Remember that impossible-to-fold Rand McNally map that’s buried somewhere beneath the old sunglasses and tire-pressure gauge in the glove box of your car? Although a bit dated compared to modern GPS, the idea of a roadmap fits with today’s topic: Mapping to Modern Customers.
Plain and simple: A roadmap helps you get to a desired destination as quickly as possible. You depart from point A and navigate a tangled web of roads, rivers, valleys, mountain ranges, and myriad other obstacles to eventually arrive at point B.
For businesses, particularly B2B companies, attracting and retaining modern buyers means traversing the winding pathways of the B2B customer journey. With numerous options out there, buyers often wander, and it can be difficult for companies to determine the best way to pull-in today’s fickle buyers.
To avoid getting lost and left behind by today’s customers, businesses require an accurate map — a map of the modern customer journey.
B2B Customers Travel Many Different Roads to Your Business
In the past, buyers dutifully followed their sage guides, B2B sales teams. However, times have changed and buyers now do pre-purchase reconnaissance independently before looping back to a vendor, dealer, or sales representative to complete the transaction — in some cases, depending on the complexity of the product or service, a buyer may opt to buy without ever leaving a business’s commerce portal or website.
So how do you connect with a buyer that’s jumping channels to complete a transaction? Well, businesses must now offer multiple roads to entry and engagement. These pathways need to intersect and allow buyers to merge onto the roadway of his or her choice.
What we’re talking about here is a B2B omnichannel delivery strategy that is seamless, connected and focused on delivering a customer-centric experience.
Let’s take a look at the three roads or channels we mentioned above, list some of the positives and negatives, and highlight some strategies for connecting these channels to accurately map to B2B customers.
1. Direct Sales
A well-traveled roadway, to be sure, direct sales teams continue to deliver value to B2B buyers as they guide customers through the path to purchase. Although many businesses are gradually migrating customers to online and self-service channels, for many companies with complex product and service offerings, direct sales still plays a pivotal role.
2. Indirect Partners, Vendors & Value-Added Resellers
B2B manufacturers often rely on vast networks of partners and resellers to get their products to market. The challenging aspects of these relationships arise when you introduce highly-configurable products and services, pricing changes, bundling, discounting, promotions, and numerous other variables that are essential to any business. To accurately reflect these changes across a vast network of resellers can be incredibly taxing and often introduces errors that kill revenue.
3. Ecommerce and Direct Buying
For B2B businesses, ecommerce represents a significant opportunity to generate revenue, cut costs, and attract and retain customers. The challenge for enterprises is bringing the entire organization online — not just a portion of their product catalog. With thousands or even millions of SKUs, tangled webs of resellers and constantly evolving business rules, pricing, products and customers, these organizations need more than just a PIM to ensure customers get the comprehensive digital experience they expect.
Building a Connected Buying and Selling Highway Across Your B2B Enterprise
For these three roads or channels to work effectively, businesses need to find a way to connect them. Configure, Price, Quote or CPQ, is the solution many companies have implemented to connect and extend the capabilities of their existing buying and selling channels.
More than just quote-to-cash or linear selling tools, enterprise CPQ allows businesses to take advantage of a $1 trillion opportunity by sourcing, rationalizing and distributing all their data from a single source.
Now, direct sales teams can leverage data to offer upsell and cross-sell opportunities, price and quote products in real time, and feel confident knowing the data they are relying on to complete the transaction is 100% accurate. Partners experience similar benefits as they can adjust pricing and product offerings on the fly.
For ecommerce, CPQ makes it possible for direct users to configure solutions on their own using drag and drop as well as 2D and 3D image modeling. Once a custom configuration is assembled online, a user can send proposals to sales teams and work directly with a representative or vendor to complete the sale, all while working within a dynamic environment to update the proposal, contract, billing, and more.
FPX Connects B2B Businesses to Today’s Buyers
With FPX enterprise CPQ solution, today’s leading organizations are optimizing buying and selling experiences across all channels — sales, partners and vendors, as well as ecommerce — driving revenue, maximizing profit margins, and nurturing customer loyalty and engagement.
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