Throughout our five-part series, “The New Rules of B2B Buying and Selling,” we’ve presented a case for why the rules of B2B commerce have changed, the obstacles preventing businesses from adapting their processes to comply with these new rules, as well as solutions for overcoming said obstacles.
To wrap things up, we'll address the internal opposition you may face when pursuing a new UX strategy, as well as discuss some suggestions for generating awareness and building support within your organization.
Why don't more businesses adopt modern UX strategies?
Just like other large-scale business projects, getting your organization to buy-in on UX can be, well, a real pain. The disparate interests of stakeholders, getting everyone to set clear goals, agreeing on scope and scale, determining project ownership, and establishing metrics for gauging success are just a few of the issues organizations must deal with before a project can get off the ground.
Compounding these issues are the blatant misconceptions many key stakeholders have regarding UX and its benefits, including:
- The idea that UX is only about spending money to augment the user interface to look “pretty”
- That there are not enough viable metrics for justifying the cost of implementing a UX strategy
- That B2B buyers are conditioned to using existing systems and don’t want to change, i.e., “We’re not Amazon, so why do we need a UI that looks like a consumer retail site?”
- Bringing in UX experts and other technology vendors to try to solve these seemingly insignificant problems is cost prohibitive
Of course, there are countless other excuses businesses make for maintaining the status quo when it comes to customer or user experience. However, leading analysts, including those at Forrester Research, agree that B2B user expectations have evolved and that improving UX is imperative to achieving success. From internal sales teams, vendor and partner networks, to your end-users/customers utilizing ecommerce solutions, all expect a B2C-like digital experience when interacting with your business.
Although there are numerous parties involved in complex B2B engagements, it really comes down to acknowledging this simple truth:
Your B2B buyers and sellers are the same people who rely on ecommerce sites like Amazon for nearly all their day-to-day purchases, the same people who are in love with their Netflix accounts, and the same folks who turn to their tablets and mobile phones to research products and services as well as complete purchases from any place at any time.
Don’t think of your B2B constituents as faceless logos or just a sales staff to be appeased. Instead, always remember that they are people who expect to be treated as such.
How can I get my business to buy-in on UX?
In 2017, successful businesses will prioritize improvements to the digital user experience. Forrester Research’s report, “The Digital Customer Experience Improvement Playbook For 2016,” provides insights into the need for improved UX as well as key components to accomplish a successful implementation, including:
- Search and navigation
- Quality content
- Tracking progress and workflow
- Avoiding errors and recovery capabilities
- Ensuring privacy and trust
To help you better build a case for improved UX, we’ve put together some other key points that we think will make the difference in gathering support for your UX project:
- Ask the question, What are we trying to accomplish? - We talked about “technology-out” strategies in a previous post. In summary, every business has inefficiencies and problems, but single, one-off solutions are not necessarily the answer. By looking at the bigger picture and understanding how a single problem might be part of a broader systemic issue affecting your sales teams, partners, back-office departments, as well as your customers, you can make a smarter plan that solves these bigger issues.
- Know your user/customer - Problems affecting the user experience shouldn’t only be viewed through the lens of the customer. To be sure, end users and customers are key, but what about your internal teams? They work in these tools and engage with customers at a variety of touchpoints. If they don’t find your solutions helpful, they won’t adopt them. When determining your goals for an improved UX, take the time to understand the behaviors and preferences of your customers as well as your internal users.
- Determine how will you measure/gauge improvement and overall success - A challenge for any UX project is determining impact and success. This is as simple as asking, What constitutes a ‘win’ for us? And as complex as saying, How do we quantify as well as qualify the impact of our solution? To be successful, there are financial metrics as well as user-behavior metrics that need to be considered. Are you attracting more users? Are you retaining those users? Have sales processes improved? Are you seeing more revenue, increased deal size, faster sales cycles and greater close rates? All these occurrences can be attributed to an improved user experience - you just have to track them so you can get the credit.
- Get everyone on the same page - This should be obvious to anyone trying to implement a UX solution. UX and supporting technologies are powerful and will affect all aspects of your organization. So clearly, it’s important to get input and support from all stakeholders. By working collaboratively, you can gain fresh perspective, identify and avoid unforeseen problems, better map your user and customer journey, and seize opportunities for helping your business processes run smoothly.
Ready to start improving the experience of buying and selling?
At FPX, we have witnessed firsthand the impact UX has on a business's ability to attract and retain customers.
As a leader in the configure-price-quote (CPQ) space, we understand the power of streamlining and simplifying complex processes to help sales team sell, partners operate more intelligently, and allowing end users to engage with businesses on their own terms. With our Experience Management Platform of applications (featuring Smart CPQ), we help global organizations tap into the power of an improved digital experience.
To learn more about FPX, CPQ and how improving the B2B digital experience is at the heart of what we do, reach out to us at FPX.com, take a look at our blog and become a subscriber to discover more.