B2B ecommerce

Beyond Self Service in the B2B world

Thursday, January 05, 2017
Layer One - Vice President of eCommerce


This is the first, in a four part series, sign up for our email list to be notified when the subsequent articles are available.

There is no doubt that providing a superior self-service experience can differentiate your organization and create a competitive advantage for Business to Business (B2B) companies. However, the Business to Business (B2B) environment is also about building trusted relationships. Deals of the future previously landed on the golf course will need to be forged digitally, on-line. Providing on-line “Self-Service” will not be enough. For the future B2B Customer, it will be about “Being Serviced”.

For B2B Customers, it will be about “Being Serviced”

So how do you get there?

Referencing the diagram below, the left-hand side depicts the Information side of the equation. At the highest level, content will need to be transformed into data that can be flexibly exchanged and shared. Data needs to be transformed into information that educates and translates into Customer knowledge that empowers them to succeed.

The right-hand side of diagram depicts the relationship building side of the equation. Personalizing an omni channel experience will help potential Customers understand your products and services. Matched with various methods for digital campaigning will result in leads and opportunities. Nurtured successfully, signed supplier contracts result. Self-service will drive “Ease of Doing Business” and initiate customer loyalty, but this combined with on-line services viewed by the buyer as value-add will sustain the relationship and build trust. These “Being Serviced” approaches will drive long-term trusted partnerships.

Self-Service is expected

Graphic chart depicting the relationship building side of Self-Service, spanning between what the services are to the desire to be serviced

The ability for serving oneself on-line is expected and mandatory for both B2C, B2B and related models. Everything from performing research to ordering products and services is just part of the everyday experience on-line. But, to remain competitive and drive growth, B2B companies must explore innovative approaches to conducting aspects of their business that build trust like those typically conducted through face-to-face interaction, brick and mortar channels and picking up the phone. They will need to provide value-added services that collaborate proactively with the buyer pre-sale, during the sale and post-sale. Not in a manner that replaces personal interaction, but augments it on-line.

70% of e-Commerce will move from B2C and B2B models to models that focus on the individual customer experience by 2018, per Gartner predictions.

The combination of personalization, knowledge building and additional value-added online services will lead to “Being Serviced” trusted partnerships. Those that do not work in this direction, will be at a significant disadvantage to competitors that do.

Over the next three newsletters, we will explore the “Being Serviced” B2B Customer and considerations to be taken into account during pre-sale, sale and post-sale phases.

 Read part two in this series, Pre-Sales Servicing of B2B Customers.

Interested in learning more?

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