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BizReport : Ecommerce : December 25, 2019

Why B2Bers need to build stronger relationships

At the fast rate of retirement for many Baby Boomers and the fact that Millennials are apt to buy products for their business online rather than through traditional B2B methods, as their Boomer counterparts did, B2B businesses may be facing tough times ahead. But they don't have to. There are platforms and technology that B2Bers can adopt that will reduce the friction in buying Millennials avoid while keeping the importance of the B2B salesperson in tact.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What is the connection between baby boomers and B2B buyers?

Dan Neiweem, Principal & Co-Founder, Avionos: Historically, baby boomers were both the B2B buyer and the B2B seller. Those connections were based on establishing a relationship and buying from the person not just the brand. Since the relationship was your business, many B2B sellers didn't want to provide their customer information for fear of having someone else try to infringe on that relationship.
As both sides are retiring, the brand needs to focus on how to build a new relationship between a new buyer and a new seller. Both have different expectations on the brand.

Kristina: With so many boomers retiring, what does that mean for B2B buyers and sellers? How can a B2B compensate for this?

Dan: One of the big changes is that B2B companies can no longer just be product companies and expect salespeople to manage the relationship. Now they need to offer ongoing services like ordering portals, product information syndication, and other value added services to augment and establish a new relationship.
As baby boomers retire, the sellers in younger generations will need to build and establish new relationships with those buyers. Many of those buyers are also retiring meaning that younger generations are gaining new buying authority and expect new buying experiences. 
Younger salespeople replacing baby boomers will need to increase their output substantially in order to absorb additional responsibilities; relies on streamlining process and creating simpler path-to-purchase for new and returning B2B buyers. 

Kristina: What role can tech begin to play in developing the B2B relationship?

Dan: According to Avionos' 2019 Buyer Report, one of the biggest pain points in the B2B relationships is the lack of or the quality of product information. The Procurement agent listed Product related information as their number one and number two issues.
Tech will be needed to provide product information as a service to multiple channels as well as improve the path-to-purchase. Technology will play a critical role in delivering the right information to the right channels to ensure consistency and completeness of information as well as ensure the accuracy of the transaction whenever the buyer needs to make it. 
The same Avionos report showed 88% of B2B buyers would turn to a competitor if a supplier's digital channel can't keep up with a customer's desires and 74% would pay more when the supplier provides a good digital experience.

Kristina: What about the human component - how can B2Bers ensure they are properly training younger workers in brand/loyalty building?

Dan: B2Bers need to understand that the brand should represent efficiencies and the ease of doing business. Ease of doing business means the sales team is enabled as well. B2Bers need to invest in the sales and service enablement capabilities through CRM, knowledge management, and tools that automate the sales team activities. 
Because of the efficiencies that technology has enabled, younger workers are being asked to take on multiple roles compared previous played by multiple people.  Once the technical capabilities are in place, B2Bers need to re-enforce the usage through alignment with incentives.  

Tags: advertising, Avionos, B2B ad trends, B2B ecommerce, B2B marketing, business to business marketing, ecommerce, ecommerce trends

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