In B2B commerce, achieving digital maturity is the holy grail for businesses aiming to stay ahead of the curve. In the webinar "Insiders Reveal: How to Benchmark and Accelerate Your B2B Digital Maturity," industry experts Brian Beck and Andy Hoar, from Master B2B, hosted a discussion that aimed to investigate the intricacies of this journey with trailblazers from leading B2B companies. Through their discussions, the panelists shed light on their strategies, challenges and the transformative power of digital maturity.
Brian Beck: Leading authority on B2B eCommerce and a maestro in translating eCommerce complexities into actionable strategies.
Andy Hoar: A luminary in B2B commerce research, guiding businesses through the complexities of the digital landscape.
Andrew Goodfellow: The Chief Technology Officer at Zoro believes that technology is at the core of B2B digital transformation.
Pekka Jaarinen: Hailing from Finland, the Director of Digital Services at Normet shared insights into the quest for better predictive models to enhance the customer experience.
Ashley von Kluck: A strategist and Senior Solution Engineer at commercetools, emphasized the importance of intentionality in technological shifts.
Theresa Kuske: The Digital Marketing Director at Ergodyne shed light on the practical aspects of digital maturity and team culture.
Gireesh Sahukar: The "Silencer" on data and insights, the Vice President of Digital at Dawn Foods unveiled the role of AI tools.
Uncovering the value of B2B digital maturity
In the dynamic landscape of modern commerce, digital maturity isn't merely a buzzword; it's a strategic evolution that defines the success of businesses in the digital era. It encompasses the profound transformation from traditional business models to agile, tech-savvy operations that result in outstanding customer experiences.
Digital maturity, within the B2B landscape, involves proactively integrating advanced digital technologies to elevate and refine intricate business processes. This transformative evolution goes beyond the mere adoption of cutting-edge tools; it represents a comprehensive strategy aimed at harnessing technology to drive unparalleled efficiency, foster innovation and amplify customer-centric practices tailored specifically to the B2B sector.
Foundations and tools: Ashley emphasized the importance of a solid foundation, urging businesses to prioritize thoughtful integrations and digital tools. She stressed, "It's the ability to deliver quickly and efficiently, and having a supportive architecture underneath all of that to allow you to be flexible, scalable and take some of those risks without it taking up too much time or money or resources."
Customer-centricity: The conversation pivoted to the heart of B2B success — the customer. Pekka emphasized the significance of predictive models for understanding customer needs. His point illuminated the power of his company knowing their customers' machinery. Leveraging IoT and these predictive models, his team can proactively provide spare or replacement parts based on usage patterns.
This proactive approach ultimately enhances their service, providing a better experience for their customers. Pekka stressed the importance of not only meeting current needs but also predicting and addressing future requirements, foreseeing a revolutionary shift in how businesses tailor their services to ensure a seamless customer experience.
Flexibility and adaptability: Brian guided the conversation towards the third dimension — a space where businesses not only transcend traditional norms but also embark on the positive journey of introducing new lines of business. The spotlight shone brightly on the significance of flexibility and nimbleness in this context. Drawing from real-world examples, Ashley underscored the transformative power of a flexible structure, emphasizing the need for businesses to possess adaptable frameworks that facilitate the seamless introduction of new services or models.
This adaptability becomes the catalyst for companies to respond effectively to market changes, fostering a culture of innovation — an indispensable aspect of achieving digital maturity. The conversation delved into how the introduction of innovative services, extending beyond the confines of traditional product lines, has the potential to reshape entire business models.
Data and insights: In the dimension of data and insights, Gireesh shared the challenges of wrangling messy data, describing it as either a lifetime problem or an everlasting. His insights painted a vivid picture of the struggles many businesses face in cleaning and leveraging their data effectively. The power of AI emerged as a guiding force, particularly in areas like demand planning, forecasting and personalizing customer experiences. Gireesh’s reflections echoed a broader sentiment in the B2B landscape — the ongoing battle to harness the true potential of data.
Unpacking the dimensions
Diving deeper into each dimension (Digital Tools, Team Culture, Customer Experience, Data & Insights), the webinar presented a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities within each. It became evident that while tools and technologies are crucial, they are only as effective as the foundations supporting them. A significant aspect contributing to these foundations is Team Culture, where the collaborative efforts and innovative mindset of the team become paramount in navigating the complexities of digital maturity.
The customer-centric approach emerged not as a buzzword but as a strategic imperative. Flexibility and innovation were portrayed as catalysts for true transformation. The data and insights dimension, though riddled with challenges, showcased the potential for businesses to leverage AI in reshaping their future.
In the words of the panelists
Now, let's delve into specific insights from our panelists, each offering a unique perspective on one of the dimensions of digital maturity. They discussed how to encapsulate the essence of digital maturity as a strategic journey focused on delivering value, creating meaningful journeys, understanding customer needs and leveraging technology for enhanced experiences.
Andrew highlighted the necessity of using data in digital experiences, compensating for the lack of direct human engagement to understand and fulfill customer needs, "The difference between a digital experience and a human experience is we can’t engage the person and look at them and understand what they need. So, we have to use data to do that."
Ashley emphasized the importance of not just adopting tools but ensuring that each tool adds tangible value to the business and customer experience, "It doesn't matter how many tools you bring into your box; you really just want to make it something that's going to be bringing value."
Pekka discussed the ongoing efforts to enhance predictive models, stressing the importance of understanding and fulfilling customer needs both now and in the future, as "[There are] better predictive models that we are still working on, but we need to have those system or features in place, so that we know what the customer wants to buy already today, as well as what they will want to buy tomorrow."
Theresa underlined the strategic use of technology as a means to an end — creating a meaningful and impactful customer journey, "The goal is not just to do technology for technology's sake. It's really about creating a journey."
Gireesh shared insights into how AI is being leveraged for demand planning and personalized customer experiences, demonstrating the practical applications of these technologies, "Those are the areas where we're applying AI right now. We're also applying AI and some machine learning models to think about and to recommend what products does this customer want on this visit to the website."
Navigating future B2B digital transformation
The B2B digital maturity journey isn't a one-size-fits-all narrative. The webinar offered a panoramic view of the challenges and triumphs, with each dimension acting as a compass for businesses to navigate their unique paths. As Ashley wisely noted, "You can have all the tools in the world, but your business knows the customer's needs best." In the dynamic seas of B2B commerce, digital maturity isn't a destination; it's an ongoing voyage where the compass of insights and experiences guides businesses to unprecedented shores.
Interested in learning more about accelerating your B2B digital maturity? Watch the full on-demand webinar, Insiders Reveal: How to Benchmark and Accelerate Your B2B Digital Maturity, or download Master B2B's full report, Establishing Your Baseline: Assessing B2B Digital Maturity.