B2B sales, both tech and services, can be notoriously slow and difficult to close. By using a private B2B marketplace, however, you can remove much of the friction from the buying process, provided you follow the four important steps that I’m going to outline here.
What does the ultimate B2B customer experience look like?
B2B consumers are more in control of the buying process than ever before, which is why the key to frictionless selling is providing an excellent customer experience from the moment a user lands on your marketplace to the moment they hit ‘buy now’.
Keep the following in mind when setting up your marketplace:
· Modern B2B customers value the ability to self-serve by browsing app and service listings and partner profiles.
· Marketplace users expect transparency. When browsing listings, users expect detailed cost breakdowns, timelines, deliverables, and so on, to be clearly listed up front.
· Finally, they want to know that you understand their business and their problems, and that your solution will produce real business results.
Follow these four steps for frictionless selling via your B2B marketplace:
With those three key expectations in mind, let’s look at the four steps necessary for achieving frictionless selling.
Step 1: Create highly transparent solution listings to accelerate the buying process.
As I mentioned above, modern B2B buyers expect providers to offer a much higher level of transparency than ever before. Don’t expect your buyers to scour your website for information or coax details out of a salesperson over email (remember, customer legwork = sales friction). Give prospects everything they need to make a decision up front by clearly listing key details in each app or service listing. This includes:
· Pricing and cost breakdowns
· Video demos
· Partner info
· Ratings and reviews from previous customers
Carry out A/B testing to work out how best to package your solution for frictionless selling. For example, bundling your tech with supporting partner apps and services under one inclusive price might be more appealing to your customers than buying each solution piecemeal.
Step 2: Equip your marketplace with the right tools.
Frictionless selling requires removing speed bumps from every stage of the buying process. Help your customers self-serve by giving them the right tools for the job. For example, chatbots and tools like VideoAsk allow customers to gather extra information in an instant – day or night – without needing to engage with an actual salesperson.
Which payment gateway you choose is incredibly important. Not only does your payment gateway need to be safe, secure, and easy to use, it also needs to offer enhanced functionality such as the ability to make milestone payments. For example, Stripe allows partners to collect incremental payments at set milestones based on project deliverables. This is especially helpful when it comes to collecting payment for lengthy B2B projects.
Step 3: Centralize and enhance communication from first touch through to delivery.
With so many communication channels and platforms available – email, Slack, project management tools, and so on – keeping everyone on the same page during the sales process and project delivery can be difficult. Nobody wants to waste time scrolling through endless email exchanges looking for information, only to remember that it was actually shared via Slack or Trello.
Giving customers access to their own Customer Portal removes sales friction by allowing prospects to easily engage with partners and providers without leaving the marketplace. Through the portal, customers can discuss custom solutions, submit RFPs, collaborate on briefs, or request a meeting. Once a deal has been struck, the Customer Portal provides a dedicated space for centralized project communication between you, your partners, and your customer.
Step 4: Don’t let the checkout process slow your customers down.
Checkout is a critical moment in the marketplace sales process. Lengthy, complicated checkout processes can cause a buyer to abandon their cart at the last moment, so keep the checkout process as short and as straightforward as possible. Remove distractions like search bars, pop-ups, or navigation options from the checkout interface to keep customers focused on completing their purchase. Jason Edge lists the following common speedbumps customers encounter during checkout:
- Complicated order placement
- No money-back guarantee
- Surprise charges at checkout
- No contact information given in the event of problems with checkout
As discussed in Step 2, ensure that your marketplace offers enhanced payment functionality, including the ability to make milestone payments.
Ready to implement a frictionless selling strategy?