Uncovering Digital Revenue

Digital revenue is hiding in your business: in your eCommerce channel, in your CPQ and subscription management tools. You can uncover it by launching new digital channels, automating and digitizing your existing solutions, and optimizing your digital experiences for your customers, partners, and associates.  

Your buyers are researching and discovering products and solutions online, in more channels than ever. They’re using multiple touchpoints, channels, and devices. So are your partners and associates, who want to work with your systems as quickly and efficiently as possible.  

B2B eCommerce Trends

For B2B companies willing to make changes and integrate new processes and technologies, there is the potential for five times more revenue growth

“Once seen as secondary to in-person sales, the eCommerce channel has rocketed to the forefront since 2020 and is now a key purchasing gateway for many corporate buyers,” finds McKinsey Research. “Despite this, misconceptions abound, with a number of B2B companies telling us that ‘customers aren't ready’ and ‘eCommerce is an immature space for businesses like ours.’”

“Not only are corporate buyers open to eCommerce, two-thirds now rely on digital and remote channels throughout their purchasing journey. While some B2B companies see eCommerce as the purview of cutting-edge tech players, the reality is that suppliers across industries are ramping up their capabilities at astonishing speeds.”

Additionally, eCommerce is no longer just for smaller transactions. In fact, 15 percent of B2B decision makers “are comfortable making purchases totaling more than $1 million online.”

“More than 80 percent say they hold their eCommerce channel to the same or higher standard as other channels and that it offers the same or better levels of excellence in product and service availability, pricing, performance guarantees, shipping and delivery, and personalized recommendations,” reports McKinsey.

Providing quality eCommerce capabilities is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Further research from McKinsey also makes it clear that this digital platform is moving ahead in comparison to other channels and in-person sales, driving more than 18 percent of all revenue for the average B2B company.

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B2B Selling is Hybrid and On Demand

The sales model is changing from what we conventionally know it to be. Customers now act independently, sifting through information and making purchases online with assistance from the sales department on demand.

Gartner Research makes it clear that customers are driving requirements for improved online technology:

“Sales leaders must deliver significant value through digital and omnichannel sales models, aided by sales professionals who can steer self-learning customers toward more confident decisions.”

“B2B buyers spend only 17% of the total purchase journey with sales reps. Because the average deal involves multiple suppliers, a sales rep gets roughly 5% of a customer’s total purchase time. And 44% of millennials prefer no sales rep interaction at all in a B2B setting,” states Gartner.

B2B Case Studies: 3 Brands that Are Winning in Digital

Home Depot is investing in a B2B experience designed for contractors. This tool allows contractors to create quotes, share their cart with members of their team, create lists, re-order easily, and more. Beyond that, they are listening to and building for their customers’ needs. In their Q3 2022 earnings call, they reported “Our pros [contractors] tell us that finding qualified, skilled labor is a pain point in their business. To that end, we recently announced a Path to Pro platform, connecting skilled tradespeople with hiring trades professionals. This unique and proprietary platform is available at no cost to all Pro Xtra members." The results: higher sales, more participation in their B2B ecosystem, and removing friction in their digital and business pathways.

Grainger subsidiary Zoro has seen sales “mushroom” due to their digital platforms, including websites, internet vending machines, and EDI. The Zoro eCommerce platform acts as a destination for industrial equipment as well as business supplies. Their sales rose 27.4 % to $276 million as of the third quarter this year. Increases are the result of growing registered customers online and their level of inventory, with 10.3 million available SKUs.

The distributor Fastenal has seen real results in revenue growth due to eCommerce, which they say is “becoming part of their DNA.” Third quarter results for 2022 showed growth of 18% in eCommerce sales, with 52% of their branches doing more than 10% of their revenue in eCommerce. Known mainly as a distributor of industrial and construction products, they also rely on revenue from digital sales like internet vending machines and a variety of other channels.

B2B Digital Selling

By tapping into digital sales channels, B2B enterprises can capitalize on customer service-oriented features like personalization and self-service, which not only reduce the cost of doing business by automating some processes, but increase customer satisfaction by offering on-demand purchasing options. 

B2B organizations that have focused on digital transformation have reported significant ROI, and customers are increasingly expecting digital options.

Don’t let the fear of navigating digital transformation for B2B prevent your business from reaping the benefits of eCommerce.

And if you’re not sure where to start, reach out to the team of experts at Object Edge.

About the Author

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Sarah Falcon

VP, Marketing Global

Sarah is a nimble and creative marketing leader with 15 years of experience in a mix of agencies, B2B, and B2C enterprises. She brings a background in building and driving impactful marketing practices and processes for growing businesses. Sarah has expertise in brand, content marketing, lead generation, and marketing operations. She’s a co-author of the 2019 book on B2B eCommerce Digital Branch Secrets: eCommerce Playbook for Distributors.

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