The reasons B2B is playing catch-up with B2C are several, but it is in part a legacy of B2B sales largely taking place in the physical realm. It is still not unusual for company salespeople to travel across the country to court clients with product catalogues and brochures. Cold-calling prospective clients has been the accepted B2B sales method for decades. Payments are still often made using paper purchase orders and cheques.
Meeting the expectations of digitally savvy business buyers comes with unique challenges for B2B. A key issue is pricing. Unlike in the consumer world, product prices are not always visible and one client or sector can pay a different price for the same product than another. Discounts for bulk or repeat purchases are also commonplace. But rather than a sales rep revealing or negotiating the price over the phone or in person, business customers now want to see the price immediately on a website.
Also, businesses can give themselves an edge over their competitors by not only mastering the ecommerce basics, such as tailored homepages and prompt delivery speeds – Amazon Prime has trained us to expect we will get our products within 24 to 48 hours, Augustine points out – but by also creating the content-rich personalised experience consumer websites have spearheaded.
“We’ve had a decade of people saying ‘content is king’,” he says. “It’s really just an extension of that idea in this very specific sphere. We encourage our B2B clients to invest in video, for example to show people how their products operate and to show client testimonials. Facebook and Instagram are generating really good quality leads for our business clients too, because they engage people.”