It’s no secret that the future of B2B sales is changing. Business-to-business interactions are largely moving to a remote space in 2020, and buyer behavior is shifting accordingly. All of a sudden sales teams are being forced to change the way they engage prospective buyers.
Industry leaders agree that the next big step in terms of adjusting to the “next normal” is locking in a virtual sales strategy. Although digital B2B marketplaces have been around for some 20+ years, research leaders like McKinsey say that now is their time to shine.
Why? Plain and simple, they source active buyers in the place they’re spending the most time – on search engines like Google. Then, they leverage modern buyer behavior, giving buyers exactly what they’re looking for: a convenient, quick, controlled choice from the comfort of their home.
Not familiar with the opportunity in digital marketplaces? Learn why partnering with a digital marketplace to sell your products and services is the move you need to make this year to stay ahead in your industry.
What is a Digital Marketplace?
Chances are, you’ve used a digital marketplace before. Think: Amazon, for business. Digital marketplaces are online, self-service platforms where multiple suppliers can competitively offer products/services to active business buyers. It’s a turnkey solution for both suppliers and buyers.
On the buyer side, digital marketplaces make it easy to make an educated choice in a controlled environment. It presents them with the “right” suppliers for their needs without the time it takes to research. It also gives them simpler, more transparent connections, as well as the opportunity to control spending.
On the supplier side, digital marketplaces give them brand exposure. The marketplace presents their brand as a key option for buyers to choose from. It also gives them the opportunity to lock in new customers and sell quickly.
Why are they Making a Breakthrough This Year?
For several years, digital marketplaces have been a strategic platform for small to medium sized businesses to find new customers and grow their brand. But now they’re about to revolutionize large and enterprise-level businesses, too.
Why? Well, typically large businesses have existing relationships with name-brand suppliers and make most of their purchases directly. But now, two things are changing that trend.
- Economic challenges are causing many business leaders to re-think the way they buy. Even if a company has been buying from Company X for 10 years, now they’re thinking how they can buy smarter. Controlling spending and reducing budget is all of a sudden a top priority. As a result, McKinsey is saying companies are becoming more reliant than ever on third-party providers like digital marketplaces. It gives them greater control over their spending as well as an opportunity to re-think who they’re buying from.
- Remote work is changing the way businesses operate. Deliveries to the office no longer make sense. Business leaders are now leaning on e-commerce to get the job done. Online marketplaces give businesses the space to restructure their purchases and business operations by choosing a new vendor suited to their new needs.
The result is that digital marketplaces are becoming a unified solution for businesses of all types and sizes. It’s the next big thing in the B2B space.
7 Advantages of Digital Marketplaces
To understand what makes digital marketplaces so valuable, you have to understand what buyers are looking for. Now more than ever, buyers are looking for a quick and convenient turnkey solution for their business’s purchasing needs. They need to purchase remotely and have control over their spending. This is propelling digital marketplaces to become a key tool in B2B purchasing.
Consider these top 7 advantages that digital marketplaces offer to buyers:
Buyer behavior is trending toward self-service. In other words, buyers would rather independently search for what they need using convenient online tools rather than calling up suppliers every time they need to buy. In fact, research is showing that due to modern buying trends, buyers are more than halfway done making up their mind by the time they talk to a sales rep. And that statistic is only growing. Digital marketplaces are giving buyers the chance to search remotely on their own and briefly deal with the transaction with the supplier when they’ve made up their mind.
Buyers want to feel in control over their purchases, especially in this economic environment. Starting from scratch, so to speak, using search engines like Google is risky and time consuming. Digital marketplaces give buyers a controlled environment where they can feel secure about choosing from a condensed list of suppliers catered to their needs. Learn more about why buyers prefer fewer choices in controlled environments.
“One stop shops” online are becoming a go-to trend in the business world. It gives decision-makers the chance to view options that “match” with their needs all in one place. Additionally, it requires little time and effort on their part. It’s arguably the most convenient way to get a reliable roster of suppliers that can solve a buyer’s needs.
Quick, turn-key solution
It’s actually not news that decision-makers want to buy quickly and conveniently. They don’t want to jump through hoops to make a transaction. Buyers’ attention spans are shorter than ever and they want the promise of a quick solution to their needs.
Plain and simple, digital marketplaces allow buyers to purchase from home. This is crucial right now because even before 2020, the U.S. saw a 44% rise in businesses shifting to remote work. Now, big companies like Twitter are shifting to remote work entirely, and other companies are very likely to follow suit. The simple ability to buy online and analyze/compare at the same time is going to propel the popularity of digital marketplaces in the next few years.
Cost saving opportunities
There’s tons of pressure on business buyers right now to control spending. CEO’s are asking decision-makers to reduce budgets, cut unnecessary spendings, and find solutions that get the job done for less money. Digital marketplaces, just by offering the opportunity of choice, present buyers with the opportunity to save money. For instance, 360Connect’s service has proven to save buyers up to 30% when they compare. If they aren’t already, business leaders are going to jump at the opportunity to manage their spendings by putting in minimal effort.
B2B buyers are normally tasked with making an argument for B2B purchase plans to their manager or CEO. Online marketplaces are becoming more attractive options to decision-makers because it gives them the information they need in a quick and compact way. No longer do they need to spend the time vetting suppliers and creating a presentation, which can take several days. The marketplace presents a list of qualified suppliers that match with the business’s buying needs. It often follows up with crucial information like pricing, delivery estimates, and other A-level priorities the CEO will likely ask about.
360Connect is an online marketplace who partners with hundreds of suppliers in the U.S. and Canada. We help your company find new customers, gain brand exposure, and sell quickly and easily. To talk about opportunities to work together, reach out to us online and we’ll set up a time to talk!