the e-commerce experience with their upsells and cross-sells being both subtle and constant. It has essentially fine-tuned overcommunication into an artform and even an expectation.

For example, when buying from any vendor via phone or web, it used to be enough for us to know “your order has been shipped and will arrive Tuesday.” Now, because of Amazon, we need to know precisely what time Tuesday, where our package may be at 8:30 pm Sunday, and where it will be left (with pictures, please) when it arrives. And we want this information sent via email, mobile, apps, and SMS.

Why is this great news for B2B companies? Because we can use that template, too.

Quick-starting e-commerce tools in B2B

Before you begin worrying about a new platform or a new system to “e-commerce-ify” your B2B systems, know that if you are using Microsoft Dynamics 365 you likely have most of what you need already in place.

Looking to enable omni-channel communication? Are you meeting your customers where they are and on whatever devices they may be using? These capabilities can be quickly enabled with solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Customer Service, enhanced by Arbela Contact Center Solutions.

Not only can you send and receive communications the same way Amazon does — maybe sans app for most B2B companies — but you can capture in CRM, and act on in real-time, the data those communications provide.

Creating a custom experience for each client (i.e., putting the custom in customer)? With the AI and machine learning capabilities built into Dynamics, you can automatically deliver a custom experience, presenting products, services, and solutions based on a client’s web behavior or account records.

Driving increased upsells and upgrades? Simple extensions to Dynamics, such as configure, price, quote tools (CPQ), create an easy means of creating and presenting winning product and pricing configurations anywhere in the sales cycle.

Increasing client engagement while concurrently reducing overhead costs? In a word, chatbots. They’re ubiquitous to the point of being an expectation in any website experience.

Adding chatbots to your B2B experience fuels engagement, as they can help quickly move a client from information-seeking to transaction-making mode. As importantly, they can both reduce the impact on your human resources (your reps) and “tee-up” every client call. Chatbots can virtually vet inquiries, bumping some directly to the top of the service queue – along with presenting all critical customer data to a rep ahead of time – and directing others to self-service mechanisms, such as FAQs and portals.

One of the best things about chatbots is Microsoft has made them incredibly easy to build with tools like Power Virtual Agents, part of the Power Platform – development tools that empower anyone to build BI tools, customer applications, automations, and more.

Bots, omni-channel comms, dynamic product and pricing configurations, a massive influx of clients arriving via the web and bringing mountains of critical data with them … it’s a great time to be a B2B company, and an even better time to start becoming a B2E(commerce) company.

Watch the webinar or contact us to learn more.