Change is difficult. Behavioral experts say it’s very natural to resist change — which may be why we drive the same way to work every day, eat at the same restaurants, and choose the same brands even when we have more choices.
It may even explain why, to my wife’s dismay, I sleep in the same worn-out t-shirt bearing the name of my high school football team. “We were undefeated.” I remind her. “Wow,” she replies sarcastically. “I’ll bet Taylor Swift would drop Travis Kelce if she knew that.”
For most businesses, one basic choice they must make is how and where they sell their services. That usually comes down to in-person or online. Companies that sell B2B (Business-to-Business) products like steel, construction projects, or industrial services, usually operate under the impression that “nothing happens” — no sale is made — until there is an in-person meeting or at least voice contact with the prospect.
Even with websites and marketing, interest generated by trade and digital ads pushed sales leads to B2B websites. Once there, the prospect might request some information, a phone call, or preferably — a meeting.
If there was anything “good” about the COVID-19 pandemic, it was businesses who learned to use online tools like Zoom and Teams to conduct meetings. That was a game changer for many businesses. It makes you wonder if you can meet online, why can’t you buy and sell online? Duh.
WHAT CAN’T YOU BUY ONLINE?
After the pandemic, all sorts of businesses began selling online. Even professionals like physicians, mental health therapists, and others were successful in moving online. And while buying online is hardly a new concept, large purchases online are still rare. There are exceptions. Back in 1999, billionaire Mark Cuban purchased a $40 million jet online. Since then, multi-million dollar purchases of luxury and collectible items on online auction houses have become more common.
WHAT ABOUT B2B?
Can B2B sell online? Yes. Accounting services like Intuit sign up hundreds of clients every day without ever speaking to prospects in person. Hubspot, Go-Daddy, and other services do the same.
But there are many more moving in that direction. According to Commercetools.com, an estimated 60% of leading B2B companies had either zero or limited eCommerce capabilities at the start of the pandemic, in the span of two years, the picture is the opposite: In early 2021, 53% of B2B companies across industry sectors offered eCommerce capabilities, further climbing to 65% in February 2022.
The market is ready. 86% of B2B decision-makers prefer using self-service tools for reordering rather than talking to a sales representative. 35% of B2B buyers are willing to spend $500,000 or more in a single transaction through remote or online sales channels2
The key advantage of selling online is the ability to reach a vast customer base. This global reach expands your potential customer base exponentially, which should increase the likelihood of sales.
Competition can be fierce online. Standing out from the crowd and attracting customers requires effective marketing strategies, excellent customer service, and innovative product offerings.
Building a strong online presence through social media, search engine optimization, and online advertising is crucial for success in the online marketplace — this may require a dedicated team or third-party service to manage the effort.
You need to embrace change to grow. If you have a B2B product or service you should consider selling online.
Do I embrace change in my business? Yes. Do I embrace change in my personal life? Yes — just not when it comes to my team t-shirt.