The Consumerization of B2B

B2B

Think about a purchase you made on your phone recently. Maybe it was to pick-up Starbucks. Or to make an Amazon purchase.  Now think about your enterprise applications. How easily can your users place an order? How quickly can your sales reps access their accounts? How many steps does it take for your finance department to process a PO? I’d wager these experiences are miles apart. But why? They don’t need to be.

The ease at which people can complete online processes is no longer limited to B2C. The people shopping through mobile applications and performing consumer-based processes are the same ones placing reorders for office supplies and disseminating benefits information to your employees. Expectations levels of your users are at an all time high. Providing great user experience in enterprise applications is no longer a nicety; it’s mandatory. While paired with the right strategy and skill in implementing the technology, unified user experiences will position your company to surge past the competition.

What are the core principles you should focus on when building your strategy? Our experience has shown that online and digital impact starts with two key principles, where we exploit technology to maximize business value long-term.

1. User Experience

The key to adding value in B2C also holds true in B2B. When it comes to online software and mobile applications, user expectations are extremely high and will only continue to grow. What do users expect from their applications now?

Easy and fast UIs.

Simple.

Minimal clicks / swipes to perform a task.

It. Should. Just. Work. 

Technologies such as hybris and Salesforce.com offer lightweight UIs to easily achieve great user experiences. This allows companies to adapt their core competencies within the software.

This is critical.

Have you read reviews for mobile applications with star ratings less than two? Nine times out of ten these revolve around sub-par user experiences. And what are the odds of you downloading that application yourself? Very low, I’d wager. Most people download only applications with the best reviews, because no one wants to be an app tester. Many developers just put out an application and utilize user feedback to revise. This is a backwards strategy, obviously. Five star apps take the time to get UX right prior to launch.

This is why user experience is a critical building block in your strategy.

2. Attract. Convert. Retain.

Users expectation levels are based on their B2C experiences. Your employees can find another job. Your customers can take their business elsewhere. Providing mobile and online B2B applications that attract, convert and retain users ensure that your business will not only survive; it will thrive.

Perhaps you don’t have a set strategy on employee retention. This is dangerous – and costly. On average, it costs up to nine month’s salary to replace a salaried employee. Therefore, for every lost employee making $50,000 a year, you incur $25,000 – $37,500 in recruiting and training expenses. Companies that make user experience a priority are shown to have more productive and engaged employees. With increased engagement comes higher employee retention. When you do the math, you realize just how much an investment in user experience can positively impact your business.

Making your users’ online experiences better sounds simple enough, but how is it achieved?  You do this through great technology, great applications, great user and customer experience.

One of our clients, a major drug wholesale company, has numerous contracted customers.  Therefore, they assumed they had a captive audience.  However, those customers still had other options and frequently visited competitor sites with applications that provided B2C-level user experiences. We redesigned our client’s digital applications with mobile at the forefront, and as a result of the improved UI, our client was able to retain its existing client base while simultaneously attracting new customers. Utilizing their existing technology, we awakened the art of the possible by maximizing its capabilities based on the wants of the customers.

Providing unified user experiences and having great strategy can be mutually exclusive.  Making the most of your technology investments is the glue between the two.  Keeping things simple in strategy helps achieve the complex in reality. If you aren’t disrupting the status quo, you’re falling behind in the enterprise.

At Excellis, we view technology as an extraordinary asset that should always be exploited to the fullest.  We like to think of it as innovation reimagined.

And by never settling for less than greatness, extraordinary outcomes can be achieved for your B2B business.

 

 

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