Business buyers now shop like consumers do: researching products and buying them online in the most convenient way possible. As a result, business-to-business brand manufacturers and distributors have to transform their traditional go-to-market processes into something that can keep pace with these digital demands. As daunting as it seems, this is your opportunity to grow market share and gain new organizational efficiencies. For some additional tips on sales enablement, check out G2Crowd's breakdown. They invited the perspectives of 10 industry experts to highlight the importance of sales enablement.
FIVE Trends Impacting Your B2B Brand in 2018
- Your business buyer wants to be treated like a consumer. In fact, 94% of B2B buyers research online before spending any company budget. It’s critical that you provide them a robust experience on digital channels so they can learn as much as they want about your product before engaging with a salesperson.
- Your distributors use marketing data and automation to choose assortment. Your sales representative hasn’t gone away, but they are likely looking closer at metrics than ever before. Due to self-service digital shopping environments, merchandising for the B2B distributor isn’t about taste, it’s about performance and availability. That means it’s more important than ever for you to meet the data requirements each distributor sends you and optimize your product content for every endpoint.
- Your distributors are building customized digital marketplaces. According to a 2017 study by UPS, the number of purchases from distributor run marketplaces has more than doubled in less than four years. In 2016, Amazon Business’s marketplace surpassed $1 billion in sales, and its marketplace has been growing at 20% month over month. It also has more than 9 million product listings, up from less than 4 million a year ago. These new channels come with more demands on you to provide additional product attributes but a critical way for you to maintain strong relationships with distributors and grow sales.
- Each one of your distributors has different requirements. As a result of the first three trends, distributors are looking for ways to build unique and convenient digital shopping experiences to gain the trust of B2B buyers. That means they are asking for different data in formats that fit the needs of their system and match their buyer. These requirements often also change over time as distributors update and optimize their own websites and portals. It's crucial to have a process and technology in place so that you can ingest these requirements and adapt your content quickly in response.
- Your competitors are investing in e-commerce. Forrester projects that B2B e-commerce will hit $1.2 trillion in the United States alone by 2021. Increasingly brand manufacturers are making business-to-business e-commerce a top priority. In fact, 80% expect to spend more on their e-commerce operations this year and 42% of B2B brands say they get one quarter of their B2B web sales from recurring orders online.
Take control of your digital strategy to win more business buyers to your brand
You have to take control of your digital product experience to compete and grow in today’s market.
Leading brands are investing in people, processes and technology to help them:
- Provide distributors updated product catalogs that make a full assortment of products available.
- Expand assortment and publish more products across new channels like distributor portals to grow market share.
- Keep product content for entire catalog a single trusted source with workflow capabilities to decrease time to market and improve content accuracy.
Salsify combines centralized product content management, advanced syndication, and actionable analytics into one platform to improve your sales performance and time to market. Contact us with questions or for a free trial.