B2B Portal definition, types, examples | SolidBrain

Building and supporting long-term relationships with clients is one of the primary goals of every business that operates in the B2B ecosystem. Actually, an interesting point here is that the receiving company also seeks long-term cooperation that reduces the need for constant searching for new partners. 

Willing to hold their clients, businesses start to apply different strategies, supplying their shop with a variety of applications for regular communication, exceptional customer service, problem-solving, etc. A B2B portal can be an effective solution here. Please note that it generally differs from a B2B website while providing you with a little bit of a different approach. So, what is a B2B site? What sets it apart from a portal? And what businesses should pay attention to this approach? Read this article to get to know more. 






What is a B2B portal? 


The business to business portal serves as a comprehensive digital place that eases transactions and interactions between parties. Here clients can typically find the listings of product offerings, then place their orders for goods, and track the delivery status. Furthermore, this digital place often provides the receiving party with features to manage client accounts and directly communicate with suppliers or support managers. 

For businesses that sell their products, a B2B portal is a possibility to effectively manage the entire order lifecycle. There are also tracking tools for managing inventory that include monitoring the stocks in real-time, analyzing sales data and market trends to predict future demand, etc. 

Here it is important not to confuse it with the site as it generally serves for a little bit different purposes. So, what is a B2B website? Generally, it is like a digital storefront to which clients can come and get the needed things. It usually shows the services of a particular company and provides details on pricing. A B2B portal, on its side, offers a wide range of features such as custom prices, advanced order management, etc. 






Why Do You Need B2B Customer Portals? 


Nowadays more and more companies that operate in the business to business market, start benefiting from B2B portals. They mostly apply them because of 3 main reasons. 



Centralized solution


One of the main points that attract both businesses that provide services and those that receive them is that a B2B platform provides a so-called centralized solution. It serves as a place for various business activities, covering communication, transactions, product management, and more. 



Automated services 


Furthermore, B2B platforms allow a certain level of automation which streamlines order placement, processing, and fulfillment. It also reduces the need for human labor and as a result, minimizes manual errors



Improved customer experience 


Since these digital places give personalized product recommendations and relevant promotions based on customers’ past purchases, the receiving parties feel understood and appreciated. That’s how they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand and make repeated purchases in the future. A B2B customer service example is simply that businesses can find everything on one platform, without running from one to another. 






Types of B2B portals


As the demand for these digital places is constantly growing, different types of B2B platforms have appeared. As for now, we differentiate 5 common portals. 



Service portals 


A service B2B portal is a type of digital place that is made for those businesses that supply other companies with various service-based solutions. That can be a perfect match if you are running a consulting firm, software development company, marketing agency, or any other type of business that provides services. 



This type of platform typically includes:


  • service categories 

  • the list of service providers 

  • request for proposals 

  • messaging system 

  • payment processing 

  • analytics.



Supplier portals


A supplier B2B portal refers to a digital platform that allows to organize all transactions and requests from suppliers in one place. Here businesses can easily communicate with suppliers, while they, in turn, can make all the needed documents to process the order, send personalized price lists, and manage purchases.



This type of platform typically includes:


  •  supplier management tools

  •  order placing 

  • tracking 

  • inventory management tools 

  • analytics. 



Community portal 


A community B2B portal is designed to connect businesses within a specific niche or area. Such platforms provide an organized place where various businesses can connect, form partnerships, and work together. 



This type of platform typically includes:


  • forums 

  • news and updates

  • networking tools.



Partner portal 


A partner B2B portal is beneficial for those companies that often collaborate with partners and have quite a few of them. Here business can communicate not only with suppliers like in the previous type, but also with distributors, resellers, and even customers. Generally, partner portals are useful for industries with complex supply chains that involve multiple partners, especially when business strongly relies on other parties. 



This type of platform typically includes:


  • communication tools

  • product catalogs 

  • analytics 

  • CRM and ERP integrations.



