The New Realities of B2B Sales (Part 2)

In “The New Realities of B2B Sales (Part 1)”, we discussed shifts in Business-to-Business (B2B) due to the growing number of Millennials in the B2B market as well as the difference between strategic procurement and purchasing.

In Part 2, we have outlined two more changes to the realities of B2B sales and marketing due to shifts in the industry.

Reality 3: Competition is Global, Local, and Trans-Industry

Today, competition is local, global, and across industries. There are no longer any reliable boundaries that protect insiders. Competition can come from anywhere, in any shape, and in any size.

The Internet and the accelerated globalization resulting from it are changing market structures faster and faster, creating space for new entrants. Companies must be constantly vigilant in order to identify and close out these gaps. B2B companies in the US are generally slower in perceiving these changes since they are primarily looking at domestic markets. They miss competitors from outside the US and from outside their industries. They postpone changing until the pain and risk of innovation becomes less painful than the cost of maintaining the current company situation. This stagnation and commitment to the status quo makes it difficult for B2B companies to grow in their current geographic markets, let alone compete globally.

Global competition— from countries such as Brazil, China, and India— is increasing, as businesses in these countries are quick to identify and exploit new opportunities. These rising global powers are less tied to old ways; they readily embrace and encourage change in their sectors. US companies will have to “adapt or die” in order to remain relevant in their industries. They need to integrate the Internet, social media, and mobile applications into their sales models.

Reality 4: Digital Transformation of B2C Industries

In 2015, The Accenture Digital Transformation Study argued that the advent and modernization of technology has placed consumers in control of purchasing. With a plethora of eager sellers at their fingertips, consumers are now free to choose companies whose products meet their exact requirements. Consumers now demand valuable, relevant, high-quality content which can be accessed anywhere at any time. To remain competitive and profitable, businesses have little choice but to embrace these consumer demands.

B2C industries are attempting to meet the needs of their customer bases by turning to digital marketing and selling platforms, particularly in the mobile arena. Now and more than ever, the quality of the experience customers have while interacting and buying from a company is the biggest indicator of whether or not they will repurchase. In response, B2C companies are attempting to set themselves apart and improve customer satisfaction through digitized sales platforms.

However, traditional B2C industries such as Financial Services, Retail, Travel, and Education are unsure whether to delegate online marketing and sales to in-house staff or to outsource. Over 90% of B2C companies now use 3rd party contracted companies to manage their digital marketing initiatives.  While they are figuring that out, high tech startups are taking away their customers by offering the same services faster, easier, and cheaper. Vendors that sell to B2C companies must step in and help their customers or lose them one by one as they go out of business.

These are some of the fundamental changes taking place in B2B selling. Sellers that are not making the necessary shifts to adapt to these changes will find it harder and more expensive to grow sales.