Many businesses still aspire to deliver experiences modeled after Amazon Business. But the demand for seamless online buying experiences in B2B doesn’t mean suppliers have to mimic them to earn the trust of their buyers. Instead, B2B businesses need to do what Amazon can’t: maintain relationships through better use of their salespeople.
The idea that salespeople should be even more involved in the buying process contradicts the 2017 Forrester death of the B2B salesman hypothesis. Just three years ago, this headline set off alarm bells, but our survey of B2B buyers finds that reports of the B2B salesperson’s death have been grossly exaggerated. While Forrester predicted eCommerce would cause a widespread displacement of B2B salespeople by 2020, 94% of our 2020 survey respondents agree that B2B salespeople improve their buying experiences. This enthusiastic approval rating stands in stark contrast to predictions of the position’s impending demise.
There is no doubt that eCommerce is an important piece of the sales process, however it will never completely replace the salesperson in B2B. Optimizing online purchasing is a crucial part of B2B sales, but it can’t stand alone. B2B businesses should take caution before calling themselves a technology company. Instead, they should double down on their core business model and customer relationships.