CMS for B2B: 11 selection criteria you should know

Every modern website uses a content management system (CMS) that enables and simplifies the maintenance of web content – even for editors without programming skills. Thereby, many “leaner” sites rely on free open-source systems such as WordPress or Typo3.

Especially for websites of larger B2B companies, though, there are usually requirements that demand an enterprise solution. Our partner wob AG summarizes the points that need to be taken into consideration in the following overview:

Typical B2B challenges in content management:

  • Complicated structures with many pages (e.g., many hundreds of product pages)
  • Structures with pages of varying depth (e.g., industry entries with 2-3 sub-levels, but sometimes only one level)
  • Pre-commerce features (i.e., purchase preparation processing, etc. are carried out via specific third-party systems such as those of the retail partners)
  • Personalization and role-dependent visibility of content (e.g., end customers do not see all the details, retailers get further information or downloads, sales also has access to price lists)
  • Multi-platform publishing (e.g., the output of content as a technical data sheet, as detail page on the web, as brochure inside page, etc.)
  • Cross-page content management (e.g., exchange of fixed terms on all pages and in all modules)

Because a “standard” CMS is not enough – B2B websites do more

In addition, there are other B2B-typical challenges such as complex brand architectures, different international target groups, and offer portfolios. Moreover, relatively few editors are responsible for large and complex infrastructures, especially in B2B marketing organizations.

The consequence? Workflows must be simple and fast, every activity must be versioned, and special solutions must be offered for individual contents depending on the data situation.

"Speaking of data: If the website has to do more than just supply users with static information, the term 'digital experience' comes into play to describe the additional functionalities. In other words, the website is a platform that can make very specific offers based on user data."

We provide you with a detailed description of the characteristics of such a DXP.

Digital Experience Platform in B2B

The choice of CMS as a directional decision: Pimcore as an important piece of the puzzle

In our projects, the usual suspects generally emerge: in addition to the aforementioned WordPress and Typo3, there are also Sitecore, Teamsite, Drupal, FirstSpirit, Adobe Experience Manager, and more and more on the rise among the open source systems: Pimcore. Especially with Adobe Experience Manager and Pimcore, we have made particularly good experiences.

Because both – Adobe Experience Manager (AEM license required) as well as Pimcore (license-free in the very powerful basic version) – form a “system of systems”. This means that they can be extended quite easily via the classic maintenance of static web content and grow with the requirements of B2B websites.

Our top 11 CMS selection criteria at a glance:

  • Visual and particularly user-friendly interface for editors (“in-line editing”)
  • Maintenance includes the option of making UI adjustments (e.g., change of module type, module appearance, etc.)
  • Tailor-made instead of piecemeal: system customizable to individual concepts and no blind adaption of “best-in-class” or “as cheap as possible” approaches.
  • Possibility to maintain interface-independent content (“headless content management”)
  • Personalization for different user types with corresponding rules
  • Networking with data structures (Master Data Management, MDM), product structures (Product Information Management, PIM), and multimedia (Digital Asset Management, DAM)
  • Scalable infrastructure (start as a microsite, expand to a corporate website, later extension to DXP and eCommerce platform)
  • Time to market: fast go-live (less than 4 weeks) and possibility of prototyping in real system
  • Vivid and open developer community and strong partners (no dependency on individual agencies/developers)
  • Technical maintainability, operation, and further development: The choice of CMS also entails the choice of the appropriate programming language (e.g., PHP vs. Java), which eventually becomes a significant cost factor
  • Availability of interfaces and interface expansion options (for existing CRM tools, e-mail automation platforms, tracking solutions, etc.)

Conclusion: Be careful when choosing a partner – look beyond the website when it comes to B2B CMS

The choice of the right CMS for your B2B website is, as always, highly dependent on the requirements. But there are some typical needs that systems like Pimcore can satisfy particularly well – without entailing six-figure licensing costs. Hence, look for an experienced partner who is able to think and plan beyond your website.

If you want to follow along or help out, check out our blog on a regular basis. Or follow the development in real-time on GitHub. Or become Pimcore Partner and receive newsletters, invitations to webinars, and more.

Thanks for choosing Pimcore. See you soon for the next version!

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