A Forrester ConsultingThought Leadership PaperCommissioned By CloudCraze, A Salesforce CompanyJune 2018B2B Embraces ItsOmnichannel CommerceFutureHow B2B Companies Plan To Leverage OnlineSelling To Drive Better Results And Growth
Table Of Contents1 Executive Summary2 B2B Sellers Must Adapt To MeetBuyers’ Digital Demands4 Fewer Than Half Of Sellers MeetOmnichannel Commerce Standards6 B2B Sellers Turn To Integrated SaaSSolutions To Drive OmnichannelEfforts8 Sellers See eCommerce As PrimaryDriver Of Future Business Growth9 Key Recommendations10 AppendixABOUT FORRESTER CONSULTINGProject Director:Nicholas Phelps,Senior Market Impact ConsultantContributing Research:Forrester’s eBusiness & ChannelStrategy research groupForrester Consulting provides independent and objective research-basedconsulting to help leaders succeed in their organizations. Ranging in scope froma short strategy session to custom projects, Forrester’s Consulting servicesconnect you directly with research analysts who apply expert insight to yourspecific business challenges. For more information, visit forrester.com/consulting. 2018, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproductionis strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources.Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester ,Technographics , Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total EconomicImpact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are theproperty of their respective companies. For additional information, go toforrester.com. [1-168Y8JD]
Executive SummaryOmnichannel B2Bcommerce is anintegrated approachfor selling to andservicing customersacross physical anddigital channels.With US B2B eCommerce sales growing from 777 billion in 2015to 1.2 trillion by 20211, sellers cannot ignore the value in creatingstreamlined customized experiences for their buyers. Companies needto optimize the online experience and adopt an omnichannel strategy.To do that, companies must merge their previously siloed sellingmethods (online, in-person, and/or on the phone), customer data, andactivity to ensure a well-rounded experience. In the age of the customer,a poor selling experience can lead to immediate loyalty and saleslosses, while a positive experience will lead to sustained loyalty andincreased revenue.In January 2018, CloudCraze, now Salesforce B2B Commerce,commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the state ofomnichannel B2B eCommerce adoption. Forrester conducted an onlinesurvey with 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision makers atmanufacturing and consumer goods companies to explore this topic.We found that as B2B sellers turn to eCommerce selling, they mustleverage technology to help overcome cultural and legacy businessprocess obstacles. Doing so is key to their future, as many firms seeeCommerce as critical to growth.KEY FINDINGS›› Omnichannel strategies begin and end with the customer. A thirdof sellers have implemented an omnichannel selling strategy, andmost of the remaining firms are taking steps to do so soon. Customerexpectations and experiences must take center stage in how sellersform and optimize these strategies.›› B2B sellers need to optimize their omnichannel selling solutions.B2B companies are behind B2C and B2B2C omnichannel commercestandards. Fewer than 50% of surveyed companies are meeting bestpractices for people, process, technology, and culture.›› B2B sellers strongly prefer integrated software-as-a-service(SaaS) solutions. More than two-thirds of sellers in our studyprefer SaaS solutions for their eCommerce strategy, citing a SaaSapproach’s advantages in speed-to-implementation, faster andongoing innovation, and better cost effectiveness.1 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce Future
B2B Sellers Must Adapt To MeetBuyers’ Digital DemandsOut of necessity, B2B businesses are fast becoming digital businesses.In the age of the customer, business buyers form demands andexpectations via the full extent of their online shopping experiences —at work and at home. That means B2B sellers aren’t just competing withtheir direct competitors, but against the experience benchmarks set byleading B2C companies as well.2SELLERS UNDERSTAND THE DIGITAL IMPERATIVEAt a basic level, this means that B2B sellers must make themselvesavailable to customers online, in a digital context. The sellers in ourstudy understand this: 73% of sellers sell through an eCommerce oronline sales portal today — with an average of 27% of revenues comingfrom digital channels (see Figure 1 ).But ultimately, it’s not sufficient to simply put products up on a websiteand call it a day. B2B sellers must take full advantage of their digitalopportunity by turning to a truly omnichannel selling strategy. Underan omnichannel B2B commerce strategy, each customer touchpoint,whether online, via phone, or in-person, is informed and responsivebased on customer interactions across channels, and each touchpoint iscontinuously optimized based on customer behavior and company goals.Digital businesseswin, serve, andretain customers bycontinuously creatingand exploitingdigital assets tosimultaneouslydeliver new sourcesof customer valueand increase theiroperational agility.Figure 127%eCommerce/online portal“Which of the following channels do you sell through today?”87% Direct sales76% Indirect sales73% eCommerce/online portalOther58% Customer service agents/call center agents56% Field service repsBase: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision-makers in the US, Benelux, Germany,France and UKSource: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of CloudCraze,March 20182 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce FutureSellers reported onaverage that 27% ofrevenues come fromeCommerce or onlineportals.
