To change your B2B, or not to change your B2B?

That’s a fair question.

Of course you know your business’s B2B process inside and out. The team trained you in ages ago and you figured out where you fit in the grand scheme of making business purchases. You’ve mastered the hierarchical web of users, buyers and vendors. You know when all of the software tools are used throughout this tried-and-true process and how that order data transfers into the next transactional phase. And yes. It’s a vast and meticulous system. There are levels of order approval, and availability of reports to certain managers, employees, etc. The system works and, as they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right? The fax machine in the back that you have to use for some ritualistic reason may be smoking up every now and then, but you can cool it down with a spray bottle…

We are living in a world with a lot of technological disparity.

You’re able to buy your coffee with the swipe of a phone before you head to your 9-to-5, but you still have to scour inaccurate spreadsheets and call multiple landlines for keeping businesses up and running. This very general observation is enough for a business case, but in many instances, stakeholders need some solid metrics to start the rubbernecking to this gigantic trainwreck.

The majority of the technology that effortlessly maintains your personal life, that coffee app, your social media, even just your email, is continually improved upon via intricate user metrics to determine what can be made easier for your everyday use. A lot of this user research and implementation of user-centric design is stemmed from a term called User Experience (UX). And the B2B world could use a little TLC from UX.

UX “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products” (Nielsen Norman Group). It’s a design strategy that is focused on sound user data to improve a product. Placing the users in the center of your B2B process as much as possible throughout a project cycle will improve overall interaction and efficiency.

To begin instilling User Experience into your B2B, a key thing to do is assess your current B2B system. Here are three basic questions to begin evaluating the current system your business maintains.

  1. How much training does it take to officially be acquainted with a B2B role? Track the amount of time it takes to train in someone to complete a B2B process. This can help you generate a healthy amount of data to prove how updated technology could accommodate this B2B role.
  2. How much time does it take to complete a B2B order? Once someone is trained in, how long is this process overall?Is there anything frustrating, like freezing software or errors that potentially double the amount of time it takes to complete an order?
  3. What devices and/or actual people are being involved? Are there users that have to go back and forth between inventory and a desktop computer? Are people still using walkie-talkies the size of bricks to communicate between warehouses? Does your B2B process still involve a call center? Evaluate what the process actually looks like and how it could look like in the future if you apply a modern solution.

Answering these generic questions can lead to incredibly innovative ideas to minimize time and effort to complete a B2B transaction. From here, you can set goals to reach your ideal, modern B2B system. 

Reprioritize your User Experience. Reinvent your B2B commerce.