Distribution platforms can assist in the B2B sales process
Gartner research shows B2B buyers want more simplicity in accessing the right information for their purchase decisions.
"In today's increasingly complex B2B sales environment, what customers truly value are suppliers that provide them with the right information, through the right channels, to make the purchase process easier."
This sentence comes straight out of press release issued by world-renowned research firm Gartner last month. Titled: Gartner says B2B buyers want more simplicity in accessing the right information, with or without a sales rep, the release mentions that today's customers spend around two-thirds of any B2B buying journey gathering, processing and de-conflicting information.
That, clearly, is a lot of time devoted to what should ideally be a simple process, and no doubt impacts negatively on a business in terms of efficiency and, ultimately, profitability.
Brent Adamson, principal executive advisor at Gartner, mentions that supplying customers with the right kind of information, specifically designed to enable the easy completion of buying jobs, and support, significantly decreases the kind of purchase regret known to reduce customer loyalty and advocacy. At the same time, it dramatically increases a supplier's likelihood of winning a larger deal at a better price.
Today's customers spend around two-thirds of any B2B buying journey gathering, processing and de-conflicting information.
This is one of the areas where the always-on and real-time digital nature of IT distribution platforms can make a difference to the sales process. Products such as ChannelCenter bring automation workflows to the channel sales process, with quotes, orders, invoices and payments all being managed within the platform.
ChannelCenter's marketplace feature provides customers with a comprehensive database of products along with specs for comparison purposes, while a basic software asset management (SAM) feature is included for user convenience. The licence management system includes automated licence renewal functionality designed to drive annuity revenue as well.
"Much like sales enablement, sales organisations must focus on what we call 'buyer enablement'," adds Adamson. "Sales teams need to harness empathy, and their deep industry and customer knowledge to develop and deploy information to help buyers buy, just as they do to enable sellers to sell more easily."
ChannelCenter's marketplace feature provides customers with a comprehensive database of products, along with specs, for comparison purposes.
Gartner thus recommends that organisations do the following:
Identify customer pain points: Uncover the hurdles/challenges customers must overcome along the purchase process.
Create buyer enablement tools: Develop specific information and resources to help customers anticipate and overcome challenges throughout the buying journey.
Be consistent across channels: Ensure buyer enablement is available to all customers consistently across both digital and seller channels.
A dedicated IT distribution platform certainly qualifies as a buyer enablement tool, as well as a whole lot more. In boosting the ease of doing business via greater convenience and improved buyer, seller and customer experience, a distribution platform not only provides B2B buyers with more simplicity in accessing the right information, but leads to increased customer retention too.