Remember the not-so-distant past when corporations had security concerns about employees wanting to use their own consumer-grade smartphones for work? Technology, convenience and personal preference began picking away at the company-in-control mindset. This movement showcased how consumer preferences infiltrated the corporate environment; in this case, how employees do their jobs on their device of choice. A new, related challenge for corporations is the emergence of B2C expectations and preferences among B2B buyers.
In the food and beverage industry, delivery of a consumer-like sales experience to B2B buyers is critical. Fail to provide a seamless sales experience, and your customers will start to check out your competitors. The sales experience is changing as more customers desire an easy buying experience. According to Forrester’s survey, “Accelerate Your Journey to Modern Commerce,” 93% of purchasing professionals said they bought online once they decided what to buy.
What does this mean for food and beverage industry sales? These statistics indicate that B2B customers crave convenient, frictionless and timely sales interactions. If your deal approval process or pricing strategies don’t support these types of sales experiences, your business is ignoring a genuine pain point for some buyers. So, how do you avoid leaving money on the table?
First, you must understand the differences between modern commerce and traditional commerce, and the impact of both scenarios on the customer sales experience.
- In traditional commerce, the company is in control. But in modern commerce, the customer is a fully-informed buyer who is in control.
- Traditional sales representatives sell on gut instinct. Modern commerce involves automation and science that gets the right price to the customer at the right time.
- Modern commerce experiences are frictionless and involve omnichannel options. Traditional commerce involves online/offline silos.
- Pricing in traditional commerce is opaque and manual while modern commerce has dynamic, transparent pricing.
- Modern commerce has personalized deals while traditional commerce has predefined deal approval processes.
Second, you must understand the customer’s frustrations. Sometimes just getting a pricing deal to a customer takes multiple days, which leads customers to look elsewhere. According to Insidesales.com, 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first. Don’t let internal bureaucracy lead to a lost deal.
The essential ingredient for organic revenue and growth in the modern commerce era is the sales experience. In a survey from CEB, a global business best practices firm, 53% of respondents said the sales experience was the number one factor in loyalty and repeat business. Value compared to price was important to only 9% of those surveyed while two other factors–product/service and company/brand were each deemed essential by 19%. To deliver those personalized, frictionless experiences, food and beverage manufacturers must focus on three essential areas:
- Improving customer loyalty
- Removing deal complexity
- And enabling improved sales experiences
To learn more about improving sales experiences, download the Deliver Made-to-Order Sales Experiences Tip Sheet.
About the AuthorMore Content by Chris Kleemann