E-learning portal


An e-learning B2B portal is created for sharing educational resources such as tutorials, webinars, e-books, etc. Here businesses such as consulting firms, and training companies can make customized training solutions, while the receiving party is likely to benefit from convenient access to educational content. 



This type of platform typically includes:


  • course management system

  • content creation and uploading tools 

  • user management system 

  • progress tracking 

  • communication tools. 


For sure, now there are quite a lot of subtypes of these digital places. For example, the service portal has its often-used subtype – B2B self service portal which empowers businesses to take control of the accounts and orders themselves. 






Examples of B2B portal


In addition to knowing about the B2B platforms that exist, it’s also vital to look at the examples of these digital places. 





One of the greatest examples of a B2B service portal is Upwork. This is the platform where freelancers can share information about their services such as website design, e-commerce development, social media marketing, mobile app development, and more. Businesses in turn can “filter” those services and find a specialist that can perform the needed task. 





When it comes to suppliers, the example of Alibaba can be a match here. These businesses can access global suppliers, connect, communicate with them, and order products in bulk. What is more, using such a platform companies can compare and negotiate prices directly with suppliers. 





Thinking of a platform that gathers specialists in one place, LinkedIn comes to mind first. That is a great example of a community portal that helps to connect various specialists through groups, likes, and job opportunities. That is an ideal place both for professionals and companies looking for network and business contacts. 



Amazon Partner Network Portal 


Those who need to facilitate collaboration between partners are actively benefiting from the Amazon Partner Network that supports partners in developing their businesses. Additionally, APN partners can connect with other partners of this platform, and work together. 





Just in a few years, e-learning platforms have gained their popularity. One of the most prominent examples here is Coursera. It offers tailored solutions to individuals and businesses and  partners with organizations so that they choose the Coursera educational platform for increasing employee competence. 






Main Features and Benefits of B2B Portals


So, what is a B2B platform? As you can see, that is an online place where one business (that is a provider) can offer its services, goods, or information to another business (that is a receiver). The main features of such places cover:


  • Product catalog management

  • Order management 

  • Payment processing 

  • Inventory management Analytics 



And now you also know that depending on the type of the portal, there might be additional features such as forums, progress tracking, CRM integrations, and more. 

The benefits of B2B platforms are also quite promising. Generally, businesses like these digital places because of three main reasons.



Enhanced collaboration 


First and foremost, B2B platforms enhance the overall process of communication between parties which is a win-win situation for both businesses.

Thanks to the fact that there is a centralized platform, all communication happens in one place which reduces confusion and fosters a more organized approach. 



Increased reach 


The advantage of an increased reach also refers to both parties. A business that provides services can connect with a wider range of potential clients, while the receiving party has an opportunity to access international businesses and get a little bit more than is offered by the local market. 



Efficient product management 


It’s difficult not to mention the high level of product management that is achieved thanks to real-time data updates, and order management integration. Effective management starts from the very beginning once the user creates orders directly from the portal and goes through each step until the second party gets the desired result




B2B platform meaning refers to a digital place where businesses of any kind can connect, communicate, and buy or sell goods or services. To achieve the needed level of product management and enhance customer experience a professional Customer Relationship Management system is also applied. However, here it’s vital to note that it is not a requirement, and depending on the type of the platform, some other systems may be used. The decision of whether to use a CRM or not is made after the consultation with the specialist who will supply you with recommendations on whether the integration of this kind is needed.

Generally, a portal B2B control includes an enhanced level of measures and mechanisms that are used to regulate access and different operations within the portal. The measures cover:


  • strong authentication mechanisms
  • data encryption

  • data loss prevention

  • regular monitoring.


So, once a business has decided to benefit from such a digital place, it can be sure of the overall level of security.

Each company has specific factors that are important to it, consequently, the points to which they pay attention also differ. However, typically these are:


  • user engagement
  • conversion rate

  • transaction volume

  • retention rate.

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