At this point in the eCommerce era, B2B retailers are likely deeply familiar with the importance of creating a digital experience for customers. 

In fact, per a Hubspot study, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. In 2021, slow-loading websites cost retail companies $2 billion in sales, and users abandoned sites if they didn’t load within 3 seconds. User experience is more important than ever, and customers no longer tolerate a poor one.

Yet the other end of the equation - employees - are all too often still subjected to a bad user experience. This not only directly impacts employee satisfaction, but it also slows down efficiency, results in more errors, and affects business processes negatively. 

Smart B2B retailers have recognized this and are seizing the opportunity to improve the digital experience for their associates so that they improve productivity and efficiency, reduce errors, and increase employee satisfaction.

The Impact of Digitization in Backend Software

As already noted, when it comes to digitization, companies most often focus the majority of their efforts on customer-facing channels. 

Yet according to Capgemini, 60% of customer dissatisfaction can be traced back to ineffective support and administration from the back office. The link between streamlined backend experiences and customer satisfaction is clear. 

Compounding this, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted not only the way companies interact with their customers, but how they do businesses entirely. Many businesses moved to remote or hybrid models, accelerating the need for successful digital experiences for employees. In fact, a 2022 Forrester report revealed that 66% of enterprise leaders plan to pursue hybrid or fully remote workplace models.

With the shift in both customer expectations and business processes, digitization has never happened more quickly. Per McKinsey, since COVID-19, there’s been a three year global acceleration of digitization in retail. And while increased customer demand for online shopping and services was second of the top four accelerated categories, the other three - increase in remote working, increase in advanced technologies for operations, and increase in advanced technologies for business decision-making - are all back office focused.

These trends are propelling companies forward, rapidly - and thus far they’ve seen incredible value in making digital improvements to backend experiences.

The Value of Improving Backend Experiences

Improving backend systems does require an investment of resources, time, and talent. Yet the investment pays off, particularly in these three areas: improving efficiencies, reducing errors, and enhancing user experience, all of which have a direct impact on revenue.

There’s a host of backend systems - CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), CMS (Content Management System), eCommerce, and more for which this case can be made.

Let’s look at CPQ. CPQ solutions allow companies to quickly and accurately generate complex sales quotes for configurable products. Quotes created via CPQ software follow a predetermined set of rules, accounting for a long list of variables, like: quantity, customization, optional features, discounts, etc. 

Even better, CPQ often works in tandem with other solutions, like CRM platforms or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) programs, which provides integrated data and simplifies business operations. 

Yet perhaps the most exciting thing about CPQ is its direct impact on revenue. CPQ solutions minimize the time sales reps have to spend doing things other than selling, and consequently, they are able to increase revenue by focusing on more critical things. In fact, according to a Salesforce report, sales teams have reported: 

CPQs impact on sales team graphic

While Sales is the obvious area impacted by CPQ, it’s just the beginning. Finance is another area of business where CPQ can increase revenue.

Most organizations spend a significant amount of time trying to forecast both revenue and expenses. Thanks to the robust data CPQ provides, financial forecasting is easier - and more accurate - than ever.

But that’s just one example. Consider the impacts of transitioning from a traditional CMS to a headless one. 

Since the early days of web development, traditional CMS systems (i.e., WordPress) have been used to store the images, videos, and text that make up a website. These elements were written directly into the code and were only capable of being used in one linear fashion.

Fast-forward to the present day, where companies can now initiate touchpoints and nurture leads in a variety of different ways outside of the traditional website structure of text, video, and images. Now, the inclusion of mobile apps, drip campaigns, digital displays, virtual assistants, and other digital platforms helps create a much larger, all-encompassing user journey. To stay ahead of the competition, you need a CMS that is flexible enough to adapt to these ever-evolving digital platforms. 

This is where a headless CMS system steps in, and serves as an asset repository that organizes existing content, then uses APIs to map that content to a specific digital platform, device, or display method. With a headless CMS, your hosting and delivery live in the cloud, making it secure, flexible, and configurable anytime, from anywhere.

The business benefits are significant. Content can be created without dependencies, cross-platform publishing is quicker than ever, developers can select desired frameworks rather than conforming to one programming language, companies can tap into best-of-breed architecture, and upgrades are a thing of the past. That alone can be a significant source of cost-savings, as IT teams spend on average, 40% of their time delivering upgrades. 

These are just a handful of examples illustrating how investing in backend experiences delivers results in ROI in numerous ways.

The Significance of Employee Satisfaction

While we’ve established the trend towards digitization and the value in doing so within your backend programs, perhaps the most significant impact of investing in a digital experience for associates is the impact on employee satisfaction.

Arguably, your employees are your most important resource. Yet most companies don’t invest in the employee experience accordingly. Consequently, only 13% of employees cite being satisfied with their employee experience, per a Gartner survey

Employers have started to recognize that this is an abysmal statistic, one which directly impacts the quality of customer service they can provide. An article by the Harvard Business Review extensively unpacked this correlation, noting that on a 1 to 5 scale of employee satisfaction, for everyone one level improvement, there was a corresponding improvement of anywhere from 8% to 19% in long-term market valuation. 

Forrester Consulting on behalf of VMware

Fortunately, companies are making adjustments. In fact, a new research study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of VMware, “Optimizing Digital Employee Experience for Anywhere Work,” shows that:

  • 75% of organizations are making digital employee experience (DEX) a higher or top priority
  • Only 25% of organizations currently implement a comprehensive DEX solution
  • 60% expect to implement one in the next 24 months 
  • 75% of organizations implement three or more solutions to address DEX versus a comprehensive, integrated solution

In an incredibly competitive market, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are two sides of the same coin, and that coin is critical to success. 

Next Steps

To learn more about investing in a digital experience for employees, reach out to the team of experts at Object Edge for a free consultative call. With over twenty years of experience in solving complex digital challenges, we're excited to help. 

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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