Today, most B2B companies know that e-commerce is a sure path to growth, but across the industry, the outcomes of online initiatives vary greatly. No matter what a company’s challenges, from legacy-bound technology to gaining management buy-in, success depends on a key element sometimes overlooked in a rush to e-commerce—setting specific, achievable goals, says Linda Taddonio, partner at IQAcceleration, who will speak at B2B Next, which be held in Chicago, September 24-26.
In a workshop on “Business Models: Creating and Leveraging Digital Acceleration,” Taddonio will address how targeting goals for every initiative and customer segment guides the best selection of strategies and tactics, as she discussed in a recent interview with B2BecNews.
Q: What is driving B2B companies to expand online?
Taddonio: Bottom line, a strong online presence is no longer optional. The expectation today is that anyone interacting with any business will have anywhere, anytime access, on any device to the information or the capability they need or desire to accomplish their work. Buyers now use the internet for research, so they move much farther down the sales funnel before engaging with a physical channel, if they engage at all. If your business doesn’t have an online presence that promotes and protects your brand, you are simply not found by today’s buyers.
Q: What are some of their biggest challenges?
Taddonio: They’re different in different verticals. For distributors, access to product content is one of the biggest challenges as the SKU count is high and the content must be normalized across several hundred manufacturers. Another key challenge for distributors is the variety of buyers they serve. This might include corporate buyers, researchers, engineers, field service technicians, maintenance staff, etc. And generational preferences towards technology add more online requirements.
For manufacturers, one of the biggest challenges is channel conflict. They need to support their legacy channels with improved technology, yet they realize the importance of establishing a relationship with the end consumer. That relationship has been “owned” by their legacy channels in the past.
For all legacy B2B organizations, a major challenges is articulating a vision for the future that leverages technology through their organization and out to their customers. They also must gain executive team alignment on execution. Most B2B companies today are starting to understand that digital initiatives affect the entire organization and are beginning to work in a cross-functional capacity to figure out the best path forward.
Q: What are the biggest gains they’re realizing?
Taddonio: Realizing gains goes hand in hand with expectations and goals. I’ve seen many B2B companies either don’t set goals at all or they set goals that are very low. Or, goals are not specific enough, so the execution and programs to support the initiative are incomplete. On the flip side, I’ve seen companies that drive efficiency throughout their processes to serve their customers in differentiating ways that have achieved very, very high goals.
Q: What is the biggest thing B2B companies still need to realize about e-commerce?
Taddonio: Most B2B companies undervalue data and analytics. As artificial intelligence takes center stage in enhancing all online experiences, having the data to predict behavior and make recommendations will become increasingly important.
Q: What is your most valuable piece of advice for B2B companies looking to add online sales or increase them?
Taddonio: Set radical goals that are specific for every initiative, every customer segment and craft the programs necessary to drive success. Then, relentlessly pursue the goals.
is open. The conference features:
- 33 Sessions
- 47 Speakers
- 34 Exhibitors
- 9 Networking Events