This post is a part of the “Your Journey to Modern Commerce” series. See also Part 1 – Meet the New B2B Buyer , Part 2- The Very Real Risks of the Status Quo and Part 3- The 3 Pillars of Competitive Advantage.
Because modern commerce is a relatively new idea and term, we talk a lot about the “what” and the “why”. Here’s what we mean by “modern commerce.” Here’s why it’s so important.Your buyers have changed, even if you don’t realize it; technology has changed, even if you’re not keeping up; your competitors have changed, and you better keep up or you’re in trouble.
This is all important stuff, but I have the sense that where people and organizations really need help is not the “what” or the “why”, but the “how”. Even if you don’t have the stats to prove it (you can get them easily in our infographic) you probably know that B2B buyers’ preferences and tactics have evolved. You know you need to keep up with your buyers, technology, the competition. The question is how to go about it in the most efficient, cost-effective, and impactful way.
We’ve got you covered there, too.
Our recent research conducted by Forrester Consulting goes deep into the current state of modern commerce adoption to provide context and reference. But it also offers fantastic recommendations into what to do with all that information. You can get all the details in the study, Accelerate Your Journey to Modern Commerce,1 but it comes down to four things.
4 steps to implementing a modern commerce approach at your organization1
- Embrace the preferences of your buyers. You can’t beat ‘em, so join ‘em. 93% of B2B buyers prefer to buy online when they’ve already decided what to buy. 59% prefer to NOT interact with a sales rep as their primary source of research. Stop fighting these trends and give the people what they want:
- A more transparent buying process
- A unified customer experience
- Personalized offers and pricing
- A frictionless and dynamic experience
Put these goals at the top of your to-do list. Prioritize them. Invest in the people and processes and technology to make them happen.
- Deeply understand the sales processes of your direct and indirect channels. You can’t fix something until you fundamentally understand what’s broken. That means diving deep into the ranks. Become an expert in the current state of your qualitative and quantitative processes. Learn about your sales team’s preconceptions, attitudes, likes, dislikes, workarounds, sources of pride, sources of shame, hopes and dreams. Dig into their tools, from CRM up and down, to see how they’re being used by both the sales reps and their prospects and customers. Expand into your indirect channels to explore what’s happening outside your line of sight and how it’s impacting your KPIs. There’s a lot to learn – moving to modern commerce means scratching far below the surface.
- Unify your technology stack to deliver consistent, high-quality experiences. As part of your process review, take a magnifying glass and a fine-tooth comb to each component of your tech stack, from sales and marketing to infrastructure and operations. What’s working, what’s breaking? Where are the gaps, inconsistencies, and redundancies? Giving your pre- and post-sale users a consistent experience starts with a clean, consistent back end. Figure out what technology is empowering your move to modern commerce, what tools are hindering it, and adjust accordingly.
- Leverage machine learning and data science to differentiate your business. Algorithms are your new best friend. Applications powered by machine learning and data science, like PROS, are now literally capable of things far beyond the power of any human brain. If you don’t take advantage of these capabilities, your competitors probably will. Use the power of data science, combined with the insight of real humans, to drive everything from company-wide analytics to individual pricing offers. The future is here – it’s time to make it work for you.
With those four nuggets of wisdom, we conclude our “Your Journey to Modern Commerce” blog series (did you miss any? Read parts one, two, and three.) You can always access the quick version of the data in the infographic or the long version in the report. The journey to modern commerce isn’t always quick or easy, but it’s always worth it – and we’re here to help every step of the way.
1Based on Accelerate Your Journey To Modern Commerce, an April 2017 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of PROS
About the AuthorMore Content by Craig Zawada