When dealing with the many challenges businesses face in managing their supply chains, the first issue is often identifying what the most pressing problems actually are. Oxford Consulting Group vice president Christopher Halvorson recently spoke with Bryan Ball, vice president and principal analyst at Aberdeen Group to talk about some of his B2B collaboration research and how improving in this area can yield promising business results in our complimentary on-demand webinar.
The most prominent challenges
B2B organizations face a number of mounting pressures, but it's important to remember that not all of these are entirely technical in nature. In fact, the most prominent pressure will likely require shifts in business processes. For example, Aberdeen Group found that 55 percent of organizations cite escalating customer service demands as critical pressure. Success is no longer just about delivering quality products and services, but in managing expectations and delivering an overall positive experience.
This trend has certainly not gone unnoticed. As CMSWire contributor Jon Miller recently noted, the lines between B2B and B2C marketing are not as distinct as they once were. The primary difference between the two business models is that one is serving more complex purchasing needs while the other deals with simpler buying cycles. This means that factors like personalization still add significant value in the B2B arena.
"Sure, there are some differences between B2B and B2C marketers, but like measurement they're smaller, and more tactical differences," Miller wrote. "The big things are constant throughout: Empathize with your consumers' needs. Create content that is on their schedule, not yours. Communicate informative and entertaining messages instead of blatant sales pitches."
The takeaway? B2B enterprises have to factor their customers' perspectives into the equation now more than ever, while alleviating the factors that can lead to frustration. One key step toward higher customer satisfaction is advancing an organization's degree of collaboration with its partners.
Customer service and B2B integration and collaboration may seem like distinct fields, but the processes governing partner network interactions absolutely affect the customer. A lack of communication among suppliers, for instance, can easily translate to inaccurate shipping estimates, incorrect inventories and other problems that will cause frustration. It is no surprise that Aberdeen's research found fairly large performance gaps between collaboration leaders and those with lagging initiatives.
The gap exists because leaders tend to focus on different activities and are already significantly ahead in key collaboration areas. If you're interested in finding out what separates the leaders and followers and how you can improve your collaboration initiatives, view our webinar and get the details straight from Bryan Ball.