B2B buyers, once accustomed to the traditional and often cumbersome purchasing process, are now demanding seamless and personalized shopping experiences similar to those enjoyed by B2C consumers. Gone are the days when B2B transactions were solely driven by lengthy negotiations, rigid contracts, and impersonal interactions. Today's B2B buyers expect intuitive and frictionless online experiences, tailored product recommendations, efficient order management, and swift customer support. They desire the convenience and personalization that have become key attributes of B2C shopping.
As the expectations of these B2B buyers evolve, businesses are compelled to adapt and embrace innovative solutions that bridge the gap between the two worlds. And one such robust platform that is transforming the landscape of B2B transactions is Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud. Its cutting-edge capabilities enable businesses to deliver unparalleled customer experiences, revolutionizing how B2B buyers interact with suppliers and vendors.
In this blog, we will delve into:
- Understanding what is Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud
- What are the challenges marketers face when trying to deliver personalization to B2B organizations
- Why should you transform B2B commerce experiences similar to B2C ones
- The key attributes of Salesforce B2B Commerce that empowers personalization
- The best practices for delivering personalized experiences for B2B eCommerce
What is Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud?
The Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud is a platform that builds eCommerce storefronts tailored to B2B organizations with larger transaction amounts than other B2C businesses. These online solutions cater to other buying businesses than a B2C storefront that looks after end-users. It includes:
- A flexible and scalable architecture that can support various B2B business verticals.
- A robust set of APIs that allow businesses to integrate B2B Commerce Cloud with their existing systems and the Salesforce ecosystem.
- A wide range of out-of-the-box features, such as intuitive search functionality, easy-to-navigate and customize product catalogs, and quick order management tools, enabling businesses to scale their personalization efforts.
Top 6 challenges B2B organizations face when delivering personalization
As B2B buyers are becoming more familiar with conducting purchases online, they increasingly expect the same B2B experience attributes such as personalization, visual merchandising, and easy order management. Therefore B2B sellers now need to create their own unique online buying experience, akin to B2B eCommerce solutions, but tailored to consumers' specific needs and preferences.
However, this prospect is easier said than achieved. While the end goal for B2B enterprises is clear, the roadmap to the same is hurdled with challenges surrounding marketing dynamic, legacy solutions, and disconnected systems. Some of the major challenges of B2B eCommerce are:
Challenge #1: Complex purchase process
B2B transactions often involve multiple decision-makers, long sales cycles, and complex buying processes. Delivering personalized experiences requires faster decision-making across the key stakeholders, understanding and catering to the needs and preferences of various users. And with the evolving customer needs, achieving personalization and offers that align across decision-makers becomes challenging.
Challenge #2: Limited data availability
B2B companies deal with large amounts of customer data across multiple systems and platforms. Integrating and consolidating this data can be complex and time-consuming. With a unified view of customer data, it becomes easier to personalize the shopping experiences across users and offer custom solutions, at par with their shopping behavior.
Challenge #3: Security and privacy concerns
Enterprises globally are liable to follow specific regulations, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), to secure customer data. Gathering data has caught the attention of privacy supporters concerned about protecting the customers you are trying to reach. Since, balancing personalization with privacy and security concerns is vital, B2B has to ensure that data collection and usage comply with regulatory requirements and instill trust among their customers by being transparent with buyers about the data you collect and how you use it and providing options for preferences.
Challenge #4:Complex product catalogs
B2B companies possess extensive product catalogs with multiple variations, configurations and pricing structures based on the end B2B buyer. Personalizing recommendations and offerings based on such complexities can be challenging and require robust data management and product information systems.
Challenge #5: Relationship-based selling
B2B transactions are often driven by long-term relationships and personalized sales interactions. Balancing personalized digital experiences with traditional relationship-based selling models is crucial. Ensuring a seamless transition between online and offline touchpoints and aligning the sales team with personalized digital strategies can be challenging.
Challenge #6: Change management and other cultural barriers
Much to the agreement of all B2B enterprises’ workforce, personalization is not seen as a priority across all levels. While implementing personalization requires a transformation of mindset within a B2B enterprise, overcoming this resistance is critical to fostering a customer-centric culture. B2B enterprises and stakeholders need to see technologies and related processes and strategies as an ally to deliver B2C-like experiences to their B2B customers.
Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud features that powers B2B personalization
B2B companies are increasingly under pressure to adapt and provide B2C-like shopping experiences. The rise of digital commerce married with technologies such as AI, ML NLP, and cloud have transformed how consumers interact with businesses, and these evolving expectations have also extended to the B2B realm.
B2B buyers demand personalized experiences and expect companies to send them personalized offers. Receiving personalized offers has a major to moderate influence on their loyalty, and they would likely switch brands if a company didn’t make an effort to personalize communications with them. Meeting these expectations in B2B will have major revenue impacts. And this is exactly what a revolutionary platform like Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud offers:
#1. One-click orders
The one-click order feature allows B2B customers to quickly and easily reorder previously purchased products. It simplifies the purchasing process by manually eliminating the need to search for and add items to the shopping cart. Instead, customers can reorder products they need with just a single click, saving time and effort. It helps streamline the ordering process, reduces friction, and encourages repeat business by making it easier for customers to replenish their supplies.
