Buyers in the B2B industry now have access to quality information through the many digital channels available today. Your sales reps have little time to influence customer decisions.
A Gartner research study found that B2B buyers spend only 17% of their time meeting with the suppliers when considering a purchase. When comparing multiple suppliers, they spend only 5%-6% of the time with each sales rep.
If you want to convince the buyer to purchase, you need to make the B2B purchase process easier for them. This will help you move them quickly along the purchase journey until they convert.
To do so, you need to provide more information on the different channels and simplify the complicated purchase process. Give buyers an easy and streamlined purchase process to influence their decisions.
How to streamline your B2B purchasing process
Table of Contents
1. Process automation
The purchase process involves a couple of steps for the buyer. It starts with the requisition, where an employee requests approval to make a purchase either through email or paper forms. They then send it for approval and wait for the buyer to approve.
After the purchase is approved, either through email or paper, a purchase order is sent to the supplier. Receipts are created to confirm the order, followed by invoices and payment. This process is time-consuming and involves way too many people.
Automating the purchase process allows for a central data repository that streamlines everything. It reduces human error, saves time, and makes the order process easy and fast. It also links all of this to payment and invoicing.
The automated purchase process improves efficiency, leads to streamlined processes and maximizes resources. Payments are on time, and you, as the supplier, have total control over the whole process.
2. Adopt Cloud-Based CRM
A customer relationship management platform manages prospect and customer data. It contains valuable information about your customers’ buying behavior and habits.
Previously, CRM platforms needed on-premise deployment. With a cloud-based CRM, however, hosting is by a third party and the data center is offsite. It gives you scalability and flexibility at minimum cost.
The CRM offers easy connectivity for users, and sales reps can access data from anywhere at any time. Increased accessibility leads to increased productivity and conversions since the sales rep always has access to essential customer data.
The CRM integrates with other software and applications like email. Your team can then use it for lead generation using automated emails. You can easily nurture a lead through the B2B sales process.
3. Use of Big Data and Analytics
The internet is providing B2B companies with more connections to customers.
And a combination of cloud-based solutions and artificial intelligence allows you to analyze huge amounts of data. With the right tools, your team can collect, analyze, and effectively use insights to transform the B2B purchasing process.
Big data allows you to improve lead generation, manage client relationships, and maximize client value.
Your team can analyze data to uncover new prospects that match the characteristics of your current buyers. They can forecast future sales using predictive analytics and analyze real-time data to create targeted content.
You remain competitive and improve efficiency.
4. Digitize your purchase process
The traditional B2B purchase journey involved talking to a salesperson and visiting the storefront. Today, there are more touchpoints and a buyer can visit your website, social media pages, third party sites, and storefront, or even see a salesperson.
The buyer wants:
- Accurate information on products
- Accurate inventory information
- The ability to purchase online with preferred payment options
- Personalized products and recommendations
- 24/7 customer service
- An easy, streamlined checkout and shopping cart
- Clear shipping and delivery guidelines
Large-scale purchases may still require that a buyer visit your physical location. However, for small purchases, they want a streamlined and easy process online.
You should improve your website to meet these expectations. Ensure your digital touchpoints are professional and can solve the buyer’s problems.
Streamlining your B2B purchase process will influence the success of your business by making the purchase process easier and more transparent. Doing this frees up your employees to do more selling. Customers also find it easier to progress and purchase faster, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
B2B buyers want the same treatment they get with B2C purchases. You can give them a smooth purchasing experience with the right tools and empowered employees.
What solutions are you using to streamline your B2B purchase process?