The B2B SaaS application space is booming. Businesses small and large are rapidly adopting on-demand applications to perform the daily business functions they require. Gartner estimates that 35% of all CRM implementations in 2012 were via an on-demand delivery model, and that number is expected to grow to 50% by 2020. As B2B apps are becoming commonplace, competition is changing the industry and paving the way for innovation, which, interestingly, is making these B2B products appear all the more B2C.
While B2B applications may not yet be as sexy as their B2C counterparts (which is likely to change), they are revolutionizing processes and industries. How? The answer is two-fold: firstly, the availability of SaaS solutions has considerably lowered barriers to entry for startups of all kinds. Secondly, the line between B2C and B2B is becoming increasingly blurred, with SMB owners and entrepreneurs alike emulating the decision-making processes of the individual consumer, thereby increasing software trials, purchases, and the accompanying churn rates.
SaaS enables entrepreneurs to rent any and all services they require for development, which is minimizing startup costs and breaking down barriers to entry. Is your startup looking for a way to manage growing inventory? Do a little research online and find an inventory management application that fits your needs. Do you need a way to work online, in real-time, with your co-workers on specific projects? Find a file-sharing app that fits the size and scope of your business. Near instantaneous implementation times, coupled with functionality and ease-of-use, have enabled SMBs and entrepreneurs to effortlessly adopt SaaS solutions at very little opportunity cost.
Decision-making processes that were once inherent traits of the B2B landscape are now beginning to appear more B2C-like. It has blurred the lines that previously existed between the B2C and B2B buying processes. There’s no on-premise setup required, there’s no learning curve to suffer through, heck you might not even have to pay anything for the first 30 days that you use the application. This all makes the decision to adopt a new CRM or find a new SEO tool very painless. So much so that an SMB owner picking a particular app would probably do so in a way very similar to that of a consumer picking a personal schedule-planning app; give it a try, if it doesn’t work or you don’t like it, move onto the next one.
What, then, is the main distinction between B2C and B2B in the SaaS market? I think it’s the reliability factor. A business, no matter how small or large, depends on these applications to run everyday operations. If the application is not operational 99.99% of the time, than it is likely doing more harm than good. B2C SaaS vendors require less reliability. If, for example, my Netflix account was not working one day, I probably wouldn’t cancel my subscription altogether, because there just aren’t many options that can substitute Netflix’s services. But the B2B landscape is riddled with options; with competition, and this makes it an ideal arena for finding a tailored solution to your business’s problem.
While options are plentiful if your business is looking for a CRM, a CI tool, or Project Management software, it can be hard to sift through the thousands of B2B apps that are available. If you’re looking for a marketplace to help you explore your options, try a platform like GetApp or Chekkt, who offer community-driven insight to aid you in your search.
Danny Roberts heads the marketing department at Chekkt; an eCommerce marketplace featuring B2B SaaS solutions. He lives in Tel Aviv, and when he’s not doing marketing-related things, he enjoys eating, playing basketball, cycling, reading tech blogs, and watching American football.