Facing market uncertainty brought on by the global Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, B2B organizations must adapt to changes in how they connect with customers, as 54% of leaders in IT, marketing and e-commerce roles define their company's customer relationships as strained, developing or non-existent, according to a new survey from Episerver. In turn, delivering relevant, personalized digital experiences has emerged as a top priority and direct selling as the most significant opportunity for B2B leaders navigating a new reality.
The March 2020 survey of 600 global decision-makers in IT, e-commerce and marketing roles at B2B organizations indicates 41% of respondents believe selling directly to customers online is the most significant opportunity for their business in the next year, followed by expanding into new geographies (37%) and providing their salesforce with digital selling tools (36%). Despite the economic downturn, 85% of B2B organizations still expect their digital experience budget to increase next year, which will help 71% of B2B leaders who agree that the digital experience their company offers does not meet the needs and expectations of its customers.
"It is clear from our data and conversations with customers that digital transformation is being accelerated to address immediate needs due to COVID-19," says Alex Atzberger, CEO of Episerver. "Direct-to-consumer sales, for example, have been discussed for years, but now the time is there to rethink your go-to-market channel. Getting in touch with customers directly and in a hyper-relevant way is business critical when in-person tactics are impossible to execute. You can't not be digital anymore; you can't not create content to create engaging experiences; you can't not sell directly."