Confessions of a B2B marketer- B2B is Easy!

Tradeshows are a vital part of my career as a Marketer. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with people, at a platform wherein there is enough scope for free exchange of ideas and a bold assurance of an understanding, knowledgeable audience. Thus, recently I was present at the colourful event that was the ACE TECH-2013, an Architectural, Engineering and Construction expo held at Tumkur Road, Bangalore, wherein yours truly presented himself as a proud representative of the premier B2B portal.

In India, unlike the wider world, the concept of a B2B marketplace is a fairly recent idea. The audience assembled for this event did show infectious enthusiasm but were initially sceptical if a B2B portal holds much water for an Architectural or Construction business. Of particular interest is this little conversation I had with a polite, middle-aged gentleman who headed a local Architectural firm. His assumptions were a study in how businesses in India perceive a B2B portal.

Me: ‘Sir, could I have a minute of your time’

Kind Sir: ‘Yes’

Me: ‘Sir, I represent It’s a premier B2B portal that helps your Business connect to thousands of traders from across 210 countries. Online sourcing, buying and selling can help you build reliable trade partnerships, improve your ROI and open up markets across the World for your Company’.   

Kind Sir: ‘Online? As in the Internet?’

Me: ‘Yes Sir. Basically it’s a website- and herein you create a free account and…’

Kind Sir: ‘I’am sorry, I don’t understand computers that good. If only my son were here…’

As is obvious, I had hit upon a road-block, a shield that had lost me his complete and undivided attention. And this is not a singular scenario- there are many SMEs in India that ‘assume’ that a B2B portal is high technology that is beyond their capability to effectively manage. Nothing could be farther than the absolute truth- a competent B2B website like TOBOC is designed with the average person in mind. Cutting edge technology does exist, but in terms of how the website responds to your subtle, random and normal inputs. It’s just akin to managing a bank account really- maybe simpler.

And thus, I went on a passionate discourse about how our website was nothing complicated, and that he with his limited understanding of computers can still pull off trading with the World, just like a pro. Maybe my speech bordered on a near sentimental rant, or I hold a deep resemblance to his aforementioned son, for he seemed impressed and promised to get on board TOBOC website at the next available instance. A connection was made- a myth maybe dispelled.

And thus the road for B2B portals in India is strewn with a lot of assumed or original challenges. The only relief is that Indian SMEs and businessmen are open to ideas- as long as their bottomline is our primary concern. And with B2B websites like Toboc- that is precisely the case.