B2B connection platforms
Platforms for networking between professionals have been booming in recent years, even in the less digitized areas. Explanations.
What is it and what is it for?
On the web, a platform aims to connect companies with companies, businesses with individuals or individuals with individuals so they can find the product or service they need.
Dematerialized, offers and requests will be published on a free or paid platform, regulated or not. This action will encourage the meeting between people who had, until then, nothing in common. In many cases, the latter are segmented by sector of activity, occupation, subject, etc.
|Hellopro, Companeo, Direct-Industry, Batiweb, Techni-Contact||123devis, HabitatPresto, seloger.com||Blablacar, Allovoisins, PAP|
How it works
The use is quite simple. If you have an offer to offer, you just have to publish it on the desired platform so that it is visible to your potential future customers. If you are looking for an offer, you will be able to consult those on the web and compare them: services offered, rates, provider reviews, etc. Some platforms like Blablacar.com, ask users to leave notices to create a real community. Users can then evolve as ambassadors while passing different levels.
Obviously, these platforms must earn a living and they offer services to promote your product or service: ranking on the front page of searches, banners, presence on newsletters … etc.
And in B2B?
Take for example the B2B platform hellopro.fr which lists the products of thousands of companies and connects customers with suppliers around 17 different universes.
Access to the purchase is free, without the need to identify to view. Nevertheless, if a user wants to request a quote, he will have to respond to a form and give his contact information on the site. The message will then be sent to the company concerned.
Supplier point of view, a registration form must be completed before offering its products for sale.
The vast majority of matching platforms work this way and some even add the ability to post a notice to create a community. Note that involving clients can help establish a relationship of trust. Opinions are very important!
Let’s go back to our original question: Does it generate lead?
At first glance, a company that sells its products or services on a digital platform will benefit from an additional sales tool, 24 hours a day. In fact, the elements put forward will be better seen by the public, which will also increase the visibility of the brand in a given sphere. Customers who place an order or request a quotation then represent concrete leads. In addition, the platforms provide companies with a network of contacts that allows them to explore new targets.
But to go further, this type of platform puts you in direct competition with other companies that offer the same products and services as you. This is the number one argument: customers will then be able to analyze and compare before buying while staying on the same site. Moreover, going through a linking platform adds an intermediary, which companies refuse to do and prefers to know the interlocutor before finalizing.
The fact of being systematically put in competition makes these leads very sensitive to fast processing. If you are the last to call, the prospect who already has three appointments will not take a fourth. As the conversion is less, do not compare these leads in terms of cost with a lead resulting from an emailing operation for example where you are alone.
Les limites du système
It is sometimes difficult for the platform to balance supply and demand. For example, it will receive a lot of customer demand for website creations and will find few web agencies willing to buy them. In the same way, some territories are not covered by a potential supplier: nobody to transmit the lead. For all these leads “in excess”, the platform will use a broker of leads who will sell them to the highest bidder.
The opposite is also true. If you sign a 1000 lead contract on the year with a platform, it may be hard to generate them. The platform will eventually make the outgoing call and generate lead “provoked” without there being a real need. This greatly reduces the conversion.
It should be known that, historically, platforms were an effective solution for companies without a website. They were often better referenced because of their important content than the manufacturers’ sites. Google has cleaned up these “content farms” to relegate them to a less advantageous ranking and today they sometimes have trouble generating the number of leads sold.
We do not know if these platforms will eventually withstand giants like Amazon.