B2B FIRMS PREPARE FOR OMNICHANNEL SELLINGApproximately one-third of the firms in our study are executing oroptimizing their omnichannel strategy — with most remaining firms eitherplanning or implementing one soon. Overall, only 3% of firms have noactive plans to implement an omnichannel strategy (see Figure 2). Thesefirms are driven to omnichannel for two primary reasons:›› An obsession with improved customer and business outcomes.Firms in our study understand their online selling initiatives mustbegin and end with the customer. When asked to pick two primarybusiness objectives for online commerce, firms are most likely to saythey are motivated to improve buyer satisfaction (25%) and improvetheir responsiveness to buyer needs (23%). Firms also show thathappier buyers link up to better business results — with 23% alsosaying they expect to sell to/reach more buyers with their onlinestrategy and 22% saying they expect to drive deeper buyer loyaltyand repeat business.›› Concern over the fallout from missing customer expectations. Ifhappier customers are the proverbial carrot driving online adoption,firms are well aware of the sticks at play in the shift to online selling,too. Namely, failing to meet your buyers where they want and needyou will lead to lower buyer satisfaction (56% of sellers agree withthis premise), will make it more difficult to attract new buyers (56%),and will lead to lower buyer loyalty and buyers choosing to shop withcompetitors (50%).In an increasinglycompetitive B2Bselling landscape,firms cannot affordto give up groundto competitors thatare meeting buyers’digital needs.Figure 2“Which of the following best describes your company’s B2B omnichannel commerce capabilities?”36%31%61%3%30%22%14%2%We areoptimizing ourB2BomnichannelcommercestrategyWe arecurrentlyexecuting aB2BomnichannelcommercestrategyWe areimplementing, butnot executing aB2B omnichannelcommercestrategyWe are planning,but notimplementing orexecuting a B2BomnichannelcommercestrategyWe are discussing,but not planning,implementing, orexecuting a B2Bomnichannelcommercestrategy1%We have notdiscussed a B2BomnichannelcommercestrategyBase: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision makers in the US, Benelux, Germany, France, and the UKSource: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of CloudCraze, a Salesforce Company, June 20183 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce Future
Fewer Than Half Of Sellers MeetOmnichannel Commerce StandardsCreating and implementing an effective B2B omnichannel commercestrategy is about more than just selling on a website — it requires thatfirms shift their staff, their technology, their processes, and their cultureto support the buyer when and where needed. Sellers divulged thedegree to which their companies are properly set up to execute theiromnichannel strategies across four primary dimensions :›› People. How confident are sellers that they have the staff, skills,and role alignment necessary to execute their strategy? Forty-eightpercent of B2B-only sellers said they met this criterion.›› Process. Do sellers have the clearly defined responsibilities andprocesses needed to execute their strategy? Forty-one percent offirms in our study said they met this criterion.›› Technology. Do sellers have the tools and platforms necessary to executetheir strategy? Forty percent of firms in our study said they met this criterion.›› Culture. Do sellers prioritize omnichannel commerce and ensure theirculture, behaviors, and incentives are properly aligned? Forty percentof firms in our study said they met this criterion.In many cases, B2B sellers are playing catch-up to meet the customerexperience standards set by B2C sellers. Indeed, companies in ourstudy that sell both to other businesses and to consumers (B2B2C)are generally more advanced than B2B-only sellers, particularly in thepeople and technology dimensions (see Figure 3).Figure 3Percent of firms that meet omnichannel B2B commerce standards foreach key dimension:B2B sellersB2B2C sellersPeople: We have the staff, skills, androle alignment necessary to executeour strategyProcess: We have clearly definedresponsibilies and processes neededto execute our strategyTechnology: We have the tools andplatforms necessary to execute ourstrategyCulture: My company prioritizesomnichannel commerce and ensuresthe culture, behaviors and incentivesare aligned55%48%46%41%54%40%41%40%Base: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision makers in the US, Benelux,Germany, France, and the UKSource: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf ofCloudCraze, a Salesforce Company, June 20184 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce FutureB2B sellersface challengesinternally drivingtheir organizationsto adopt digitalcommerce andbridging online andoffline selling.
