Build and They Will Come (As Long as Your B2B Apps Feature Powerful Psychological Drivers)
Business-to-Business (B2B) applications must walk that fine line between self-service convenience and full feature functionality, without which they will only result in sunk costs. Recent McKinsey research on decision-makers’ behavior globally across industries since the crisis began reveals that the big digital shift is here to stay. McKinsey Covid19 B2B Sales reports find that Indian companies in France, Spain, the UK, and Brazil have responded by changing B2B sales models. They now believe that companies are “forced” to adopt digital in reaction to the widespread shutdowns in the early stages of COVID-19 to a growing conviction that digital is the way to go.
B2B apps require many times more investments and infrastructural backing than B2C, with very little room for error. The stakes are high, but your typical B2B user increasingly expects the same degree of convenience and UX ease as consumer-facing products. In my research and understanding these the are top four critical differences in B2B vs B2C apps:
Building a Relationship: The relationship-building process for B2B is far more in-depth and requires more time to be put into it. The B2B model emphasizes building a strong interpersonal relationship between the two companies. In return, it leads to a more loyal customer base that provides sustainable revenue throughout the year.
Developing a Customer Base: The customer base for B2B and B2C are the opposites of each other, and thus the customer success process is also vastly different. For B2C, the customer base’s size is far more extensive than B2B, but the average returns per sale for B2C are also much lower.
The movement from Customer’s Journey to Customer Success: The customer success process is always a journey; however, it is relatively shorter for B2C. The B2B customer success process is much more in-depth and goes through several stakeholders within the company. There is a need to appeal to the business owners’ emotional and rational decision-making process to arrive at a deal that is a good fit for both parties. For this, the customer journey requires a far more personal and hands-on approach. The process also considers legal formalities and requires open communications through regular calls or meetings throughout the entire customer success journey.
The Complexity of Issues: While every business would like to have their customers never face any issues with their product or services, some customers will eventually encounter problems. Since the type of product or services bought under B2B tends to be more sophisticated, the issues also tend to be more complex and requires a dedicated team with constant back and forth communication to resolve the issue.
Thus, it is not surprising to note that 70% of all B2B applications grew in the workplace. Organizations exits a widespread need to streamline their business functions, support global operations, simplify communications, and increase employee productivity. The other largest community users of B2B mobile apps were the providers serving large organizations and enterprises. They faced the most considerable disruption as they had not invested sufficiently in B2C digital assets driving them to adopt B2B eCommerce apps and services. Becoming large adopters allowed them to provide unparalleled customer service to their clients and provide an experience that enhances the digital commerce journey. The investment required provides an omnichannel experience for the users, which facilitates the business’s growth.
Worryingly, the retention rate of applications is declining, witnessing a decrease of 12% this year.
In this environment, B2B application providers — both internally and externally — must take a cold hard look at their interface design if they are to remain “sticky” enough for the average business user. It means reimagining products from a psychological vantage point, gaining from users’ innate psychological drivers.