Digital Transformation can be described as the re-alignment of, or, new investment in technology, processes and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers. According to Altimeter’s 2017 State of Digital Transformation report, only 37% of businesses view digital transformation as an investment in the fight against market disruption.
Rather than look at digital transformation as an investment in the future of the enterprise. Far too many organisations view their business simply as a cost that is hard to quantify. Nowhere is this more evident than in the B2B sector. B2B enterprises are notorious for sticking to the customer acquisition ways of the past. Instead of embracing the onslaught of technology and digital influences, some B2B organisations prefer to adopt a ‘bury their head in the sand’ attitude when it comes to growing the company.
If B2B enterprises don’t immediately develop a digital transformation attitude, it may quickly become too late. If your B2B enterprise wants to double-down in 2018, below are 10 crucial tips your team should bear in mind.
1. Consider the impact of all component’s of a digital transformation strategy
Each component of your transformation journey must be tracked and analysed for maximum efficiency. It is not enough to integrate a digital transformation plan into your B2B organisation; you must be willing to monitor each component of your strategy to increase your company’s ROI. From the initial capital investment, to your administrative costs and your churn rate for specific products or campaigns. Each attribute of your ongoing digital plan should be analysed to understand the value being brought to your organisation. Failure to carefully consider each component’s impact on an overall digital transformation plan can significantly reduce your ROIC.
2. Involve all departments in the digital transformation
For a B2B digital transformation plan to be successful, the transformation must include all levels of an organisation. It is not enough to have sales and marketing in agreement with a digital plan-of-action. Everyone from the CEO to the customer support team must understand an organisation’s digital roadmap and know how important their participation is for a successful (and profitable) outcome to occur.
3. Leaders need to be the first to embrace digital transformation
Embarking on a digital transformation plan for a B2B organisation takes courage. A CEO must understand the impact this new way of doing things will have on their organisation. There might be some employees/vendors/suppliers who will not welcome this new way of doing things. B2B relationships can be especially fraught with the old “that’s not how we do things” mentality and that some participants might be resistant to change. The willingness to be courageous in the face of change (and dissension!) is crucial.
4. Review your technology stack and resources for maximum efficiency
A well-honed digital transformation plan doesn’t happen in a vacuum and utilises a myriad of resources. Efficient B2B organisations understand the power of using multiple components to increase the speed and efficiency of there transformation. From APIs and SDKs to micro-services specifically tailored for business growth, a successful digital transformation strategy is multi-layered for maximum efficiency.
5. Focus on achieving long term value creation
A detailed digital transformation plan can impact multiple levels of revenue. Both revenue growth and operating profits can increase as a result of a well-executed digital strategy. The only issue is this growth can take time to realise and may not happen over night. If your organisation is focused on increasing long term profitability and building a resilient business, a transition to a digital business is no longer optional.
6. Consider the benefits to marketing iniatives
B2B organisations implementing a digital transformation plan can improve everything from their sales conversion rates to their search engine optimisation. By studying their analytical data, they can improve their email marketing conversions, increase their CTR (click through rate) on broadcast campaigns, and can increase their time-on-site rates at the same time. The benefits of transitioning to a digital-first strategy are many and will only continue to grow as more digital inputs become mainstream, i.e. voice inputs, smart home/smart office digital assistants.
7. Consider digital transformation as a way to better serve business partners
B2B organisations that approach digital transformation from a service aspect will have a much easier time making the transition. Rather than focus on how much digital inputs influence this new way of doing things, instead focus on being of service and how to best be of service to business partners. When team members realise the transition is all about satisfying the needs of business partners, the transformation pill is much easier to swallow.
8. Focus on improving customer experience
Aspects of a successful digital transformation strategy must be customer-focused. From the customer’s experience with brand initiatives to the customer’s voice in the development of products and services, companies that develop a customer-focused digital transformation strategy are much likelier to achieve the results they desire.
9. Think of digital as the only way forward
Some team members may question the sanity of a digital transformation plan-of-action, especially when they realise the initial financial costs the organisation will have to incur. While these initial expenses, i.e. data analytics platforms, content marketing, might seem like a questionable cost at first, not incurring these expenses isn’t an option. A failure to make the move to a more digital way of doing business is an acceptance that a company does not wish to move forward and willingly succumbs to savvier, forward-thinking competitors.
10. Understand the importance and value of data-based decisions
If B2B organisations adopt only one central theme for their digital transformation, it must be that data should determine every aspect of an ongoing digital strategy. Understanding the importance of data-based decisions is critical for success. Effective digital strategies are built upon real data, not on following trends or chasing the latest hot, new tool released to the marketing community. Companies that base their digital transformation strategy on real data are much likelier to achieve substantial, ongoing growth.
Digital transformation are popular among B2B organisations, it shouldn’t be undertaken without serious consideration as to its impact. Know how digital transformation will influence the growth of your company, develop a cohesive plan-of-action, and measure results continually. It is only then that you will be able to reap the rewards of digital transformation for your B2B enterprise.