Key elements for implementing digital B2B customer interaction

Digital B2B customer interaction
The success of digital transformation of marketing and sales, like any other form of organizational change, relies on the foundation of careful planning and a precise strategy. Three key elements need careful consideration when setting up solutions for digital B2B customer interaction: organizational embedding, choice of technology, and customer centricity – aiming for a suitable use case.
In a recent project, SuP talked to various contacts that are active in digitalization of customer interaction in industrial B2B settings, to share insights on current challenges. The mood ranged from optimistic to frustrated, and often both at once: optimistic about the potential, but frustrated about the lack of focus and interest internally, the limitations of budget and effort, and the hesitant and often sluggish adoption of new tools and channels at customers. All too often, such projects have been started in an activist manner, as an isolated venture and without a concrete use case, neglecting both external customer needs and internal organizational embedding as a cross-silo effort. However, next to the technical solution, these aspects are the pillars for successfully implementing digital solutions for customer interaction.

Organization. It is important to have the entire organization on board when it comes to implementing change, considering the employees’ needs, perceptions and doubts from various functions. The interdisciplinary approach is the prerequisite to ensure long-term growth and support from the team: if not only marketing but all the same the sales or tech teams believe in a new digital solution and see a benefit for themselves, they will support it. Many B2B peers see this as more than just helpful, but as essential to success. With e.g. the sales team on board, seeing a tool or channel as supportive to their own work instead of a threat that might replace them, they will support its advancement with customers as active promoters.

Technology. When it comes to implementing any digital tool, it is essential to choose the right technology and focus on its primary functions. This includes clear and frictionless functionality, addressing applications which promote regular use, possibly enabling customization to create a ‘tailored’ feeling, user-friendliness with a positive experience (e.g. short loading times, easy navigation), barrier-free usage (e.g. with a low-threshold subscription access), and meeting high security standards. As a result, digital solutions require high investment in terms of time, money, and staff. If you are not willing to invest that, it might be better to leave it alone.

Customer. At the core of it all is a customer benefit that relates the digital solution to concrete use cases and that addresses real needs. Customers should not only be convinced of the value-added, but should actively experience it. Thus, starting point is a customer centric approach. This will often exclude the possibility of a one-fits-all solution, since mostly companies need to consider very different customer segments with different requirements. Consequently, many solutions address specific target segments with suitable prerequisites and requirements. E.g., C-customers are more likely to see a benefit from a digital information source with immediate access, while A-customers prefer to keep the ingrained, highly-tailored structures with personal support.

One further requirement closes the loop among these three pillars – customer, technology and organization: users need to experience seamless consistent interactions along their customer journey to obtain beneficial convenience, facilitation and security from the interaction.

In over 30 years, Schlegel und Partner has gained extensive experience about customer needs and successful customer interaction in a wide range of industries, and translated these into the requirements of the digital world. Our experts can guide you on your path if you are interested in the digital readiness of your stakeholders, look for opportunities for added value through digital solutions or want to learn from best practices.

Interested in further information?

Please do not hesitate to contact:
Dr. Helmut Weldle

phone 0049 (0)6201 / 99 15 52

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