As B2B organizations navigate the digital transformation necessary to remain competitive in today’s business environment, gaining a comprehensive understanding of their digital maturity can be a critical advantage. With an understanding of where they are in their journey, they can identify strategies that will help them successfully move forward. “Establishing Your Baseline: Assessing B2B Digital Maturity,” a report developed by Master B2B in partnership with commercetools, was created to provide a roadmap, allowing leaders to identify their organization’s level of digital maturity, explore strategies to help them take it to the next level and gain an understanding of what stage their peers fall into.
The report offers a comprehensive framework for assessing maturity across four key dimensions — Digital Tools, Team Culture, Customer Experience, and Data and Insights. We’ve already provided deep dives into Digital Tools and Team Culture. Our latest blog in the series zeroes in on the dimension of Customer Experience, exploring how organizations can provide functionality and experiences that meet the needs and expectations of customers to enhance their digital maturity.
Advancing your Customer Experience begins with your customer
The customer should be at the heart of every business decision. To truly level up digital maturity, you must embrace a customer-centric approach that extends beyond simple lip service. Prioritizing customer input and incorporating feedback into processes, strategies and actions is crucial. Of course, this can’t happen overnight, which is why determining your digital maturity stage is important.
Companies in Stage 1 digital maturity in the customer experience dimension either don’t offer online ordering capabilities or only offer their buyers a simplistic website with a narrow range of products. To fully deliver a mature customer experience you’ll have to progress in the other dimensions. However, you can take some first steps.
At this stage, some of your customers have probably made it clear that they want and expect more. While you may be tempted to turn to your IT team for direction, Master B2B advises that you shift your focus to your customers before you start building technology. Talk to them. They will tell you what will make their lives easier — and they can share what they like and don’t like about other B2B sites.
Your customer service group can also be a great source of ideas. While they might have limited exposure to eCommerce, they have a direct connection to your buyers and can often share insights that can make a big impact on what your experience ultimately delivers.
We’re very focused on what’s going on with our major customers and what their biggest pain points are. And then we think about how we come up with one thing that solves a problem for many, many customers. We consider what offers the biggest impact relative to the level of effort.
Director of Product Management, General Parts Company
Transforming your technology to support a customer-centric culture
Once you’ve selected one or two new pieces of functionality that customers have asked for and are actively implementing the technology to deliver it, you will enter Stage 2. When this happens, you will probably discover that your existing platform can’t support the types of customer experiences you want to be able to deliver in the long-term. Note you are not alone in this realization; a 2023 Master B2B survey revealed that 60% of B2B executives said they will be looking for a new eCommerce platform in the next 24 months.
Offering a richer, more customized experience to your buyers simply requires more flexible, agile technology, which B2Bs are increasingly finding by transitioning to a composable commerce environment. If you want your B2B business lines to remain relevant in the future, there’s just no other way around it.
With composable commerce, you don’t have to wait until you build an entire new tech stack to launch your new digital experience. Thanks to a best-of-breed approach, you can transition individual components one at a time. The approach allows you to start integrating the tools you need to improve your customer experience, such as site search, checkout and marketing automation, so that you can move onto Stage 3.
Delivering an omnichannel experience that drives revenue
At Stage 3, you are able to start truly excelling in the realm of customer experience. You can provide negotiated prices, semantic search facilities, live chat support and real-time order status information to your customers. Your buyers are able to research and purchase wherever they wish while enjoying a seamless experience across all channels — they can see orders they’ve placed offline in their online accounts. Customer service has access to those orders as well, and no matter which channel they're on, pricing is consistent and reflects pre-negotiated discounts. As a result, eCommerce is driving a significant percentage of your revenue.
In addition, all employees have tools that can support the needs of customers, and your salespeople no longer fear that digital is cannibalizing their role in the organization. Instead, they see how it frees them up to provide more consultative services while driving higher commissions.
By this point, your team culture has shifted such that every stakeholder has a voice and is empowered to contribute to continuous improvement. Thus, they provide customer feedback that helps to shape ongoing digital transformation efforts.
Focusing on continuous improvement and innovation
Once you’ve arrived at Stage 4, standing still is not an option. This is the time to start exploring what’s next for your organization. Now that you’ve got a strong foundation that is delivering results, you can confidently start experimenting with adding new payment methods, stepping up your AI-driven chatbots, expanding your online assortment and creating tools to predict when commonly ordered products will need to be replenished.
In Stage 4, you also have the luxury of being able to leverage your data to deliver personalized customer engagement and anticipate customer needs and buying preferences. As long as you stay committed to laser-focused customer-centricity, backed by the right tools and a culture of continuous innovation, you can skyrocket your organization's digital maturity.
Conclusion: Evolving incredible customer experiences
Customer experience is not just about offering products or services online. It's about understanding your client's needs and providing solutions that cater to those needs. With the rise of digital commerce, customer expectations of B2B organizations have changed. They now demand the same convenience, responsiveness and personalized experiences they get from B2C platforms. Therefore, placing your customers at the center of your digital transformation strategy is key.
It’s critical to acknowledge that your competitors are continually investing in modern technologies that can deliver outstanding customer experiences. The Master B2B report stresses that you can never let complacency seep into your organization. Fully embrace the future of digital transformation, and you can be confident your business will continue to thrive.
For more insights, download the full report, “Establishing Your Baseline: Assessing B2B Digital Maturity” to gain a comprehensive understanding of where your organization stands in its digital maturity journey and the steps to future-proof its long-term success.