B2B customers want the high level of personalized service traditionally delivered in one-to-one exchanges with distributors and manufacturers. Now, they also have the option of getting that online, from B2B companies that have worked hard on ecommerce sites which optimize the buyer experience. In an interview with B2BecNews, Taye Mohler, senior director of global functions and customer-facing application portfolios at Cargill Inc., a supplier to industries including agriculture and pharmaceuticals, explains why that’s no small task as well as what’s at stake in getting it right.
Q: What is driving manufacturers like Cargill to expand online?
Mohler: We want to make doing business easy for customers. Online capabilities allow Cargill to provide opportunities to meet customers in their space by offering ecommerce services on functions that typically have been conducted face-to-face. This makes it easier for customers to do business with Cargill all around the world.
Q: What are the biggest challenges?
Mohler: The biggest challenges in creating a digital application are the internal collaborations that are required to make the experience a success for customers. This includes aligning leadership and teams on the concept, benefits and design of a digital platform. It requires breaking down internal barriers and silos within organizations that will allow people to come aboard the journey with excitement, ambition and drive to make the product a success. It requires a significant shift in thinking about how we work and do business differently; you must have partners who are forward-thinking and committed.
Q: What are the chief gains you’re realizing?
Mohler: Efficiency in how we deliver products, services and customer satisfaction. We are able to reach new markets that were previously out-of-reach, which allows for organic growth and additional opportunities.
Q: What in your opinion is the biggest thing B2B companies still need to realize about ecommerce?
Mohler: Customers still want a high level of quality and personalized service. They are willing to explore the digital opportunity and the effectiveness that it can bring to their business and lives. Many remain open to the face-to-face business connections of the past but find convenience and ease in using ecommerce solutions for the future.
Q: What is your most valuable piece of advice for B2B companies looking to add online sales or increase them?
Mohler: You must have bold leadership that is willing to provide a relentless commitment to the drivers of change which comes with many challenges. You have to be open to being dedicated to the process of creating an ecommerce tool, trust the commitment and be perseverant in evolving the project.
Q: Can you recall from your own experience an example of how following this piece of advice can affect B2B ecommerce?
Mohler: This is a journey of change management. It means that leadership and teams must adapt, stretch, learn and trust in the process. It is challenging to change alone in an ever-wavering business environment; you will see cracks and fractures along the way. Remain bold in your belief in the project and know that you alone cannot force the change—trust your partners in the journey.
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