Over the past few weeks, America has changed the way it operates as a society in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The abrupt changes have left many companies searching for ways to gain competitive advantages over their competitors. What’s even more alarming is that experts are predicting an economic recession after stay-at-home orders have been lifted and social interaction can take place face-to-face again, which makes every interaction with customers even more important. In unpredictable times like these, what should B2B companies be doing?
A solid ecommerce capability is the foundation of digital customer experiences; the team helps to take the digital experience to the next level. Companies should let the website do the heavy lifting, but integrate the sales team to supplement the buyer’s experience, extending beyond answering questions when the customer is making a purchase. While it’s easy for the website to serve as a source of product information and transaction logistics, the salesperson is able to offer a personalized connection, which likely separates one company from the next. Human interaction is always important, but it becomes even more crucial in times like these where those interactions are limited.
Many companies have seen a large spike in their online traffic. With the elimination of events, conferences and general in-person meetings buyers have shifted to online experiences. Companies that don’t have a strong digital channel need to act quickly to uplevel their digital capabilities to meet customer demand while the market continues to practice social distancing. Having a solid digital experience is a basic expectation for B2B buyers. In our 2020 B2B report, we found that 88% of B2B buyers would choose a competitor if the alternate company’s digital channels couldn’t keep up. Companies who don’t implement a digital storefront now risk losing short-term revenue and long-term customer loyalty.
Companies should also leverage their more highly experienced salespeople and alter their role into a position of strategic advising. While the amount of purchases across industries may have dropped, that doesn’t mean salespeople can’t maintain business relationships in anticipation for when sales pick back up. In fact, our latest data study found that while 81% of B2B buyers are worried about a recession in 2020, 92% say salespeople will help them weather the downturn. The role of salespeople shouldn’t end when the buyer hits the purchase button, it should extend and be constant throughout their role as a customer.
Of course those interactions aren’t always equal in value for the buyers. In our survey, buyers pinpointed several characteristics of positive experiences with salespeople. Seventy-one percent enjoyed when the salesperson deeply understood the company’s product and services. Additionally, 43% said they had a favorable outlook when the salesperson provided a seamless experience that added value to what the buyer could gather from the company’s website. Blending 5-star commerce experiences with the valuable guidance of an experienced salesperson is the key to customer acquisition and retention, even during market volatility.
Our team can get your eCommerce site up and running in just five weeks so you’re set up for success. Get in touch with us here.