When it comes to B2B best practices, the most successful strategy is often one shaped directly by the needs of the business. Dave Bent, President at ES Tech Group, recently spoke about this at the DCKAP eSummit B2B Edition 2020 while highlighting some of the most critical success factors.
Foremost, there are some mandatory requirements you need to consider to be successful in B2B eCommerce, starting with who you choose to partner with. In the pyramid structure Dave uses to represent the strategy for growth, the business needs to consider range from the platform and technology you choose to work with to the people and processes you choose to align with.
Three Critical Success Factors in B2B eCommerce
Choosing the right platform partner
Aligning people, process, technology & data
Creating the best customer experience
First, as he explains rather succinctly in his presentation, you need to look at the platform provider as a partner. It’s no longer enough to just find and implement the best technology and power your business with it. “The technology is really, it’s kind of the easy piece, dare I say it,” Dave tells us. “If you don’t get the people, the organizational alignment in your business, and you don’t adjust some of your processes, it really isn’t going to be successful.”Many businesses start their journey into ecommerce by looking for a platform with all the right features and functions that are needed. Going into this venture, however, you should also be looking for more than just the best technology to compliment your business. You should be taking into account the people, processes and organization around the platform that will also work best alongside your business goals.“There’s many companies who put up an ecommerce site and say ‘build it and they will come’, when actually, in B2B, they definitely won’t come,” Dave says of the expectation that launching an online website will also launch online sales. “It requires the right talent and the right processes to be combined with the right platform. If it doesn’t get that people and process piece, it will be a very static site.”With the platform you’re considering, you should also be looking at a future vision that fits into yours. Creating a strong ecommerce presence is a strategic decision, and it should be one considered for the long term. Ensuring your goals and objectives are aligned with the platform partner you choose to work with closely will help to drive efficiency for your business and your customers.
“Is there a history that it’s continuing to evolve, and is it continuing to get new features and capabilities? Because this world of commerce is changing rapidly, and so look at the road map history, talk to existing customers.” – Dave Bent
Businesses should then consider, “Is the platform business-enabling with features specific for B2B functionality?” This should be something already built in, rather than something you have to worry about down the road. The foundation of your platform is primary, as the pillar of strength underneath all your efforts online, and it needs to offer the best security, data privacy, and assure compliance. From response time and scalability to having world class product content, these are all a part of the infrastructure necessary to thrive online. Additionally, businesses looking to grow an online marketplace need to consider the importance of customer segmentation and personalization. There needs to be differentiation and customization for customers, depending on their searches and buying habits, etc. This is a key factor in creating the best customer experience, which is essential to having a successful and thriving ecommerce business. This kind of alignment with people and processes, along with analyzing data over time, drives improvement. As Dave explains, “The continuous improvement should be data driven. The analytics on the website should enable you as the provider of the site, the manufacturer or distributor, to really track what works, what doesn’t work, that kind of AB testing from a marketing perspective and really seeing which features work and what promotions work.”Data is at the core of customer retention and better understanding how the customer prefers to engage with your ecommerce website is an extremely important part of the process. “Ultimately, what the site needs to do is it needs to fit the customer’s processes,” says Dave. It needs to be an intuitive and simple interaction. Enabling those kinds of extra efficiencies will help bring customers back and drive loyalty and growth. Once your foundation is set and your business is enabled, growth is the next step! Alongside the power of the platform, using innovative technology with products like DCKAP Analytics allows businesses the insight to understand the best ways to build out those processes and better engage with customers. With the help of technology like this, and ES Tech Group’s EvolutionX at the foundation of your strategy, it’s easier than ever to use leading technology and data alongside your digital marketing strategy to help create the best customer experience, inspire loyalty, increase growth, and ultimately drive success. “The website needs daily feeding and attention for it to be engaging, and that comes back to the digital marketing skills, the customer segmentation, bringing the right promotions, setting up new features…” As Dave explains in his presentation, creating the website is only the first step, the foundation for everything else, setting the path so you can get to the point of the pyramid where growth really thrives. It comes down to having the combination of the right technology and the best people and processes in place that align with yours to help ensure success in B2B eCommerce.If you’d like to read more highlights and watch any of the speakers from the full DCKAP eSummit event, visit our post event recap blog, and you can watch Dave Bent’s full presentation at the DCKAP eSummit B2B Edition here: