A recent study conducted by Forrester Research showed that 67% of North American B2B firms believe that e-commerce is fundamentally changing B2B commerce.

But are the executives buying it?

After 15 years of working with current and potential Four51 customers, we know that the decision to move into the B2B commerce space is a big one, and one that involves leadership at every level of the organization, including the c-suite. The best way to get them on board is to prepare a well-thought out business case for moving your business operations onto an eCommerce platform.

Here are 3 proof points to use that should get your executives excited about B2B eCommerce:

1.  Help your executives get to know today’s B2B buyers:

It’s your job to educate your executives around the new B2B buyer. Focus on who your users are, how they order, where they spend their time, and report on issues or challenges with your current system that your buyers are facing. In most cases, B2B companies find that their users (in fact 56% of them) are spending most of their day on their mobile device and are demanding that all of their shopping experiences, including B2B, be accessible via that device. If your company doesn’t respond to this shift in buyer behavior soon, you’re going to lose those mobile buyers (56% of your buyers!).

2.  Show your executives how B2B e-Commerce helps reduce costs and eliminate order errors:

Our customers found that, before they moved to eCommerce, most of their ordering processes were taking place over the phone via call centers and, when they spent time analyzing this process, they found that these call centers were actually costing them more than they knew. We’ve seen organizations go from a $60 per order cost to a $1 per order cost when they move their operations to eCommerce.  That is some cost savings your executives can get behind! eCommerce also helps reduce order errors, improves order status and confirmation, thus improving customer service and the over-arching customer experience.


3.  Focus on process improvements that are possible with B2B eCommerce:

Executives love process improvements because improvements in process means reduction in costs and an increase in your bottom line. Help your executives out by outlining what a new buying process would look like, both for your internal operations teams and for the user, by moving your business onto a B2B eCommerce platform. What is going to be made easy? What might be more difficult? What’s the trade-off? By moving your ordering needs online, you’ll reduce delivery times because shippers will have access to the information they need sooner; you’ll reduce errors made by your internal staff and put the onus back on the buyer themselves; and you’ll be able to provide more automated order status updates for these buyers, but also for your internal team, allowing for more accurate and timely reporting for your executives.

By using these proof points – buyer demand, cost savings, and process improvements – you’ll be able to have a well thought-out conversation with your executive team around B2B eCommerce. Ultimately, the cost of doing nothing is going to overtake the cost of moving forward. Buyers are demanding it and if they can’t find it with you, they’re going to find it somewhere else.


[Flickr photo by The_Warfield]