The popular belief that if one builds it, customers will come is undoubtedly true. But if you offer a critical aftermarket part so customers can build it themselves, well, that’s a strong argument as well.
The enduring, pandemic-spurred supply chain challenges plaguing manufacturers have ignited a deeper appreciation for those businesses who have invested in the technology and infrastructure to deliver aftermarket part services. And they are reaping the financial benefits.
Experts estimate that the entire automotive parts aftermarket is expected to increase at a CAGR of 5.5 percent from 2023 to 2033, reaching $984 billion. And reports show the average operating margins in the parts business are 150 percent higher than those from new-equipment sales.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for manufacturers to lean into cost-saving and revenue-generating strategies,” Andy Peebler, VP of B2B commerce at Salesforce, says. “Once-reliable channels are less dependable, and dealers and buyers are turning to quick and convenient options to purchase replacement parts online.”
Peebler added that with the right online commerce solution, manufacturers could help business buyers get replacement parts promptly and at a competitive price.
These four best B2B practices can ensure your aftermarket parts business will deliver a business-sustaining customer experience and the desired product.
1. Know your customer
When a business purchases a product or service from another company, it can improve an aspect of its business. For this reason, almost all buyers demand that the reps they work with understand those goals during the buying process. According to Salesforce, 85 percent of business buyers will more likely buy from a company that understands their business goals.
Take the time to identify their pain points and their challenges regarding aftermarket parts. This will help you develop targeted marketing messages and product offerings that resonate with them.
Build long-term relationships with your customers and suppliers by providing value-added services and collaborating on product development. Develop a network of trusted partners and suppliers to ensure a reliable supply chain.
2. Leverage data
Consolidating, organizing, and standardizing easily consumable data is a decisive move because it sheds light on marketing trends, buyer behavior, and potential supply chain challenges and ensures customers get personalized up-to-date product and shipping information. It also identifies new growth opportunities. Analyze customer feedback and use it to improve your products and services.
3. Provide excellent customer service
A recent Salesforce poll found that 85 percent of business buyers believe the customer experience is as important as the product or services offered. Aftermarket parts can be complex, so provide your customers with personalized support and guidance when needed. But also bear in mind that 65 percent of your customers want self-service options for simple or routine purchases.
“Our reports show 97 percent of digital leaders expect buyers to place larger, more complex orders online in the next two years,” Peebler says. “With automation, these tasks are managed digitally, allowing representatives to handle more intricate orders.”
Implementing technology like Salesforce B2B Commerce simplifies the online buying process for customers with a user-friendly interface, personalized product recommendations, multiple payment portal options, and functionality to handle large-volume orders seamlessly.
Offer technical assistance and detailed product information to help your customers make informed decisions. Ninety-one percent of customers say they’re more likely to make another purchase after an excellent service experience.
4. Monitor your competition
A cloud-based CRM offers automated functionality that simplifies your teams’ workload while expanding services for your customers. But in a business that survives on quick responses to supply chain challenges or hard-to-find product requests, your aftermarket parts business can also benefit from tracking what your competitors are doing. Keep a close eye on your competitors to identify new trends, pricing, and market shifts.
“Don’t shy away from drawing some rightful inspiration from their actions, and use the knowledge you gain in the process always to stay one step ahead of any potential threats that may come your way,” say experts at enterpriseleague.com. “You will also be able to prepare competitive content and have a better chance of raising more awareness around your products or services and bringing in more customers.”
Conduct competitive analysis to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and use this information to refine your marketing messages and product offerings.
In this increasingly competitive market, aftermarket part businesses support these four best practices with cloud-based technology to create more strategic and profitable B2B customer relationships and prepare them to move forward.
Let’s chat about technology that can help you expand your B2B relationships and business goals.