Counselor Commentary: The Need For Speed

B2B Buyers Value Quickness

Andy CohenThere may be no more sought-after commodity in business today than speed. With advancements in technology, companies are on a consistent search for ways to quicken their processes. And, there’s good reason. A new survey from research firm KLA Partners shows that business-to-business buyers are more likely to buy from companies that can answer questions quickly and provide a level of self-service that others don’t.

A full 47% of respondents said they value the ability to get quotes and questions answered easily over any other buying factors – including price. And, those same people prefer in many instances to find the answers to questions themselves. Call it the Internet effect, but buyers today don’t want to wait for a call back from a vendor to know how much something will cost and when it will arrive. They expect to be able to find this information online, and they want their providers to make it easy for them to do.

“Today’s buyer – whether it’s a consumer or a B-to-B purchaser – is more used to serving themselves when it comes to getting information,” said Kyle Greggerson, principal with KLA Partners. “It’s a speed thing. They’re not used to waiting around for a call back or an email to be returned. They’re used to finding things out online for themselves, so I think companies today need to adapt and provide these capabilities. Everything has to be quicker, including customer service.”

What can you speed up in your operations that will make a difference for customers? Whether it’s the price quote process or delivery procedures or invoicing or customer service or product proofing, now is a good time to figure out the systems you need to quicken the pace of your business. You may feel busy trying to fulfill orders and deal with an influx of client requests. No doubt, that’s true. However, other prospects aren’t waiting around for you to get back to them with a price quote or idea for a new campaign.

They’re going to the many online providers in the promotional products space today, searching for items they want, finding prices and imprinting options and pressing “buy” buttons. Yes, online companies selling promotional products are a threat to the traditional business model in this industry. It’s because they’re fast. And easy. As, the KLA study points out, this is exactly what buyers want today. Everybody – not just Internet-based sellers – needs to provide some level of convenience and ease for their customers. Now is the time to make the necessary shifts in your business to become faster and easier to work with.