B2B businesses may now replace an outdated business architecture with a more collaborative, customer-focused strategy that boosts revenues for both manufacturers and distributors by connecting commerce, marketing, sales, and service.
B2B clients are increasingly demanding buying experiences on par with those they have in their personal life as the “experience economy” permeates enterprises and organizations.
According to a Salesforce study, 74% of business buyers anticipate tailored experiences from their vendors, and 70% of business buyers want a “Amazon-like” purchasing experience.
Expanding into D2C selling can create surprising new possibilities for distributors as well as manufacturers.
These end consumers want greater customisation, more personalisation, and better control over their own purchase journeys; they are no longer satisfied with a fixed menu of possibilities.
Instead of relying entirely on distributors, B2B businesses must actively cultivate trust and loyalty with both their customers and prospects in order to meet these needs in the current environment.
How do they achieve this?
By dismantling the barriers between marketing, business, sales, and customer service, integrating those activities to align strategy and data, and ultimately driving a much better end-to-end customer experience.
Breaking Business Silos, Building Communication
This new model’s development did not happen quickly. When implementing this change, organizations often go through four evolutionary stages.
The secret is to not settle for little, ad hoc improvements and to continue along the path of fully integrating the customer experience.
Stage 1: Catered Content
Providing online information that educates consumers and supports distributors is the first step.
When done correctly, the consumer may quickly locate the useful information they require about a product or service.
The more knowledgeable a customer is, the more likely they are to choose your company over a competition when making a purchase.
The term “helpful” is crucial here. Consider what the potential customer could be looking for to make sure the information provided is pertinent.
Consider a producer of pumps that distributes components to air conditioning professionals via a distributor or wholesaler, as an example.
Even though the consumer enjoys working with their local distributor, they might find it more convenient to acquire product information immediately online rather than constantly going through the distributor.
Knowing this allows the manufacturer to post all product manuals, spec sheets, and other comprehensive product information on their website, which is easily searchable and accessible, allowing the manufacturer to start a direct interaction with their customers.
Everyone benefits from this improved relationship, including the distributor, the customer, and the manufacturer.
Stage 2: Customer Engagement
The next stage is for organizations to start looking for more opportunities to interact with their audiences online, through digital initiatives, or through other service platforms.
Promoting and amplifying the material developed in step one through extensive marketing campaigns is an excellent strategy to achieve this.
In addition, forums for customer support, loyalty programmes, and email or newsletter sign-ups can all help firms maintain contact with their audience.
At this point, data may be a huge advantage, therefore businesses should aggressively seek out user feedback.
The marketing team can continue to enhance the content being generated by incorporating these insights back into the marketing plan.
For instance, the marketing team can respond if a customer survey suggests that customers don’t understand how to use their just purchased product, by producing material like quick-start manuals and how-to videos.
Stage 3: Commerce Connections
When a rapport has been built with customers and future customers, brands should broaden their commerce channels.
Direct-to-customer (D2C) sales channels in particular can assist firms in redefining the relationship between commerce and sales.
Many B2B businesses are wary of taking this action because they believe that doing so may sour their connection with their distributors.
However, diversifying into direct-to-consumer selling can also open up unexpectedly fresh opportunities for distributors.
Returning to the pump manufacturer example, the business may experience a significant increase in demand from enterprises for refrigeration systems for wine cellars as it starts to develop its D2C sales channel.
The manufacturer can provide their distributors with this information, which could aid the distributors in pursuing potential new markets for their own enterprises.
In other words, developing a D2C channel expands the pie overall rather than just giving the manufacturer a bigger piece of it.
Creating new sales channels gives firms the chance to tap into niche markets that distributors might not be able or willing to serve.
For instance, emerging businesses with fewer unit requirements might view distributors as limiting or unreachable.
If the company can start fostering these connections, they will find themselves in a strong position as those clientele start to expand.
Stage 4: Data Control
Data alignment is the last stage in the alignment of platforms for marketing, commerce, sales, and services.
An accurate 360-degree view of the client experience is made possible by the free flow of data, in fact.
The business gains invaluable insights into where to focus their efforts and what improvements they need to make when every department within the company has access to data, such as,
– how prospects find their website
– which content is most engaging
– what customers like or dislike about the product or service
– the questions sales or customer service reps most frequently answer, and so forth.
Businesses may regularly review the work done in those earlier stages of development and make adjustments as necessary thanks to this data-centric strategy.
The power of an integrated strategy across sales, marketing, commerce, and service can be realized by organizations who accomplish this well.
The specific information from each group helps the others operate better across the organization. Because they have quick access to comprehensive marketing data, sales teams generate stronger and better leads.
Customer service feedback helps marketers find prospective brand evangelists more effectively. Commerce is fully aware of the features and consumer experiences that are required. Additionally, service staff may give consumers more efficient, individualized care. Everybody wins.
Organizational silos within B2B businesses have often led to fragmented, unequal customer experiences. B2B clients, however, are expecting more from the brands they select.
The time has come to reconsider this outdated corporate architecture, dismantle the silos, and adopt a more collaborative, integrated strategy that results in a more user-friendly experience.
Businesses can improve the customer experience at every stage of the customer relationship, from the initial outreach to the most recent service contact. This is done by integrating business activities and vital data across the enterprise.
How can Kilowott’s BXT framework elevate customer experience by breaking down business silos?
The Business Experience Transformation (BXT) model innovation challenges the status quo – reimagining current functions and processes to transform for the present and for the future.
Articulating the aspirations and expectations of the organization for its engagement with the digital world and of putting the customer at the heart of everything it does.
Customers’ needs and expectations are the overriding consideration in deciding what services to provide, how and through what channels.
Empowering the staff to think and act digitally, to be innovative and to seek ways to transform business processes and services for more engaging customer experiences.
Provides the criteria by which to prioritize digital initiatives so resources and energies are directed and planned appropriately.
The model is intended as a tool to define current and target states of maturity; however, it is not prescriptive as to suggest a best way to achieve the target state. It provides guidance on the development of BXT.
The level to which an organization needs to be mature in each area/dimension is dependent on your own business strategy (focus of the business), business model ( business configuration/design to realize the business strategy), and operating model (capabilities to be executed against the business strategy and model).
The model can be validated at different stages, by assessing what level “As is” against the desired, “To Be” in terms of the given maturity levels across the whole organization or individually across the dimensions/pillars which make up the Organization.
It not only addresses implementing better technologies, but also addresses aligning culture, people, structure throughout the organization. based on strategy, business model, and operating model.
To decide between adopting an evolutionary or a revolutionary approach, you should start with a thorough evaluation of your operations to determine the best path forward. The evaluation process should include assessing the following considerations:
– Workload – Audit applications and software to determine their business value, criticality and where there are opportunities to modernize. Assess workloads holistically in context of the go-forward business direction.
– Architecture – Review infrastructure elements, performance and ROI to assess where newer technologies can deliver better outcomes.
– Financial – Evaluate spend to find budget burdens and ways to optimize resources to support current operations and prepare for what’s next.
– Uncertainty – Weigh the potential for business interruption, as well as any related implications on business processes and organizational culture, against the goals of your legacy system modernization project. Consider the risks of preserving the legacy system in its current state, such as upkeep for out-of-support systems or those with limited support resources.
– Execution – Determine whether new skill sets, training, and processes must be taken into account when calculating modernization costs and deadlines.
– Planning – This is for system security before, during, and after modernization to avoid data loss, outages, and exposure. Organizations should confirm adherence to legislative and industry compliance regulations in the new environment in the security plan.
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