Allen Bonde, VP, Research Director

Show Notes:

Don’t call it a blast from the past. B2B marketplaces are seeing renewed interest from both buyers and sellers — with good reason. In this episode of What It Means, Vice President and Research Director Allen Bonde discusses the revival of the online B2B marketplace model.

On the buy side, B2B buyers (especially those outside a centralized procurement organization) clearly prefer self-serve platforms and have little inclination to work directly with salespeople. In fact, at this moment during the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B buyers are very focused on speed of transaction for the items they need most, which favors online marketplaces like Amazon Business.

Buyers are also seeking more price transparency from suppliers, and traditional B2B buying has never been set up that way, says Bonde. Often, there’s still an emphasis on inside deals and customized pricing negotiations that buyers seeking faster and more efficient purchases aren’t looking for.

On the sell side, Bonde explains that a supplier’s likelihood to sell through marketplaces depends on both the product being sold and the appetite of its core customer base. For example, it’s unlikely you’d want to buy an enterprise resource planning system from a marketplace. “It’s a complex deal with a lot of configuration,” Bonde says. “But the add-ons to that software — it’s more and more likely that you will buy that through a marketplace.”

In fact, when asked about the future of B2B buying overall, Bonde points to software-as-a-service marketplaces like Salesforce AppExchange as an example of the direction that the buying experience will move.