92% of B2B digital and ecommerce professionals rely on email marketing to promote online sales, according to new data from Accenture.
Other traditional channels used are mailers used to promote website products (86%) and telephone online sales support (84%).
‘Channel Shift: Measuring B2B efforts to shift customers online’ shows that B2B buying of goods and services will grow in similar ways that B2C online shopping has.
68% of B2B buyers purchased online in 2014, up from 57% in 2013.
Half expressed that their online spend would increase over 2015.
Despite this, the study found that about 81% of participants still receive over half their income through offline sales and channels.
64% of respondents cite ‘long-term customers resistant to change’ as a barrier which could explain this, but many also recognise the issue is due to internal staffing, an online systems:
- 42% say their sales organisation is resistant to to drive customers online or support online sales,
- 38% say customers have security concerns,
- 36% say their websites aren’t easy to use, and
- 20% say adequate technology hasn’t been implemented to handle large volumes of online sales.
Similarly to B2C markets, the ‘digital-first’ B2B businesses that began trading online more than five years ago, boast the highest amount of customers buying online, 55% in the study, compared to ‘lagging’ firms, with online offerings for three years of less, for whom only 22% of customers buy online.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, lagging firms experience the most problems with customers resistant to change, with 78% naming this as a barrier to driving business online, compared with only 43% of digital-first firms.
Similarly, 61% of lagging firms also report sales teams hesitant to drive buyers online as a key barrier, compared with only 24% of digital first firms.
Leading organisations in the study also favour email as a method for driving buyers online, but successfully combine employee involvement and modern digital means to push the transition further:
- 45% have dedicated employee involvement,
- 43% have an effective and easy to use website, and
- 25% use social media.