Relationships matter more than online presence in B2B selling

Relationships matter most in B2B selling as they act as barrier for competitors and new entrants. These relationships are not based on price but advice. The advice offered is not about being more resourceful technically alone it is about advice that enable customer improve performance. Anyone can offer lower price but this is short term win and not foundation to a sustainable repeat business. By enabling advice that help customer succeed continually one becomes partner than a mere seller. A partner helping company successful is difficult to beat and more difficult to replace. There are two key elements which are foundation to the relationship selling in Industrial goods space.

First important element is expectation of stable supply-chain. This aspect is equally important for big manufacturing customers and their next ties SMEs in the supply-chain. This aspect is equivalent to automation of processes. Without a partner on which a company can rely it will be tough to maintain a smooth supply of necessary products on demand. Based on consumption frequency the products used are classified at runners, repeaters and strangers. The stranger items poses a threat of supply-dry situation if you do not know a regular seller who understand the need to stocking it for the company and supplies it in the eleventh hour of need. If this dependency fails at a tier-1 automotive manufacturer as an effect an OEMs production line will stop which is a heavy loss making situation as hundreds of workers will be idle.

Second important aspect of keeping a relationship barrier driven business is being cost effective. It is a no brainer that it is far more cheaper to maintain cost of services to existing customer than to spend on entire cycle of procuring a new customer by prospecting, communication, sales call and proposal generation etc. The cost of acquiring a customer using online platform is very expensive using digital marketing tools like pay per click model which stands at approx. 25% of revenue comparing approx. 5% in case of for same revenue in case of offline sales. Indiamart has recently stopped operations of Tolexo, its pure online business.

India has seen reasonable infrastructure development with rise of B2C eCommerce in form of efficiency small packet logistics. This aspect has improved turn around lead of time of supply of small volume items or stranger items using eCommerce infrastructure. This has led to ‘instant delivery model’ developed by which is becoming the ever efficient. The progress suggest that this will enable more content of purchase becoming just in time purchase. In addition to lead time another key advantage to offer a hybrid model which includes online presence is transparency in pricing as all product catalog is available online. While relationship selling ensures long term sustainable business relation, eCommerce solutions are bringing added value in form of efficient logistics of small size delivery and transparency.


BW Disrupt (Business World’s wing on startup published guest article on 24-02-2017)



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