#2. Smart search and product recommendations
Salesforce offers a highly responsive and efficient intelligent search feature, Einstein AI enables B2B buyers to obtain instant results. Moreover, with the assistance of Einstein GPT, customers can now input incomplete search phrases and still receive relevant product suggestions, even when their queries are ambiguous. The advantages of B2B search extend to generating actionable insights for your business and providing AI-powered recommendations to enhance the acquisition process for new visitors to your digital platforms, thereby accelerating growth.
#3. Endlessly configurable
The Salesforce B2B commerce solutions on the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform are also endlessly configured to seamlessly integrate CRM data to create a holistic view of the customer. This allows B2B to stay connected across multiple touchpoints by linking it to Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. This ensures customer data is available to anyone in the company at any time or device without integration.
#4. Real-time CRM
Salesforce enables you to leverage real-time CRM and quickly turn insights into moments that impress B2B buyers and foster customer loyalty. You can implement a feature of real-time churn alerts, which help your sales team instantly prompt you to engage with customers. Additionally, gathering real-time data lets you offer personalized pricing for each customer, tailoring every transaction to their preferences and market conditions. With the right data-driven insights, you can deliver intuitive and proactive services.
Salesforce B2B commerce solution automates the sales and marketing tasks that give customers self-service for routine interactions like ordering and product research. This relieves sales reps from the order catering burden and lets them solve bigger issues. It also automates the tasks like logging data, signing in, making customer notes, generating quotes and proposals for sales reps and making them focus more on prioritizing leads. Automation allows businesses to have time to research customers' needs and come up with a solution that can lead to a sale, eliminating administrative tasks.
#6: Order on behalf
Order on behalf is a Salesforce Service Cloud feature that allows customer service reps to place orders with the correct price and product on behalf of a B2B buyer. Earlier, every B2B organization order trigger notification based on the status change was entered manually. But now, sales and service teams enter orders on behalf of customers in an assisted selling notion with customers. This makes the long sales process short, expediting final purchases. To implement order on behalf Salesforce has recommended some best practices and solutions:
- Salesforce CRM provides an ordering component or triggers button, enabling order trigger notifications in just a click.
- Salesforce B2B commerce Lightning Experience powered by data models enables you to set up stores, products, catalogs and entitlements, while enhancing the scalability of the business.
- Salesforce B2B metrics and analytics provide tools to track KPIs, monitor metrics and use the data to improve and grow your storefront.
#7: Case Management approach
The case management functionality in B2B commerce enables businesses to efficiently track, manage and resolve customer cases. Earlier eCommerce setup cases were generated automatically through common basic channels such as CTI (Computer telephony integration) connectors, email-to-case and web-to-case. It worked primarily on silos and a first-come, first-serve basis. But now, with elevated customer expectations, B2B companies are practicing cases worked through one system or on-screen UI. Now the requests are routed to agents based on their relevant skills and availability. Some of the key recommendations from Salesforce are:
- Salesforce B2B commerce solution ensures that the case layout is clear, concise and easy for agents to understand.
- Salesforce provides collaboration spaces for agents like Chatter, Slack, or other social channels.
- In Salesforce B2B commerce, the web chat consists of a Chat console, omnichannel, embedded service and Einstein Bots to create a seamless experience.
- Salesforce optimizes chatbots to keep customers engaged and updated throughout the case lifecycle from their preferred channels.
#8: Contract pricing and entitlements
The traditional eCommerce platform offered pricing models based on full-price waterfall (global, regional segments, account) pricing methods. Now, B2B eCommerce opts for pricing strategies to promote new or underperforming products from campaign programs. Salesforce has suggested some of the key attributes that help in resolving complex pricing issues. It includes:
- Salesforce B2B commerce lets you personalize the catalog and pricing for logged-in users.
- Salesforce B2B allows customers to select between multiple channels for payments.
- It makes non-contract products available for purchase which are customized according to their needs and preferences.
- Salesforce Experience Cloud manages digital experience and workspaces to deliver a connected experience.
- Salesforce synchronizes product and pricing data to form a single source of truth in CPQ and B2B commerce.
- You can also integrate B2B commerce carts with CPQ to allow sales reps to finalize quotes and customers to complete orders.
- Salesforce links B2B commerce with CPQ billing and order information to improve cash and revenue management processes.
#9: Tailored store experience
Currently, B2B organizations provide the buyer with the ability to find and purchase products. Still, they need a unified portal and commerce experience via a single sign-on and navigation for a customized experience. Salesforce provides us with solutions for customized store experiences they are:
- According to the customers, Salesforce translates the site experience into the local language and currency upon the first visit.
- Salesforce allows B2B companies to segment customers based on various attributes such as purchase history and demographics and then offer personalized content based on the logged-in user and present search results and content on a basis of the target audience.
Unlock the power of Salesforce B2B Commerce with Ranosys
As customers expectations shift, enterprises must be agile and resilient to evolve their operations accordingly. Personalization in B2B is a continuous journey and the right platform will not only resolve the complex needs but will future-proof the delivery of an exceptional experience that is more aligned with your customers. As a trusted Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud partner with an extensive B2B portfolio globally, Ranosys can help you leverage the Salesforce B2B Commerce capabilities to its fullest and unlock the power of personalization. Connect with our Salesforce B2B Commerce consultants to take full advantage of the platform and set up your eCommerce store for assured success.