B2B Sales Tips and Trends for Ecommerce Businesses

B2B Sales Tips and Trends for Ecommerce Businesses

Business to Business (B2B) is an industry that has achieved maturity over the past few years, with technology companies leading the way in terms of size and revenue. B2B organizations provide services and products to other product and service providers. By doing so, B2B has become a crucial economic contributor. One of the most tech-dependent B2B niches is ecommerce .

According to Forrester, ecommerce is projected to top $1.8 trillion in the next three years. Ecommerce transactions account for more than 17% of total B2B sales in the United States. This trend reflects what’s going on in the rest of the world and signals an encouraging conclusion: B2B ecommerce is here to stay.

In this article, we are going to look at a few ecommerce B2B sales tips you can implement as part of your strategy, and examine how each of those tips can help your sales-based business soar.

B2B eCommerce sales trends.

Before we talk about strategies to grow sales, it’s important we look at the trends that have gained prominence in the global B2B ecommerce space this year.

1. The B2B Ecommerce Demographic is Changing

More young people are making B2B purchasing decisions now than ever before. According to Google insights, the B2B ecommerce market had already seen a surge in the number of participating young people by 2015. Now, 18 to 34-year olds account for almost 50% of all B2B research and inquiry.

2. Sales and Marketing Strategies Have Evolved

The primary reason behind this shift is a dramatic change in the B2B purchase decision making hierarchy. Marketers have clocked this change and now target an audience beyond the high-level clients of old. Often, the final purchasing decision lies outside of the C-suite. These lower-level executives influence purchases and are involved in managing project proposals even when the final decision lies elsewhere.

In terms of sales, digital payments have emerged as the preferred payment methods due to their convenience. Features like seamless payment method integration and 3D payment gateways can help future-proof your B2B sales experience.

3. Ecommerce is Shifting to Mobile

Mobile payments in the b2b ecommerce industry

As the global ecommerce market shifts towards a mobile-first approach (targeting users on smartphones and tablets), savvy B2B ecommerce sales strategists have caught on to this trend and modified their approaches accordingly.

Roughly 42% of buyers use mobile devices during the purchase process. Thus, the mobile ecosystem (which consists mostly of Android and iOS apps), has seen immense growth in the last three years.

2020 has further highlighted a need for marketers to embrace full-scale online marketplaces, fast order fulfilment processes, integrated systems for multi-channel selling, customer personalization experiences, and loyalty programs. These conveniences have proved effective at further cementing the ease of use on mobile devices for B2B customers.

4. Video Content is Now Mainstream

The need for visual marketing content across all tech-related sales channels has reached B2B businesses. Much like traditional B2C content marketing, many B2B buyers now look to videos as part of their considerations before making a final purchase.

Video content is tremendously versatile. You can use it to share how-to guides, detailed product and feature descriptions, in-depth reviews, and much more. It all helps to spur the conversation about your product. A whopping 70% of B2B buyers watch videos as part of the purchase process.

B2B Sales Tips for Increased ROI

While the world of B2B ecommerce is an ever-changing space, there are a few general B2B sales tips that can guide your strategy and decision-making process. Some of these strategies are evergreen, while others tie into the aforementioned market trends.

1. Understand the Customer with Empathy

Empathy to clients - eCommerce Sales tip

The best products are those that aim to solve a problem for the customer. When developing an ecommerce sales pitch, focus on positioning your product or service as a solution to your customers’ problems. Ensure that you highlight how effective it is at solving the problems for which it exists.

Alongside this, an important strategic focus should be relationship building. Strive to communicate empathetically with your customer base at every single customer touch-point, showing that you understand their problems and want to help. This puts you in a good position to convert leads into paying customers, and then retain them.

For example, a great strategy for a company that specializes in selling online courses would be a video detailing how their courses can help change people's lives through education.

2. Don't Rely Too Much on Scripts

Every customer is different, and so are their problems. As such, when it comes to cold calling and email correspondence, avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. Every customer comes with their own unique needs and expectations and, as such, requires a different persuasion angle.

With many leads, avoid a sales script entirely. Throw out the rehearsed speech and communicate in a more natural manner. This allows you to show the customer the depth of your knowledge about both the product and the problems you’re trying to solve.

Chatbots are a great addition for answering common queries, and the technology powering these AI tools is evolving all the time. If you’re looking to supplement your human efforts with a chatbot, ensure that it is versatile enough to handle a variety of needs and queries.

3. Do Enough Research Beforehand

In the case of a cold call, you need to have your research material on hand before initiating communication. No B2B company representative wants to speak to an unprepared salesperson. Make sure you are equipped with sufficient knowledge about the customer, their business, and their unique needs. If you can get information on things like required delivery timeframes and price expectations, so much the better.

If you’re adequately informed and understand your clients’ needs, they will be far more inclined to take the time to hear you out and seriously consider your pitch.

4. Sell Solutions

Sell solutions not products. Sales tip for ecommerce.

B2B sales is solution-oriented. A service or product addresses a business challenge other organizations are facing. As such, instead of selling a product and its great features, always focus on selling a solution to a problem.

Businesses turn to B2B solutions to enhance a certain area of their business process or end-consumer experience. Therefore, portraying an offering as a solution makes it more appealing to the target market. 

For example, Cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers, provide solutions to problems, not mere products.

Sell solutions to problems.

5. Follow Up Promptly and Effectively

The importance of follow-ups to the entire B2B sales process cannot be overstated. If you reach out to a prospective customer and don’t hear back, don’t be disheartened. Sometimes it can take two or three follow ups to get a response!

Give the prospect a week to get back to you and then, if you don’t hear back from them, send them a polite follow up email. 

Here's an example:

{Hey First Name}

You’re busy and on to something big. I get that. So, I’ll just leave something here that can help your team {{perform a business function}} more effectively, solve {a business challenge}, and drive {a desired benefit}.

Just let me know if you want to see the real thing in action. I’m free to chat on {date and time} or {date and time}, but I’d be happy to work on the best time and date for you.

Best regards,

{{Sender’s Name}}

There’s a fine line between following up and annoying someone. If they don’t respond after two or three attempts, cross them off your list and move on.

6. After-Sales Care

The relationship with a customer should not end when a sale is made. If you ignore them once you’ve closed the deal, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to build on the connection you’ve created. After-sales care is a vital part of the lifecycle of the company/client relationship.

Things like “thank you” emails and post-sale updates are prime examples of this. With a robust after-sales correspondence system, you can achieve a variety of things:

  • Find out how the customer feels about the product after use.
  • Give them supplementary information on using the product. Provide human guidance or helpful documentation.
  • Tell them about complementary products/services they might need.
  • Announce discounts, promotions, referral opportunities, etc that would be relevant based on their purchase or subscription. 

Therefore, make sure you continue making your customers feel valued long after they’ve signed on the dotted line. This is how you retain their business and achieve repeat purchases.

Conclusion

The B2B ecommerce space is a crucial - and growing - piece of the global economy. Much like humans, no business is an island in itself. With businesses meeting the demands of other businesses, things like manufacturing, logistics, and service delivery are operating and scaling at a much higher rate than ever before.

A combination of conscientious people management, heartful communication, and dedication to customer satisfaction places you in the best position to win at sales.

The B2B sales tips we’ve outlined for you in this article can serve as a foundational roadmap to ensure that you drive increased sales into the new year and beyond.