Business to Everyone (B2E). Are B2B and B2C disappearing?
If you are thinking, “I thought that B2E meant Business-to-Employee”, yes, the term B2E is used to refer to Business-to-Employee but also to Business-to-Everyone, it looks like we are running out of acronyms.
The term “Business to Everyone” has been around for many years and is gaining popularity as B2B and B2C business models are getting closer. As technology evolves hand in hand with consumers’ digital maturity, we see the two worlds colliding. Every day we see B2B companies that are looking to provide a consumer grade digital experience to their B2B customers, we also see other B2B companies leveraging digital technologies to extend their products and service offerings to final consumers, and we also see B2C organizations expanding into the B2B world.
Business to Everyone is not just about eCommerce or Marketing to decision makers, is about delivering exceptional customer experiences in every step of the customer journey. To accomplish this, you need to consider that today’s sales funnels are not linear anymore, front-office and back-office must be integrated to support real time decisions, and customer/consumer expectations are on the rise.
Creating a Consumer Grade B2B Customer Experience.
I had the opportunity to watch the webcast “How to create consumer-grade experiences in B2B” with the participation of DSM (Science based company specializing in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. www.dsm.com), Accenture and my colleague Anouk Vastert from SAP´s CX Advisory. In this webcast, DSM shared their business transformation vision, their expectations, their main challenges, and very good suggestions of how to face them.
For DSM, is very important to create consumer grade B2B eCommerce experiences that are user friendly and intuitive, but without forgetting very important elements like security, performance, scalability, and flexibility. A great user experience increases adoption and customer satisfaction. The adoption of self-service capabilities releases time from the sales team, that can then be used on higher value activities. The increase in customer satisfaction leads to an increase in wallet share.
People might think that creating a Consumer Grade B2B Customer Experience Is just about having a beautiful user interface with nice images and some personalization, but is much more than that, it must streamline end to end processes, not just marketing and selling, also processes like paying, fulfilling, and customer service most be covered. In the B2C world, consumers are used to one click ordering, having stock visibility, committed delivery dates, different payment methods, live chat with a service representative, just to mention a few of their expectations, B2B need to evolve to that level of experience. We all know that the B2B business has its own complex business requirements like customer specific pricing, contracts and sales agreements, different delivery locations and shipping specification, specific payment terms, customer credit management, product quality certificates, purchase orders, and many more. B2E is about creating the best of both worlds.
Busines-to-Everyone is not just implementing a software solution, is about transforming into a customer centric organization, is about braking silos to be able to meet customer expectations and gain the business agility that the market demands.
Here are a few suggestions that can help achieve B2E success.
- Assemble a team that includes members from all part of the business that touch or affects the customer journey
- Define a vision for short-, mid- and long-term evolution. The vision will change with time, adapting to the market evolution, but is needed to guide the way.
- Create and release MVPs (Minimum Viable Product), covering a process or part of it, and learn and adapt based on customer adoption and feedback.
- Don’t forget the Change Management initiatives, they are crucial to overcome the challenges that business transformation will bring.
- Outline clear expectations, create targets and KPIs to measure progress. Is not about finding who is good or bad, is about finding challenges and planning activities to face them.
The challenges to provide a Consumer Grade B2B User experience and very different to the challenges that a B2B organization face when deciding to go B2C, I will write about some of those challenges in a future blog post.
Business to Everyone is already here, let’s see which companies are the first capitalize on the opportunity and which companies wait for the dust to settle.