I recently attended Gartner’s high-growth conference, and wanted to share a few takeaways. Since the birth of the web, I’ve found two analyst firms, Gartner and Forrester, to not only be most insightful, but also sometimes uncannily prophetic. They often don’t agree, but this time they do, and it’s about a huge sea change that’s been quietly creeping up on the business world. They also agree that, as with many seismic shifts, there’ll be winners and losers, and the losers won’t know they’ve lost until it’s too late.
For some time, Forrester has warned that the “modern business consumer” is changing the way business is done. Its findings reveal a large and growing group of modern B2B buyers who now conduct their product/service search process online and anonymously, while waiting until deep in their decision cycle before contacting salespeople from the companies they’re considering. These buyers also expect that buying products for their business should be as easy as researching and buying a product on Amazon, or as convenient as selecting a movie to watch on Netflix.
Now, in their most recent conference, Gartner announced a new generation of modern business decision makers who directly connect the quality of the online experience of buying to the quality and value of the product itself. If a business solution is easier to buy, the more modern B2B buyers are likely to buy it. If it’s easier to research, the more confidence in that solution they have, which again makes them more likely to buy it. And with these buyers, the quality and value of a product can actually take a back seat to the quality of the journey offered to them as a potential customer.
Both Gartner and Forrester talk about how long a B2B buyer waits to talk to a salesperson (up to 80% of the purchase cycle), and how the bulk of that buyer’s research time is spent online, and how the modern buyer chooses NOT to spend time with personnel from the companies whose products they’re considering… until absolutely necessary, and often not until the buying decision itself has basically been made.
This kind of self-guided discovery and decisioning has all sorts of implications for any company that doesn’t have a really strong mechanism to accommodate these habits.
What might that mean to you? Put plainly, the best products can be dethroned if the online experience of discovering, researching and engaging them is inferior.
I recently spoke with a senior customer relationship executive at a top global B2B company, who most articulately summed it up this way: twenty years ago, teenagers were conditioned by increasingly elegant and simple buying experiences like Amazon and eBay, which gave them around the clock access to a broad selection of products, curated just for them. Today, these same people are in the prime of their career and working in enterprise procurement groups. They not only prefer, but actually expect a buying experience that looks and feels the same as their B2C buying journey: easy to navigate, on-demand, rich with product information, intuitively laid out, and fluid to their needs as a potential buyer.
So, a lot of smart people are saying the same thing: irrespective of product quality, a company’s digital experience is a “make or break” in today’s market. If you’re not giving your potential buyers the digital interface they expect, you can lose them. Or worse, you may never have been in the running in the first place.
So what’s the problem? It’s truly pandemic in scope, and one picture says it all:
Hard to “unsee” the difference, isn’t it?
ClientPoint exists to close this gap. That is our “why.” Solving this problem for you our customer is our sole passion.
We’ve actually created a new SaaS business category to pursue these aims. We are a “Business Relationship Enablement” company. Instead of focusing only on great tools and utilities, we’re focusing on something much bigger: relationships.
Driving us every day is a discipline and term we coined: “Relationship Design.” As evolutionary as Product Design in the 1980’s and Experience Design in the early 2000’s, Relationship Design is the discipline of applying the power of the Internet to optimize the relationship experience between two parties. We believe this discipline will change everything.
Technology drives choice and choice drives change. At ClientPoint, we’re using all the best tech, the best tools and the best practices to give the world the keys to build the most amazing digitally super-empowered relationships ever. We believe that once people realize how they can powerfully enable their business relationships with ClientPoint, they’ll choose to never go back to the way it was before.
Our mission is simple: to help companies organize and transform the way they manage their business relationships.
By giving you the tools to make your “front office” business relationship workspaces more powerful, and as easy to use as Amazon or Netflix, we’re confident we’re giving you a transformative edge over your competition.
And based on the unified chorus of experts weighing in on the matter, it’s an edge whose time has palpably arrived.
We’re constantly aggressively expanding our capabilities, so we want you to know about all the new things we can do for you to give you that edge.
To that end, please click here to set a consultation with our solutions team.