Consumer-grade experiences are essential B2B differentiators

The imperative for B2B brands to deliver consumer-quality experiences as essential differentiators was a prominent theme at Salesforce’s Connections 2018 conference in Chicago earlier this month.

The consumerization of B2B companies is a building wave that will upset those who don’t embrace the transition. Salesforce itself is leveraging its recent B2B commerce platform CloudCraze.

Despite their traditional back-end complexity, B2B companies must attain UX simplicity. B2C consumers have long become accustomed to buying with once click and enjoying rich, engaging content. However, when they go to work they are confronted with legacy, green-screen ERP complexity, no engaging UI and no relevant communication and promotions.

Ok, B2B transactions can be complex, lengthy and involve a small army of stakeholders, influencers and decision makers, but successfully addressing this complexity must become an opportunity.

The consumerization of B2B means making the relationship as easy and as efficient as possible. It can typically mean going more direct, often by empowering the distribution channel with data.

It also means getting the so-called “middle office”, as distinct from the ERP back-end, better connected directly to the customer-facing front end so that configuring, pricing and quoting (CPQ) and contract life cycle management (CLM) flows far more smoothly and effectively than has been the norm for traditional B2B players.

I like the word flow. Are we, as a B2B organisation, flowing? Are we identifying and removing our internal, self-imposed and self-maintained legacy constraints? Are we acknowledging that the old B2B and B2C distinctions are less and less relevant as next-generation business tech mandates that we converge around H2H, Human-to-Human commerce?

1 year ago