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Things are always moving faster.
Once upon a time, brick and mortar stores were the only way to make a sale. “Add to cart” meant physically taking a loaf of bread and putting it in your shopping cart. Amazon was a pesky gnat cutting into the periphery of Borders’ Books. Your dream home was a folder of pictures and real estate listings instead of a website you open up when you’re bored at work.
Today, goods move faster, resources move easier, and everyday systems are moving ever more to the digital sphere. This is mostly due to digital transformation.
What once required a face-to-face meeting and weeks of paperwork can now be done with a few swift clicks on a website. From buying a car, to managing finances, to buying a pair of shoes, the internet is the new hub of commerce. Your Product team and your company need to be ready for it.
The ease that consumers experience in their everyday life is now expected to carry over to the way businesses operate, both B2B and B2C. Buyers want to be able to transact and make decisions without any barriers.
What’s the best way to accomplish that? Self-service flows.
Across the board, B2B customers want to be able to control their own affairs through a self-service option. Reports suggest that 72% of your B2B customers will want that level of convenience. Regardless of your sector, you need to be able to provide that. Can you?
It’s tempting to view self-service workflow as a tool strictly for B2C companies. After all, that’s the way that the tool is used in most people's day-to-day. However, the bottom line is that what works in that space is also applicable to B2B models.
The innovation of B2C companies’ digital marketplaces has made easy buying and selling ubiquitous. By now, inefficiency is out of date. No one has the patience to put up with systems that can be a hassle to operate and maintain.
After all, the consumer journey for B2B shouldn’t be anymore difficult than the B2C transactions that happen every day. B2B buyers rightly expect and require the same frictionless experience. The best way to provide that to them is to leverage self-service workflows. Those workflows can be the difference in a deeply competitive landscape.
Instead of eschewing self-service as something that falls outside your purview, B2B buyers should be looking at how they can take the lessons learned by some of the biggest names in the digital marketplaces and implement it at their B2B enterprise companies.
When it comes to technology, if it isn’t fast, it isn’t working. But that doesn’t mean you can rush through processes.
Moving too quickly can leave check unchecked and balances unbalanced, especially if you ignore Legal requirements altogether. That leads to critical mistakes that are hard to rectify. But with B2C and B2B self-service flows, all stakeholders in the key departments can be involved and minimize the risks of moving quickly and serving customers seamlessly.
Product and Legal need to connect on compliance tracking that doesn’t disrupt users’ experiences. Legal and Sales need to align on pre-structured agreements to make buying quicker and less cumbersome.
The pace and scope of modern business requires these teams to all be working hand in glove with each other. By staying isolated, not only are you slowing yourself down, but you’re leaving room for more mistakes. Empowering those teams to all work together through a self-service workflow, you’re killing two birds with one stone.
The focus of any type of company doing any type of business must be on handling business online. Whether you’re in the B2B realm or the B2C realm, customers expect there to be availability for those experiences.
By not providing self-service workflows, you are cutting yourself off from that market, a market which is claiming an ever-growing piece of the pie. If customer acquisition and retention is a key performance indicator (and let’s be honest, when is it not), you need to have a digital buying option. A properly implemented and intuitive self-service workflow is how you get that.
To learn more about navigating self-service, overcoming obstacles, and implementing self-service contracts, read our eBook, Becoming Self-Service: What Enterprise Tech Needs to Know.