Why a strong online presence matters for B2B businesses

Up until a couple of years ago, a website was considered a ‘nice to have’ for B2B companies. Traditionally, B2B buyers have favoured in-person or phone calls.

How times have changed.

Today, an online presence is mandatory, and will likely be the first impression a customer gets of your business. And it can't just be a front for your sales team. Your website needs to position your business and act as proof that you’re part of your category. It should reflect your key selling points, highlight your points of difference and be structured in a way that makes sense for your buyers.

Because once they’re aware of your business and they elect to partner with you, chances are online is the primary channel your buyer will be using – with many happy to conduct entire transactions entirely online.

According to a survey conducted by McKinsey, 80% of B2B businesses hold their e-commerce channel to the same or a higher standard as offline channels.

So, if your website isn’t up to the same standard as your competition’s, you’re likely losing customers.

Changing times, changing preferences

While the shift to an online-first philosophy was already well underway by the time COVID-19 caused a worldwide shutdown, there’s no doubt that the pandemic expediated the trend.

According to McKinsey, e-commerce has now overtaken in-person as being the most effective channel for sales. While buying physical goods online is accepted as the norm, it’s also becoming more common for services to be sold on the web.

With this influx of new customers, there’s a stronger need for businesses to have a presence on the internet that’s current, helpful and has all the information customers need. That way, buyers can make an informed decision – all without needing to communicate with you at all.

If they do decide they want to speak with you, it’s becoming more and more likely that they want to do this via your website as well. In fact, McKinsey found that two-thirds of customers intentionally elect for digital or remote engagement.

This means that rather than the traditional phone call, online chat is becoming more common for buyers searching for simplicity and convenience.

Automation makes a difference

Automation is a prominent trend in the online space, and by using it throughout the online process, you’re improving the experience for both you and the buyer.

For example, imagine you’re a business that regularly sends out your products with Australia Post. Rather than needing to figure out all the postage options available, an API (Application Programming Interface) can figure what options to offer, as well as which is most suitable for the buyer and their requirements.

This ensures an easy transaction for all parties.

The importance of finding your niche

Remember that 80% number from earlier? That means there’s a high probability that a typical website isn’t going to make the cut anymore.

You also need to find a niche. Then own it. This means creating a way to draw customers in that your competition isn’t doing.

The great thing is that because technology has advanced, this sort of change doesn’t have to cost the earth or be complicated to implement. Shopify, Square, and Adobe Commerce all offer a range of plugins that can give your site an advantage and differentiate it from the competition.

For B2B businesses, it’s also important to remember that a website isn’t just about making the sale – it’s all the other small things that can help with a purchase decision. This includes case studies, reviews, explainer videos and testimonials. Because the website that gives the user the richest experience is the one that they’re most likely to return to.

Data is the foundation of an effective B2B website

Some enterprise-level businesses spend millions building and constantly updating their website. But that's not realistic for most businesses. When budgets and timelines are limited, there's not a lot of space for trial and error.

That's where data comes in. Having access to key business data can help you create a website that is going to best serve your customers. It can tell you what your best-selling products are (and your worst). What service lines are in high demand. What kind of enquiries are coming in most frequently. When you know what information your customers want, you can create a site that caters to them.

Those businesses that have invested in an ERP are in a prime position to create a service-based or e-commerce website. An ERP provides real-time access to up-to-date data, all in one place. Not only will it help you create a better site faster, but it can also collect and connect website data to other business data once it's live, giving complete visibility across all sales and enquiry channels.

For small and mid-sized businesses, the cost of ERP and e-commerce can often make it seem unattainable. But solutions like SAP Business One are here to change that.

SAP Business One delivers a simple and affordable way to streamline your entire organisational processes. Aside from its incredible automation and e-commerce functionalities, its all-encompassing solution spans accounting and financial management, customer relationship management, and data and reporting, just to name a few. The software does the grunt work for you. It won’t just help you build a successful website—it will assist you across every facet of your business.

To learn more about how SAP Business One can help benefit your online presence-- as well as streamlining your operations -- click here to learn more or contact our team.


Contact Us

Find out more about how SAP Business One can help
you manage and grow your business.