JC Lupis | Marketing Charts | Tue, 30 May 2017 13:00:33 +0000

Customers today have higher expectations on their experiences they have in the buying process. So say 7 in 10 professionals with responsibility for sales/commerce technologies at B2B firms. The majority of respondents, surveyed by Forrester Consulting for FPX [download page], also feel that customers will shift their loyalty based on their experiences.

That brings to mind prior research from Accenture Strategy in which two-thirds of B2B professionals around the world agreed that new entrants to their industry use customer experience as their key differentiator. More recently, an Econsultancy study likewise found that in order to differentiate their brands in the coming years, B2B marketers will focus foremost on the customer experience.

According to most B2B execs responding to the FPX survey, customers today are looking for a more convenient buying process (62%) and expect a more digital experience (58%). Respondents were in slightly less agreement about customers’ desire for more mobile capabilities (49%), though.

Providing a consistent and high-quality sales experience is a challenge, however. Two-thirds feel that it’s at least somewhat difficult to provide such an experience in direct channels, and more than three-quarters feel the same about indirect or a mix of direct and indirect channels. The most common obstacles encountered when selling through direct channels is leveraging disparate systems to find the right information (51%).

As for sales channels, the results indicate that an average of 35% of respondents’ B2B sales come e-commerce systems, though ideally they’d want that figure to be more than half. The biggest impediment to achieving higher revenue from e-commerce sales is products and services having to be sold with other third-party products and services, cited by a majority (54%) of respondents.

About the Data: Forrester conducted an online survey of 406 B2B firms in the US (25%), Canada (26%), the UK (19%), Germany (17%), and the Netherlands (13%). Survey participants included decision makers in IT (24%), finance (23%), operations (21%), marketing (17%), and sales (15%) responsible for selecting sales technology at their organization. The study began in January 2017 and was completed in March 2017. All respondents came from firms with at least 500 employees.