While e-commerce originally only affected the mass markets in BtoB, now it is entering the sales of complex products. We thought, in fact, at the premises of BtoB e-commerce, that it was impossible to sell a complex solution online in In creating this glossary Visionary Marketing came up against a major problem: should we write BtoB or B2B? such as an elevator or an industrial solution. This is no longer the case today, Bertrand Maugain told me, co-CEO ofIbexa* who I spoke to last week in this podcast. Although there is still the difference between an online transaction and buyer awareness at the top of the sales funnel.
From the irresistible rise of BtoB e-commerce towards complex products
*For transparency, we must specify that we have been a client of Ibexa, formerly known aseZ Publishand that Visionary Marketing has also accompanied the Norwegian company on many occasions since our creation in 2014.
The irresistible rise of e-commerce in BtoB
We were already talking about this phenomenon last year, but certainly under the impetus of the Covid, everything is changing. Starting, as always, with the countries of Northern Europe, with France following the movement. Much remains to be done, however.
Bertrand, on the occasion of an evening organized by the Norwegian company to celebrate the takeover of Ibexa by the Nordic group QNTM Group via Altor, a European investment fund, spoke to me about his vision for e- BtoB commerce in the field of the sale of complex products.
BtoB e-commerce is no longer a pipe dream, it’s a reality
The McKinsey report that has just been released is unequivocal: “BtoB buyers are not only migrating to omnichannel, they are already there” warns the American analyst. We will come back to this report one day soon. In the meantime, let’s see what is the vision of a major player in this DXP sector that has already moved a lot in the past few years to move out of the CMS and transform into an integrated tool intended to manage the customer experience.
“The more complex the product, the more attention must be paid to the customer experience”
“The more complex the product, for example a machine tool or an industrial elevator, the more it is necessary to take care of its customer experience”, emphasizes Bertrand Maugain. Previously, the machines were shown at events, face to face, you could touch them. Today, buyer expectations have evolved. They want to be able to access these products immediately, online and without waiting, as confirmed by the McKinsey report.
A B2B player, to sell his complex product, must provide rich content
A B2B supplier, in order to sell his complex product, must make this rich content available, this marketing packaging which, combined with a product presentation, will convince the customer who no longer sees his salesperson (and moreover no longer necessarily has want to meet him).
B2B e-commerce in the sale of complex products mainly affects the first stages of the sale
“It is important to distinguish between transactional e-commerce and digital transformation,” emphasizes Bertrand. For BtoB players who sell complex products with long sales cycles, the challenge in e-commerce is not to move to online transactions. After all, who will buy a complete elevator system for their office building in three clicks on the Internet? Probably nobody.
But the presentation of these complex products, mixed with a marketing message is crucial. It is aimed at a large number of different interlocutors, to whom the product must be presented and the message adapted.
For these numerous and diverse interlocutors, buyers or Buyer behavior in B2B: Internet and social networks have changed buyer behavior in B2B, which is closer to B2C of the complex sale, the In B2B, explain its vision, its work philosophy, its approach to the market, its methods and its secrets of implementation in websites, booklets, Webzines, newsletters, WebTV, etc. is a must. is extremely relevant
But that’s not all explains Bertrand. Beyond that, after having attracted a prospect, you have to be able to demonstrate your product, your technology, your know-how. It is thus necessary to retain these decision-makers, who will come to the supplier’s portal because they will know that this is where the information is found and that there are answers to the questions of its own customers.
This makes it possible to retain these different players, who will perhaps one day, when they are loyal, order directly via a portal where they can interact with a salesperson who will advise them in their choices.
In complex sales, the final transaction will not take place online, but the first phases of the sales cycle will take place online.
Marketing has already been transformed by digital. We are now entering into the transformations of sales cycles in B2B, notes Bertrand: from the presentation of the product, what it can do for me according to my buyer profile, and this is translated into several languages.
The PIM (product information management), combined in a DXP, makes it possible to do this, he underlines. Today, you need a CMS for marketing content, a PIM for product information, and combine all these elements to improve the presentation of your offer. In other words, a simple CMS is no longer enough.
Even in complex sales, it has become essential to document and explain things that were previously managed by face-to-face salespeople.
The United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia: one step ahead of France
In Germany, the An essential activity because B2B companies lose between 5% and 15% of their customers each year are already asking for this kind of solution when it is just beginning in France
“Perhaps it comes from our history. In France, we are very technical, very engineers,” explains Bertrand. The term DXP is itself already assimilated across the Rhine or in the Nordic countries, but less known in France.
In the United Kingdom, where web and marketing agencies reign supreme, migrations to these new marketing tools such as DXP, Martech tools, Salestech etc. are much faster too.
Towards transactional BtoB e-commerce?
We create digital roadmaps with our clients, emphasizes Bertrand. In Germany, they place transactional e-commerce in 3, 4 or 5 years. Their need today is not the transaction, but to transform the first stages of their sale and present these complex products online.
They don’t see e-commerce the same way we see it in France where we have the CMS silo, the e-commerce silo, and we try to integrate the two as best we can.
Sign of the times, Gartner stopped its Magic Quadrant on the CMS, this one having been replaced by the DXP.
The markets are moving in this direction at a more or less rapid speed. I am convinced that France is on the right path, emphasizes Bertrand. We see more and more projects of this type.
One of our clients, delabie.fr has launched a complete project where they present all their faucet ranges, combined with rich content.