For B2B omnichannel commerce strategy, sellers struggle with realizingtime-to-value and a lack of budget. These are common challenges withmany technology initiatives .Sellers also cite a lack of alignment across channels and difficulty drivingadoption of commerce tools (see Figure 4 ). These issues mirror a culturalshift that Forrester believes all B2B organizations face. Forrester’sresearch shows that B2B digital leaders have struggled to convincesales teams to embrace self-service digital sites as an enablement toolfor enhancing productivity, while eCommerce teams have struggled toincorporate offline sales into the company’s digital strategy.3Ultimately, sellers must balance the benefits offered by digitalautomation (greater sales velocity, opening opportunities to focusupmarket), as well as a more consultative person-centric sellingapproach (deepening relationships and supporting higher-cost andconsideration buying). They must develop a broader vision thatautomates low-consideration, self-serve transactions and digitallyenhances high-consideration, complex, in-person engagements.B2B sellers face challenges internally drivingtheir organizations to adopt digital commerceand bridging online and offline selling.5Figure 4“Which of the following are the topchallenges your company facestoday in creating or executing yourB2B omnichannel commercestrategy?”36% Realizing time-to-valuefor the strategy28% Lack of budget forimplementing changes23% Difficulty drivingadoption of commerce toolsby internal stakeholders22% Lack of alignmentacross channelsBase: 315 eCommerce and sales strategydecision-makers in the US, Benelux,Germany, France and UKSource: A commissioned study conductedby Forrester Consulting on behalf ofCloudCraze, March 2018
B2B Sellers Turn To Integrated SaaSSolutions To Drive Omnichannel EffortsBridging divides across different sales approaches and groups isa significant challenge: Modern B2B sellers require support fromtechnology partners to successfully bridge their digital and traditionalsales channels into a coordinated, omnichannel approach.4 Sellers inour study seek partners and tools that emphasize simplicity and easeof use — characteristics that help address the challenges they raisearound stakeholder adoption.CHOOSING ONE PRIMARY VENDOR WITH SUPPLEMENTALTOOLS IS THE LEADING APPROACHMany sellers in our study use a primary vendor for most of their onlineselling needs and supplement it as needed with other tools. Sellersare most likely to have adopted three primary technologies as the coreof their selling stack — a customer relationship management (CRM)platform, an eCommerce platform, and an enterprise resource planning(ERP) system (see Figure 5).Figure 5“Which of the following best describes how the tools you use for yourcompany’s selling efforts are set up today?”(“Don’t know” response excluded)40% Primary vendor: We use one primary vendor for most of ourneeds and supplement with other tools where necessary.37% Best of breed: We assemble different tools and integratethem into our platform.13% Single stack: We use a single vendor’s technology forall our selling needs.9% Homegrown: We have created our own primary system of record.Base: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision makers in the US, Benelux,Germany, France, and the UKSource: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf ofCloudCraze, a Salesforce Company, June 20186 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce FutureOver half of sellershave invested ina CRM platform,an eCommerceplatform, and anERP system to aidtheir online selling.
SELLERS EXPRESS STRONG PREFERENCE FOR SAASIMPLEMENTATIONSB2B sellers have an even stronger preference for software-as-a-serviceimplementations, with over two-thirds of study participants indicating itis their ideal implementation for an eCommerce solution. When asked tochoose the top reasons for their SaaS preference, those buyers indicateda belief that this approach offers faster speed-to-implementation, wouldbetter drive ongoing innovation, and would be ultimately more costeffective than an on-premises solution (see Figure 6).Indeed, easy integration and solutions that foster quicker stakeholderadoption meet B2B sellers’ list of critical must-haves when makingtechnology purchasing choices. Thirty-nine percent of sellers told usthat easy integration with front-office systems like CRM is critical totheir business — the top criteria chosen by sellers — while 38% saidintegration with ERP and other back-office systems was critical. Sellersalso prize tools that can provide support staff with specific domainexpertise, tools that feature a fast initial deployment, and partners thatprovide support staff with specific domain expertise. Thirty-five percentmarked at least one of these options as critical.Figure 6“What are the top two reasons you prefer to take a SaaS implementationapproach for an eCommerce solution?” (Choose two)30% On-premisessolution49% The solution would be faster than an on-premises solution toimplement43% A SaaS vendor would be better able to deliver ongoing platforminnovations41% A SaaS solution would be cheaper than an on-premises solution31% A SaaS vendor would provide a more robust service layer on top ofthe technology12% In general, our company is moving toward SaaS technologyapproachesBase: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision-makers in the US, Benelux, Germany,France and UKSource: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of CloudCraze,March 20187 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce Future69%Software-asa-service (SaaS)More than twothirds of B2Bsellers say theirideal eCommerceimplementationwould take a SaaSapproach.
