The COVID-19 pandemic impacted sales for global B2B companies in various ways, but all agree the focus for 2021 will be on sales and marketing efforts
2Checkout (now Verifone), the leading all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses, today released The State of B2B Digital Commerce findings in global online sales. 2Checkout conducted a global study with B2B digital companies to understand what their main challenges are at present and what they are looking forward to in the next year. While some companies reported downsizing and others recorded growth, most of respondents are in synch in terms of focus areas that can help them overcome the year of the pandemic.
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- Almost half of B2B companies interviewed succeeded in scaling in 2020
- Managing the sales funnel is the most challenging area of selling B2B
- Priorities for 2021 will focus on sales and marketing
Key trends from the report include:
- 2020 Revenue – Almost half of B2B companies interviewed succeeded in scaling in 2020, whereas a third of them maintained a similar turnover to 2019. On the opposite side, 20% registered decreases in the year of the global pandemic. The impact on US-based digital B2B companies was more significant, with only 37% having an increase in sales compared to the previous year, 33% experiencing no change, and 30% seeing a decrease in sales.
- Factors Impacting B2Bs in 2020 – The global COVID-19 pandemic was the greatest factor that impacted B2B revenues compared to the previous year- either by generating growth (for 61% of respondents in this category), or contraction (for 79% of respondents that had a decline).A marked focus on online sales was the other factor that helped companies achieve growth, as signaled by 62% of respondents: 29% reported scaling their online channel, while 33% transitioned for the first time to online sales.
- Challenges in 2021 – Properly managing the sales funnel is the most challenging area of selling B2B. Almost a half of all respondents expect to have to struggle with finding new leads in 2021, while a third are also dreading having to deal with longer sales cycles. Additional concerns include: difficulty in expanding to new markets and regions (21%), having less time available for sale representatives (20%), and the difficulty to upsell to the next product or package tier (18%).
- Sales Channels – The onset of the pandemic forced B2B digital companies to re-evaluate their sales processes. At present, most B2B companies are using multiple digital and offline channels to reach their prospects and accept new orders, without a proper integration between channels. On average, B2B companies use at least 3 sales channels. Online direct/self-service orders through the website remains the most used by 55% of respondents, orders placed by phone take 48% and email orders came in at 44%.The situation is similar in the US, the world’s greatest B2B eCommerce market, where companies also employ a disjoint mix of channels to reach their buyers. Orders are placed in the US by phone 62% of instances, whereas assisted sales and email orders are equally used 57% of the time. Additional sales channels in the US that carry weight include: 54% self-service via a website, 22% through an online marketplace, 16% in physical store or branch locations, 11% via resellers or distributors and 8% in app sales.
- Opportunities and Priorities in 2021 – Improvements to current sales processes and customer monetization and retention are the main opportunities businesses look forward to in 2021. Implementing and improving direct online sales (via self-service) is a priority for most companies – mentioned by 48% of respondents. The next priority is client retention – declared by 42%, while 36% will center around launching new products and the same percentage will focus on implementing and improving assisted sales for high value customer deals. Other areas mentioned include: improving lead nurturing (26%) and increasing customer lifetime value (25%).At a high-level view next year’s main areas of B2B investment will be marketing activities (55%), the sales process (43%), product development (37%), partner management (23%) and compliance and security (22%).
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The State of B2B Digital Commerce is based on 840 respondents from around the world and was conducted between October 2020 and November 2020. Respondent profiles included categories including Executive/Owner, Sales VPs and Professionals and other B2B roles. 2Checkout continuously tracks trends and statistics, empowering merchants to make better business decisions.
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