(Image credit/Pixabay/Narciso1)The vast majority of B2B decision makers say increasing digital expectations from customers or partners is their top external threat. Eighty-four percent of respondents confirmed this particular threat. This is one of the key learnings to emerge from a survey undertaken by Episerver. As a result, B2B leaders look to automate marketing, ordering and personalisation with AI and key technology investments.

For “B2B Digital Experiences Report 2019: How Companies Are Meeting Rising Expectations” (registration required), Episerver surveyed 700 B2B decision-makers across the globe. The survey sought to learn about priorities, plans, tactics and technologies – and surface pain-points, key challenges and barriers to growth. The decision-makers came from the US, UK, Germany, Sweden and Australia. Respondents were employed full-time by enterprise manufacturing, distribution, retail and service provider organisations. The survey was conducted between July 3, 2019 and Aug. 1, 2019.

Personalised content – Top of the pops

Personalised content is top of list with business-to-business organisations. The survey found the main website feature/functionality B2Bs plan to adopt in the next 12 months is personalised content (36%). This followed by improvements to the mobile experience (33%). Eighty-two percent of B2Bs agree they’ll use artificial intelligence (AI) to personalise customer experiences online in the next three years.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Deane Barker)
Deane Barker, senior director of content management strategy at Episerver

Deane Barker, senior director of content management strategy at Episerver said: “Consumers expect more from our organisations every day. Unfortunately, the accounting department expects…well, less. Digital marketers are in a tug-of-war between rising expectations and dwindling budgets.

“With this report, we’ve looked at the factors pushing and pulling these teams toward their decision points. If you work in digital marketing, I promise you’ll see yourself somewhere in these results.”

B2B – still digital laggards?

The rise of one-click checkout, buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) and next-day delivery, speed and convenience, has come to define what business customers expect in their experiences with B2B brands. In response, more B2B decision-makers are looking to streamline the buyer journey with enhanced personalisation and more self-serve functionalities. In fact, pricing on website, self-service functionality and easy scheduling with a salesperson are the top three ways B2Bs can make it easier for business users to work with them online.

The report shows B2Bs are already planning to open up direct, online selling paths to uncover new revenue sources. Seventy-two percent of respondents indicating that by 2025 the majority of company’s B2B revenue will come from their eCommerce websites.

Once the digital laggards of marketing and ecommerce, B2Bs are now looking to automate these functions with AI. Even if that means replacing human workers. Sixty percent of B2Bs will use AI to replace human workers for marketing functions by 2022.

Other key findings include:

  • Ninety-one percent of respondents say B2Bs care about their experience. Or provide a better experience when the content on the website is personalised to them.
  • Twenty-one percent of B2B decision-makers believe delivering personalised customer experiences through digital channels is a significant opportunity for their business.
  • As it stands now, the majority (51%) of B2Bs currently use basic web personalisation such as displaying name on login.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

This was a really interesting report about the challenges and opportunities businesses face when selling to other businesses. Like consumers, business buyers expect interactions with companies to be effortless. They do not care why something doesn’t work the way it should – only that it does work. Even if they struggle with the same challenges at their own companies.

The internet affords all of us the opportunity to quickly click away. To sign up with an organisation that makes accomplishing our goals easier. Whether it is through personalised pricing or peer reviews. This quick churn often results in businesses never getting the chance to save relationships or potential revenue.

It’s not just local competition. Business competes globally whether it has an international strategy or not. Even with all these challenges, the report says companies are still optimistic about their future, and look forward to meeting these challenges.


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