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BizReport : Ecommerce : June 18, 2020

Study: B2B buyers aren't loyal, that's why brands need sales people

While the role of salesperson in the retail space has dwindled to be that of a checkout person rather than actual sales, the role of salesperson in the B2B space remains one of customer service, and helping businesses find the tools they need for success. And that is why, according to one expert, brands need to keep that B2B salesperson role filled.

by Kristina Knight

According to new data out from Avionos the bulk of B2B buyers (88%) say they'll go to a competitor website if their chosen digital channel cannot keep up with their needs; researchers further found that about one-third of B2B buyers (37%) have now made a purchase from Amazon Business - that is an increase of 30% from 2019 numbers.

"Good business owners realize that good companies retain their customers during a recession and are able to find new ones. They know that their customers are still buying, and if it isn't with them, then it's with someone else. Those customers will likely be buying less or buying differently, but they will be buying from a trusted advisor and from a company that brings value to their business," said Dan Neiweem, Co-Founder & Principal, Avionos. "92% of those customers say a salesperson will help them weather the storm. Business owners right now should be focused on how to enable their sales team to eliminate uncertainty and transact and engage with those customers when they can't be face-to-face. Prior to the pandemic, over 80% of customers stated they would turn to another provider if their supplier's digital channel didn't keep up with their needs. In fact, they would choose a supplier with excellent ecommerce capabilities - even if they had to pay more. The key to keeping revenue flowing is to offer a seamless buying experience and have your sales team be the strategic advisor."

Even in the digital space, Neiweem believes the B2B salesperson is a role that businesses cannot cut out of recession fears. That is backed up by the Avionos report which indicates just over half of B2B buyers are looking for a better experience -- including time with sales people. According to Neiweem, this is an opportunity for B2B brands to incorporate their salespeople into the website experience by enabling them to 'talk' with their customers about purchase options, reducing costs to the business by reporting that products are of the most interest to buyers, and by bridging the technology gap between business and B2B seller.

"It's important to realize that every time your customer is on your site they are telling you something by how they engage, where they leave, what they search for, etc. so there's an opportunity to listen to B2B buyers as they search your website. Take the data and drive optimization of the experience. Prioritize the issues based on how frequently the user engages with them and the value they bring. Remaining nimble so that frequent changes can be made is crucial. Look for opportunities to try new things and get new features in the market for testing," said Neiweem.

Salespeople should have access to order history and status updates, delivery dates, product specifications and uses, tech manuals and even comparable products to begin with. They should be reporting to marketing and executive teams about product information updates, inventory statuses for better purchasing decisions, and have a simple way to interact with their clients through the website as well as more traditional communication methods. And don't think it is only bigger brands who can incorporate the salesperson role into the digital space - a smaller business can also increase revenue by using salespeople on digital channels.

"Smaller brands shouldn't try to become Amazon, but rather take advantage of the fact that they are the trusted advisor to their customers. These smaller brands should provide the ability to transact while utilizing the knowledge of their sales team to augment the online experience and bringing trusted products and information to those customers. Forty-one percent of buyers start with the supplier site before Amazon Business - smaller brands can use that opportunity to provide the right information, right guidance, right follow-up and access to a team to support the decision," said Neiweem.

More data from the Avionos 2020 B2B Buyer Report can be found here.

Tags: 2020 B2B Report, Avionos, ecommerce, small business trends, SMB ecommerce, SMB salesperson

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