Column: Should You/Can You Sell B2B Online?

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Behavioral experts say it’s natural to resist change.

That may explain why, to my wife’s dismay, I sleep in the same worn out T-shirt bearing the name of my high school football team.

“We were undefeated,” I remind her.

“Wow,” she replies. “I’ll bet Taylor Swift would drop Travis Kelce if she knew that.”

Basic Choices

For most businesses, one basic choice they must make is how and where they sell their services. That usually comes down to in-person or online. Companies that sell B2B products like steel, construction projects or industrial services, usually operated under the belief that “nothing happens” – no sale is made – until there is an in-person meeting or at least voice contact with the prospect.

If there was anything “good” about the Covid pandemic, it was businesses learned to use online tools like Zoom and Teams to conduct meetings. That was a game changer for many businesses. It makes you wonder, if you can meet online, why can’t you buy and sell online?

After the pandemic, all sorts of businesses began selling online. Even professionals like physicians, mental health therapists and others were successful moving online.

What About B2B?

According to, an estimated 60% of leading B2B companies had either no or limited e-commerce capabilities at the start of the pandemic. Two years later, the picture is the opposite: In early 2021, 53% of B2B companies across industry sectors offered e-commerce capabilities, climbing to 65% in February 2022.

The market is ready. Eighty-six percent of B2B decision-makers prefer to use self-service tools for reordering rather than talk to a sales representative. Thirty-five percent of B2B buyers are willing to spend $500,000 or more in a single transaction through remote or online sales channels.

The key advantage of selling online is the ability to reach a vast customer base. This global reach expands your potential customer base exponentially,.

But online competition can be fierce. Standing out from the crowd and attracting customers requires effective marketing strategies, excellent customer service and innovative product offerings.

Building a strong online presence through social media, search engine optimization and online advertising are crucial for success in the online marketplace. This may require a dedicated team or third-party service to manage the effort.

To grow, you need to embrace change. If you have a B2B product or service, you should consider selling online.

Do I embrace change in my business? Yes. Do I embrace change in my personal life? Yes – just not when it comes to my team T-shirt.

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.