The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world imposing an international lockdown and a suspension of personal and commercial activity. Millions of people lost their lives to an invisible and contagious virus that continues to infect communities as it ruthlessly spreads. This unprecedented crisis disrupted everything in its path. There has been no aspect of our lives that was left immune.
Main Trends in B2B Digital Transformation
Normal human and business interaction has changed with physical distancing in a way we could never have foreseen. This has led to digitization rapidly transforming B2B businesses that are now forced to respond to new challenges. Digital transformation is metamorphosing how businesses relate to their customers and business models need to adapt to continue to deliver value and earn revenue.
The time has come for B2B organizations to accept digital transformation as the new future. Ecommerce is accelerating as companies face increased competition and different customer expectations brought on by COVID-19. The pandemic has affected business from the supply chain, to sales, marketing, and fulfilling delivery.
Contract Management Software
As B2B businesses analyze the impact of the pandemic, many are realizing that the traditional contract management processes are no longer adequate. Modernizing and digitizing contract management is becoming a key strategy.
Businesses can track, locate, analyze, and edit contracts accurately and reliably, as contract management software stores contracts digitally and centrally. Essentially, it’s a document database. Technology and built-in artificial intelligence streamlines the way businesses can manage their contracts with suppliers and customers. It helps identify agreements over a large data set to amend provisions against a fluctuating economic landscape.
Traditionally, contracts are stored in hard copy or across multiple file management systems and need a lot of human effort to analyze and edit. Digital tools enable businesses to rapidly manage existing contracts and generate new ones based on templates so they can quickly adapt to renegotiations and market changes.
One of the business areas significantly impacted by the pandemic is the supply chain. Before COVID-19, businesses operated in a fairly stable and predictable environment that allowed them to rely on previous sales figures to adjust and forecast. This has changed because businesses need to monitor fluctuations in stock, supply, and demand, and not be vulnerable to the knock-on effect on their supply chains due to a global disruption.
However, with the emergence of supply chain technologies, businesses can increase their visibility on the end-to-end supply chain. Moving to digital supply networks is breaking down silos and connecting companies to a bigger supply network for improved collaboration and agility.
Leveraging technology enables businesses using digital supply networks to deal with unexpected market and global changes, whether it’s a pandemic or war that triggers demand spikes or supplier insolvency.
Sales and Marketing
Organizations are adjusting to new customer behaviors and B2B companies are facing a new reality in how they sell and what products they sell. COVID-19 flipped economic and consumer conditions upside down, and it is now accelerating digital transformation in the sales channel. Sellers are starting to understand that the routine of their buyers is changing, and it is requiring a shift in the sales field.
Sales teams need to be empowered to sell remotely and develop new sales techniques such as presenting remote product demos, and remote upskilling to learn how to deliver value to customers and identify their needs.
Marketing in B2B companies has changed radically as digital transformation replaces lunch expense accounts, business travel, trade shows, and personal contact. They are seeing the demise of business cards, sponsorships, and pamphlets and the swift adoption of digital marketing that utilizes channels such as virtual events, paid searches, and online content as a way to engage existing and potential customers.
Personalization and Customer Experience
In a world that is increasingly becoming data-driven, people are expecting personalized experiences. B2B personalization is adapting advertising content, and product offers that appeal to each and every B2B customer.
It needs smart targeting and a better understanding to deliver relevant communication to business customers. This is not just true for B2C because when selling to a business, there is a decision maker at the other end, and like any other customer, they also react in a positive or negative way to the content that they receive.
The Importance of Tracking Customer Experience
Great customer experiences is the foundation to continued growth of businesses. It promotes customer retention, loyalty, and supports the business brand. In today’s digital world, customers have more power than sellers due to the universal adoption of the Internet.
There are many options for customers online whether it’s to buy a product or research resources to make informed decisions. Enhancing the buyer’s experience through surveys, customer preference, engaging interaction, and analyzing trends is the primary way to ensure business sustainability in a more competitive world.
B2B personalization helps businesses optimize marketing strategies through utilizing the best channels to deliver the right messages. A personalized strategy has a significant impact on return on investment.
The Future of B2B Digital Transformation
The B2B digital transformation is gaining momentum as the shift moves to customers wanting digital solutions to be replaced by traditional physical tactics. It is becoming the future of the B2B experience and companies who don’t embrace the change run the high risk of becoming redundant.
Offering seamless digital solutions that improve both internal and external processes eliminates friction that plagued human relationships in the workplace, it increases efficiency, speed, and agility, reduces operational costs, and improves business and customer insights. Technology is enabling companies in so many ways that will make these digital platforms indispensable in a post-COVID world.