According to statistics from Forrester Research, some 68% of B2B buyers now prefer to conduct research online rather than speak with an actual salesperson – and 44% of businesses say that ecommerce sites influence at least half of their offline purchases. How times change.
Prepare for digitalisation
We’ve seen a seismic shift in the business world in how we use the internet in recent years. Finally, despite a slow start, the chemical industry is starting to sit up and take notice too. As a business owner, should you rethink how you operate? With less reliance on face-to-face interaction, should your sales reps be worried? Well, yes and no.
You should certainly prepare for change but that does not mean overhauling your entire team. </a href=”#”>This excellent article seems to sum it up nicely, saying those fears are largely unfounded. “While the growth of digital channels will necessitate a rethink of how businesses conduct B2B sales, including, let’s be clear, a disruption of existing models, it does not necessitate conflict between traditional and new sales channels.
That’s true because B2B buyers still expect to interact with sales reps, and there are ways to help existing sales teams leverage digital sales, instead of being threatened by new channels.”
Digital future is inevitable in the chemical industry
We realise that there is still a misconception in the chemical industry that this shift towards a digital future – which is inevitable, by the way – means this will somehow stop being a relationship business. Many people we’ve spoken to seem concerned that their efforts in nurturing long-standing business relationships, building trust and negotiating deals will somehow be wasted. They fear that those skills will be eroded and lost. That’s certainly not true.
Consultancy McKinsey & Company notes that 76% of B2B buyers “find it helpful to speak to a salesperson when they are researching a new product or service, ” and just 4% of buyers never Guido Steinbach, naBERA -CTA, Business Development Partner for the DACH region want to speak to a salesperson, preferring to make all their purchases online. A digital future should not be seen as a threat.
Complement your sales through an ecommerce platform/webshop
In fact, ecommerce and digital transformation can complement your sales efforts rather than damage them. It provides an exciting opportunity to reach a huge pool of potential buyers and tap into new markets that you may otherwise not have had the time, or inclination, to reach out to.
The chemical industry is well established – and conservative – and therefore has been quite slow to adapt to digitalisation and the benefits it can bring. There are a number of excellent models out there and our world is finally beginning to embrace them. Make sure you do too.