Digital Transformation , Sitecore , Portals , Professional Services , Sitefinity , Optimizely

How B2B portals augment operations for brands

Author: Sarah Woolven
April 06, 2023

The pandemic has been a catalyst for change in the business world. Inefficient working patterns, siloed teams and slow digital operations were all brought to the forefront. 


But necessity is the mother of invention. Businesses needed new tech and new processes to work in a new context. Almost three-quarters of businesses started using new communication tools in the previous 12 months. 


Self-service portals are rapidly gaining traction in the business-to-consumer (B2C) space. Evolving consumer expectations means that delivering a premium virtual offering is now essential, rather than an optional-extra. 90% of global customers expect businesses to provide access to digital self-service portals. 


But whilst membership areas and ‘My Account’ features have proven to be effective data capture tools that simultaneously drive greater customer experience (CX), business-to-business (B2B) organisations have been slow to catch-on to this trend. 


Self-service portals, at their most basic, are cost-effective systems that can connect siloed teams together. Dig a little deeper, however, and they become powerful sales enablement tools that can build relationships across both the B2B and business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) landscape. 


Appius has pinpointed five benefits that B2B organisations can enjoy by integrating premium self-service portals into their online offering: 


  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Improved communication
  • Streamlined customer service
  • Actionable metrics
  • Increased security 



Enhanced efficiency

2023 has been dubbed as the ‘year of efficiency’. But with ongoing economic uncertainty, businesses are looking for ways to boost productivity on a budget without sacrificing quality.


Self-service portals enable businesses to automate monotonous back-office operations such as order tracking and payment processing. Streamlining these processes empowers you to optimally allocate your human resources (thereby improving time management), whilst also injecting greater accuracy.


Improved communication

Effective communication is the key to unlocking strong consumer relationships. {Poor communication is responsible for 70% of corporate errors). 


Clients crave clear, transparent communication. Self-service portals act as a centralised hub that provides access to order and invoice-related information. Removing the delays and errors that have historically plagued this process creates clarity - and this is the foundation of a successful long-term relationship. 




Streamlined customer service

Premium customer service is the hallmark of any thriving organisation - particularly in today’s convenience-oriented world. And it isn’t just B2C organisations that should abide by this rule. PwC’s research found that more than 80% of B2B customers expect their experience to be as good, if not better than B2C. 


Self-service portals give clients control of their own customer service journey. Case-and-point, allowing them to check their order status or your inventory levels reduces the workload of your in-house customer service team, driving greater efficiency on both sides. This is also an effective way to prevent future stockouts and delays.


Actionable metrics

Long-term strategy isn’t based on a whim - it’s determined by understanding client trends. Self-service portals’ ability to collate data often flies under the radar. Identifying buying patterns and analysing your clients’ order information allows businesses to identify their ‘hero’ products and services, as well as those that are underperforming. These metrics are fundamental in preparing for seasonal sales drives and product launches - with supply chains and inventory management benefiting as a result. 


Increased security

Technology is constantly changing business. But this is a double-edged sword. Criminals can use malware to hack sensitive client information. Self-service portals’ advanced encryption software safeguards client data, such as payment details. Leveraging these helps prevent data breaches and instils trust in current and prospective clients. 




The only source of knowledge is experience

Understanding how self-service portals can elevate your B2B operations is only part of the puzzle. Partnering with a firm that can build this system from the ground-up and integrate it into your existing set-up is critical - and that’s where Appius fits into the equation. 


Logistics and distribution firms need to be able to deliver real-time updates to clients. Hoya Vision, an eye-care manufacturing organisation, approached us to develop a bespoke global trade portal. The platform enables Hoya’s clients to place orders and track deliveries using a simple, easy-to-understand interface. Hoya’s distributors can also access up-to-date sales and marketing content, allowing them to improve their own outreach campaigns. 




Sunseeker, a luxury yacht brand, wanted a similar self-service portal that would empower its distributor network. The portal we created enabled distributors to deliver brand assets, marketing materials, and digital sales assets for websites and advertising. It was adopted by more than 18 key regional distributors worldwide, streamlining the brand’s distribution network.


Investing in a self-service portal is a stepping stone to greater productivity.  Teachers Building Society (TBS) wanted a mortgage application portal that enabled the building society to offer an end-to-end digital process for the first time. Our efforts eliminated the need for customers to post their documents - speeding up the process increased efficiency whilst also improving the user experience (UX). 




Capita, a corporate travel solutions provider, approached us with a goal of reinforcing its position in the market. We developed a self-service portal that incorporated innovative behavioural psychology concepts, enabling users to book their travel arrangements more efficiently and in ways that were better for both the environment and their wellbeing.. Utilising a thorough UX testing process was integral in developing a premium user interface (UI), a feature that delivered real value to Capita’s B2B clients. 


Time for an upgrade?

The B2C world may have been quick to adopt self-service portals - but this does not mean they have a monopoly on them. These innovative tools are increasingly the difference for B2B businesses. Consistently delivering efficiency, transparent communication and seamless UX is the most effective way to cut through the noise and distance yourself from the competition. 


Want to learn more about Appius’ self-service portal expertise and how this can elevate your digital operations to the next level? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our contact us page for more information, and an informal initial discussion with one of our portal experts.

About Author
Sarah Woolven
Sarah Woolven

Digital Results Director at Appius


Appius have spent over 20 years transforming digital experiences across multiple sectors.