Sellers See eCommerce As PrimaryDriver Of Future Business GrowthThe businesses in our study are getting ready for an omnichannelselling future, with 83% saying they expect to increase the volume ofeCommerce sales over the next three years (see Figure 7).As they do so, business buyers are likely to see significant benefits.For example, companies that sell online cited increased bottom-linerevenue, more effective pricing and product catalog optimization, andan improved customer experience as top benefits for buyers. They alsoexpect that online selling will help open new markets and move simplerfunctions like reorders and rote processing functions to a lower-costonline channel.B2B sellers are moving toward eCommerce adoption, and this shift isonly set to accelerate and deepen in the coming years. It’s essentialfor B2B sellers to recognize the opportunity that B2B eCommercerepresents and create a robust road map for how their business is goingto adapt to an omnichannel selling future.Figure 7“How do you think your company’s sales over eCommerce willchange in the next three years?”1%Decrease17%Stay thesame83%IncreaseBase: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision makers in the US, Benelux,Germany, France, and the UKNote: Percentages may not total 100 because of rounding.Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf ofCloudCraze, a Salesforce Company, June 20188Sellers plan tocontinue shiftingto eCommercein search ofefficiencies andgrowth.
Key RecommendationsForrester’s in-depth survey of eCommerce decision makers yieldedseveral important recommendations:As you prepare your omnichannel strategy, focus on the entirebuyer journey, not just discovery and buy phases. B2B sellers mustunderstand that buyers who are online, or offline customers who areinfluenced by online information, are very likely to exhibit differentbuying behaviors and preferences compared to their offline-onlycustomers. To ensure a high-quality omnichannel experience, sellersmust identify their key segments and highest-value customers and thenmap out their buyers’ journey — before, during, and post-sale. Doingso ensures your critical customers and evangelists are well supportedthroughout their whole journey in a way that best reflects their needsand preferences.Align your organization to take maximum benefit from omnichannelselling. B2B buyers expect sellers to coordinate sales efforts acrossonline and offline channels — so you must prioritize overcoming internalbarriers to collaboration between eCommerce and traditional sales teams.Make commerce interactions and data available to the sales teams andencourage low-consideration, order-processing activities to migrateonline. Your sales teams will be able to focus on deepening relationshipsand consulting for higher-consideration products or services.Seek partners that can shrink omnichannel adoption barriers.Struggles with eCommerce adoption and a lack of alignment acrosschannels are two of the most significant challenges sellers face whentrying to execute their omnichannel selling strategies. These sellersseek partners and tools that emphasize simplicity and ease of use andare most likely to prefer a primary vendor approach leveraging SaaSimplementations.Make sure your capability requirements span all customers. Tocarry over context from a self- to assisted-service approach, sellers(or other customer engagement professionals) need to access andleverage the same systems. As you gear up for omnichannel, ensureyou understand the functional requirements from sales and service todeliver on your omnichannel experience.Adopt a culture of continuous and iterative improvement.Omnichannel isn’t just a lot for businesses to digest; it’s often a brandnew approach to customer engagement. Take a phased approach tosuch a large undertaking. By focusing on a specific geography or lineof business, firms can implement more quickly, measure the businessimpact, and establish the requirements for change management tomore continuously refine the approaches best fit for their organizationsto seamlessly roll out omnichannel strategies to the rest of the business.9 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce Future
Appendix A: MethodologyIn this study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 317 B2B seller organizations in Benelux, France,Germany, the UK, and the US to evaluate the state of B2B omnichannel commerce. Survey participantsincluded decision makers in IT, marketing, operations, product teams, and sales/eCommerce. Questionsprovided to the participants asked about their firms’ approaches to omnichannel selling. Respondents wereoffered a small monetary incentive as a thank you for time spent on the survey. The study began in January2018 and was completed in May 2018.Appendix B: % 500M to 999M“Which of the following best describes the industryto which your company belongs?”Materials g18%Retail and wholesale trade17%Brand manufacturersDiscrete manufacturers 1B to 5B 5B“Which of the following best describesyour company?”70%30%15%13%B2b: We solelysell to otherbusinesses.We sell to bothconsumers andother businesses.Base: 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision-makers in the US, Benelux, Germany, France and UKSource: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of CloudCrazeAppendix CENDNOTES1Source: “US B2B eCommerce Will Hit 1.2 Trillion By 2021,” Forrester Research, Inc., June 5, 20172Source: “Make Your B2B Business A Digital Business,” Forrester Research, Inc., September 1, 2017.3Source: “Death Of A (B2B) Salesman: Two Years Later,” Forrester Research, Inc., March 29, 2017.4Source: “It Takes A Village To Deliver World-Class B2B Commerce,” Forrester Research, Inc., May 1, 2017.10 B2B Embraces Its Omnichannel Commerce Future
In January 2018, CloudCraze, now Salesforce B2B Commerce, commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the state of omnichannel B2B eCommerce adoption. Forrester conducted an online survey with 315 eCommerce and sales strategy decision makers at manufact