Using Digital Transformation to Streamline the Discovery Phase of Your Chemical Sales Process

Using Digital Transformation to Streamline the Discovery Phase of Your Chemical Sales Process

Derek Morgen

Digital Marketing Expert

In the evolving digital world within the chemical industry, staying ahead of the curve on digitalization is no longer an option—it's a necessity. 

With a growing number of producers and distributors launching digital sales and marketing strategies, the early adopters will seize the opportunity to capture today’s ready buyers.

One of the key areas where digital transformation profoundly impacts your company's success is the discovery phase of the sales process. This critical stage involves finding, researching, and selecting products, and any disruptions to this process results in missed opportunities and stalled growth.

Streamlining the discovery phase has many benefits, including significantly increasing your ability to attract new customers by improving the discoverability of your products and helping your sales team accelerate new customer acquisition.

Today, we'll discuss why chemical suppliers should prioritize their investment in digitizing the discovery phase of their customers’ journey and the technologies available to act quickly.

Challenges in the Discovery Phase

The discovery phase of chemical sales today is time-consuming and complex. It involves manually sifting through product catalogs in Word or PDF formats, on suppliers' websites or shared drives, researching them for suitability, and selecting the best ones that fit customer requirements.

Unfortunately, this manual process is riddled with common challenges, such as:

  • Inaccuracies in product information
  • Long wait times for response to customer inquiries
  • Difficulty in identifying new suppliers and products

These challenges make customers apprehensive, leading to a longer sales cycle and missed opportunities. It is also a major source of frustration for chemical buyers and sellers, as it prevents efficient discovery.

Prioritizing the Discovery Phase When Implementing a Digital Transformation Strategy

In digital transformation for chemical suppliers, prioritizing the discovery phase of the sales process is the very first step. The discovery phase is the initial point of contact between you and prospective customers - how they find you or vice versa. An effective product search experience significantly affects customer satisfaction, engagement, and overall business growth.

In the chemical industry, the ability for customers to find your products online is your digital customer experience, and today, 91% of B2B customers prefer to use an online knowledge base if it is available and tailored to their needs.

As Christophe Cabbary, CEO of SpecialChem, mentioned in a recent interview with PCI Magazine, "Today's formulators do their research online. They initiate the first contact with a brand digitally without relying on sales personnel. Even existing clients prefer minimal interaction with sales reps of their suppliers, especially in the post-COVID era."

To make the discovery process more effective, you need digital tools to help customers quickly find and compare products, access real-time product information, and view relevant application notes.

Supporting new and existing customers with product discovery

A well-optimized discovery phase is pivotal in helping new prospects and long-tail customers.

For new prospects, a streamlined discovery phase reduces the barriers to entry, allowing them to clearly understand your chemical product offerings, applications, and benefits. A smooth product discovery process aids in customer acquisition and paves the way for building trust for long-term relationships.

For long-tail customers, the discovery phase should be optimized to provide a personalized experience. According to research by Gartner, 86% of B2B customers demand personalized service interactions online today, and if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they are quick to find other vendors who can meet their needs.

Customers who already work with you and are familiar with your product offerings should have access to relevant content tailored to their needs, such as specific application notes for certain products. It also provides a great opportunity to cross-sell and upsell related products that fit their applications and deepens your seller-buyer relationship.

Leveraging today's modern tools for digital transformation

In contemporary business environments, digital solutions have emerged as game-changers, revolutionizing the discovery phase of chemical sales processes. Utilizing Product Information Management (PIM) systems and branded customer portals with product catalogs will simplify the experience for new and existing prospects.

These advanced tools centralize and harmonize all product information, making it readily available for customers to access and review. They provide seamless conversion for new leads, making the sales process easier for all parties.

At Agilis, we consistently hear from our clients that connecting their websites with online searchable product catalogs results in a 30%+ increase in conversion rates and a 60% increase in lead quality.

This results in an enhanced customer journey where product details, applications, and benefits are easily discoverable and comprehensible.

Leveraging digital solutions reduces traditional bottlenecks and paves the way toward a more efficient, personalized, and engaging product discovery process.

The benefits of a PIM system include:

  • Centralized product data management for customers and internal sales and marketing teams
  • Improved data accuracy
  • consistent information across all systems and marketing collateral
  • Improved Regulatory compliance
  • Enhanced data security
  • Better customer experience
  • Data analytics & insights into customer intent

Leveraging digital transformation to optimize the discovery phase of your chemical sales process reduces cost, improves accuracy, offers an enriched user experience, and provides a competitive advantage.

Taking the first step into digital transformation

Adopting digital solutions in the chemical industry is no longer a luxury but a necessity for growth in a fiercely competitive market. With the rapidly evolving business landscape, remaining stagnant with traditional methods hampers progress and restricts opportunities with the rising trends of modern digital buyers.

By starting with your discovery process and integrating a product information management (PIM) system, you quickly and easily transform your current approach to match your customers' needs.

Our ionicPIM solution, built in collaboration with SpecialChem, will help you centralize product data, enhance data accuracy, and ensure information consistency across all platforms in weeks. As recognized by industry publications like PCI Magazine, a PIM system has become essential for chemical companies to remain organized and competitive.

Beyond PIM, the Agilis digital commerce platform provides an effective strategy to scale into customer engagement tools from lead management and routing to eCommerce and more. Visit to get your free consultation.

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