Today’s B2B buyers expect the same online buying experience as what they are used to in the B2C world. And while most chemical producers and distributors do have some web presence, the majority of their sites are not optimized for the buyer experience. Chemical producers’ websites tend to focus on the company itself, rather than making it easy for customers and prospects to find products, get relevant information, and place and track orders.
Turn your website from an infomercial to a sales rep
There’s definitely great value in advertising your company, its history, and tenets. But industrial chemicals are very complex products, which contain a lot of detailed technical information. To turn your site into a sales engine, you need to give your buyers the ability to access this information quickly and easily. It must be searchable (with a regular search engine like Google, and within your website using multiple keywords), and it needs to be accessible on any device, including smartphones and tablets. A 2019 survey of industrial buyers’ habits shows that nearly ¾ of buyers say that they base their decision on whether or not to submit an RFP by paying attention to the vendor’s website. A good online experience can make a difference between making a sale or losing a prospective customer to competition.
A “customer” is not one person. It’s a number of roles within an organization
In the B2B world, a “buyer” is rarely just one individual. The buying process is a collection of steps that are carefully orchestrated and coordinated between different people and groups. At different stages in the sales cycle, a seller would interact with a number of functions on the buyer side. For example, in the early parts of the cycle, you might communicate with chemists, formulators, or other technical roles in the production group. These are the “technical” buyers, who are responsible for the following parts of the process:
1. Product Search: performing a technical evaluation to find the most suitable product by reviewing product catalogs and specification sheets from different suppliers
2. Product Exploration: assessing how well a specific product fits the intended purpose by reviewing product literature, evaluating product samples, and getting specific answers from the suppliers
3. Product Selection: preparing and submitting product test reports and necessary specifications for final approval
Once a product candidate has been identified, a commercial buyer takes over. Their job revolves around keeping track of the profit margins by procuring the right materials at the best price. A big part of their job is supplier relationship management – they negotiate with suppliers, gather and present data to their company’s management, and deal with any customer service issues related to supplier relationships.
1. Request Quote: purchase negotiations begin with requesting a price quote
2. Negotiate Price: getting the best price helps maintain profit margins
3. Order: placing a purchase order, negotiating delivery terms, arranging transportation, sending and requesting required documents
4. Ongoing Support: securing product support from the manufacturer
Creating a seamless digital experience for all types of buyers
At Agilis, the user experience is literally our #1 priority and the most important issue that we strive to solve. Our experience in the chemical industry is helping us develop a user interface that optimizes the user experience for both types of buyer.
Take, for example, the OPPANOL© portal that was developed for the industry giant BASF. It is designed to provide easy access to relevant technical information and guide the users through product selection.
A technical buyer can find the most suitable grade of OPPANOL for their application – in just a few clicks, by using tools such as Grade Selector. At the same time, a commercial buyer, who already knows which products they need to buy, can simply log onto the portal and request a price quote or place an order. All in just two clicks.
By understanding the buyers’ personas, Agilis helps simplify the process of buying and selling complex industrial chemicals, while increasing efficiency and transparency.
To learn more, visit: agilischemicals.com
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