Common scenarios companies face, involves them facing increasing levels of competition, a demand to deliver more value to ALL stakeholders with less resources, and to continue this pace of change at a faster rate. Technological breakthroughs in data management and processing are an inevitable part of solving this conundrum, the key is to utilise them intelligently. Both sides of the B2B transaction, face the pressures outlined above. From a resellers perspective, the B2B portal provided must deliver benefits:
- To the end user who find the system user-friendly
- To the end user who sees value (price, availability, product performance) in what is offered by the reseller
- To the end user whose ‘cost to acquire’ is reduced by the portal replacing some of their own internal purchasing practices
- To the reseller themselves in allowing the portal and product line up to allow them to have a competitive advantage in the market.
- If a reseller is being provided a portal that fits this criteria there is a good chance they will be sticky. Not that the second of these desired outcomes has little to do with the technology. If what you are selling via the portal is of little use, (A mentor of mine always used ‘second hand reconditioned sandals’ as the example of a product of limited appeal to a market) then your reseller will not be sticky no matter how wonderful your portal is.
For the supplier of the B2B portal there must also be benefits or else the reality will be that your sales and operations team will lose the drive to actively promote the portal to the reseller. A poor quality product can cause people to lose heart whilst selling, people ‘go through the motions’ in all areas, sales especially. 20 years ago is when I first experienced the beginning of this process, well before anyone used the word portal. End users sought to reduce their Purchasing costs by having a Tier 1 vendor for numerous small products that were normally purchased individually from a massive number of small vendors. The transaction processing costs were huge, there was little scope for any serious negotiation on price, and little control could be exerted by Purchasing. (Many engineers would feel that the last point is actually a good thing). Blackwoods, major electrical wholesalers and similar companies effectively became the ‘portal’. Technology kicked in and this ‘one stop shop’ became an online shopping cart of goodies for the companies team to use. If this experience was clunky, difficult, and slow then the end user screamed at the reseller, who then screamed at the provider of the portal technology. What keeps your reseller sticky for you is the same as what will keep the resellers customer sticky with them.