Although NRF’s Big Show is most about B2C cases here’s one to chew on when you are a B2B company (as well).

If you would rank all of what has been going on around Digital Customer Experience in the B2C market space as an earthquake, then definitely Digital CX in B2B would rank as a tsunami. Of course one can argue what is worse, tsunami or earthquake, but in the core the disruption Digital CX brings to the B2B space is enormous.
Let me tell you why…

Obviously we’re all human and that doesn’t change when we drive to the office. And obviously our manager in the organization we work for can be as demanding as our manager at home… 🙂 Or maybe even more demanding. So the customer experience we have when interacting with the companies and organizations in our private lives, we more and more expect in our business live as well. Not only because we are used to it, but also from an efficiency point of view: it shouldn’t take any longer and be more difficult to order and receive something we order in our B2B role than it takes in our private live. The offers we get, personalized to our profile should be available both in our private situation as well as in our professional one.
So why is the Digital disruption a tsunami in the B2B area, in other words why is this such a big change in B2B? Probably the answer to that is probably best described by a real-life example.

A couple of years back Desigual, a colorful fashion brand from Spain, operated with a B2B sales only strategy. This meant that as a manufacturer they were not selling their clothes themselves, but instead relied on other retailers selling their products. Realizing the strong dependency on their B2B partners, Desigual started defining a clear Digital strategy how to engage with these “customers” and basically this came down to applying some rules earlier found more or even only in the B2C space. Things like building a B2B e-commerce webshop, applying personalization of the offers in this environment, utilizing analytics of earlier purchases and applying these learning as well as personal preferences to provide offers. Also applying direct marketing as if it was a B2C situation. And guess what happened? Yes Desigual started to improve sales figures year-over-year just by applying these B2C customer interaction techniques in their B2B environment. 

Does this mean that there is a one-to-one relationship between B2C and B2B then? No, there isn’t, and that’s what actually makes it a tsunami. First of all for a lot of B2B companies this means a huge shift in their strategy of how they engage with their customers. Secondly it highly influences how the business processes are aligned with this strategy and last but not least in the way they apply IT or Digital capabilities. In the Desigual case, this shift meant moving from paper orders and visiting sales reps to almost solely selling through their e-Commerce channel. So: huge impact on the way of working of the Desigual people and their customers (more efficient),  a big change to their IT landscape both driven from a clear strategy and roadmap towards this new customer & sales approach. In summary it is a bigger change for B2B as these companies in general have been stuck with “old ways”, already for a longer period and the change has not been applied as gradually as in B2C.

So are you a B2B company (as well)? And are you looking for the right priorities for the new year? Go digital now, before it’s too late!

Originally posted on LinkedIn