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COMMENTARY

B2B Headbangers: Buyers List Their Main Frustrations

by Ray Schultz , Columnist, June 14, 2021

Vendors of B2B email services could be facing sales issues as buyers turn to ecommerce, judging by “No more excuses: the time for digital transformation is now,” a study by Avionos.

Of the companies polled, 90% will change suppliers if a firm’s digital channel can’t meet their needs — up from 88% last year.

But 87% will pay more for a supplier with an excellent ecommerce portal, versus 81% in 2020 and 74% in 2019.

Still, that is not easy to find. In fact, buying online has become more difficult for these reasons:

– I make more purchases online now, so I notice issues more — 54%

– I now expect buying online for my business to be as seamless and easy as buying online as a consumer, so my expectations are higher — 19%

– Issues directly related to COVID-19 (e.g., supply-chain disruptions) have made it more difficult to complete the ecommerce buying process — 18%

Viewed a different way, the top three ecommerce tasks that became more difficult are:

  • Working with sales representatives — 51%
  • Delivery/fulfillment — 49%
  • Working with customer service — 44%

What can suppliers do to improve the customer experience? Buyers would like to see these actions:

  • Ensuring online product information is up-to-date and accurate — 58%
  • Making ecommerce websites and/or apps more user-friendly — 44%
  • Making it easier to contact a human for technical support * offering digital invoicing — 31%
  • Understanding product specifications/configurations — 53%
  • Finding product or service information that is up-to-date — 48%
  • Inconsistent product or service information across channels — 43%
  • Understanding pricing — 37%
  • Understanding how products would fit my business — 33%

The switch to ecommerce is also making it harder on salespeople. The top places to start the purchase process are:

  • A suppliers website or portal — 35% (up from 33% in 2020)
  • Google — 30% (versus 30% in 2020)
  • Amazon Business — 16% (compared with 11% in 2020).
  • Direct contact with a sales rep or supplier — 9% (down from 21% in 2020)

Some buyers also have issues with their suppliers’ technology. They cite these pain points:

  • Difficult to integrate with our own solutions or processes — 42%
  • Adds extra steps to the sales process (e.g., requesting multiple logins to differentiate systems) — 37%
  • Suppliers haven’t adopted tech solutions in areas where they’d be useful — 36%

In general, the past year has been a tough one for B2B companies (and for everyone). In response, they have done the following:

  • Shifted to full-time remote work — 66%
  • Adopted video conferring software — 59%
  • Adopted cloud software — 45%
  • Adopted digital invoicing — 37%
  • Migrated from desktops to laptops — 33%
  • Automated tasks with RPA — 24%

Avionis surveyed 150 B2B buyers in the manufacturing, financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors.