B2B is Ready for Digital

It’s taken a long time, but B2B is finally ready to embrace digital. No longer do clients accept B2B brands “walking in with their shirts untucked”— a sloppy disarray of Power Points made by individual sales reps, a website that spouts company features, and an array of brochures designed by various moonlighting college students.

The same power shift that happened in B2C has now taken place in B2B. Brands used to control the conversation because if a customer wanted to find out about the latest products, they had to rely on B2C TV advertising or B2B sales reps to tell them about the latest trends.
But that is no longer true. Now, the customer arguably has access to more information than sales reps or advertisers may have. Many brands have not evolved from the informational marketing and sales model, however. They continue to tout their product features, expecting customers to care, which inevitably they don’t. These companies are already being replaced by smarter competitors, and it is refreshing. People kept saying, “It’s going to happen one day, you’ll see!” Well, I’ve got news for you: it’s happening, and you’re probably already too late.

Here’s how to tell if you’re on a sinking ship: You’re probably in an organization that resists change, has historically had a successful sales model, and hasn’t had to care about marketing. And you’re probably also also relying more on “relationship selling” than you used to. For the record, “relationship selling” is just a fancy way of saying that you’re selling something that is almost a 100% commodity, and the only way you can sell it is through nepotism.

If they’re not providing features and benefits, what are these smarter competitors doing?

They’re adding value, they’re advising and they’re solving customer problems before they make the sale. And the B2B brands that get this are clearly adding value with digital throughout the sales process.

What the behind-the-curve brands don’t get is that everything must embody this strategy— their websites, mobile applications, social media and blog accounts, and their customer service emails. Everything.

It’s exciting to see B2B embracing these trends, and for B2C to keep pushing beyond the status quo. We will definitely be seeing more of this in the next 12 months.

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