The B2B world has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. At this point in time, most B2B leaders have recognized that to remain relevant in business today, digital transformation is necessary. However, before setting out on this journey, leaders need to have an understanding of their organization’s digital maturity. With this knowledge, they can better chart a course for success. To help, commercetools partnered with Master B2B to create an assessment that not only enables B2B leaders to identify what stage of digital maturity their organization is in, but it allows them to answer the questions for their competitors as well.
Establishing Your Baseline: Assessing B2B Digital Maturity provides leaders with directions for how to use the assessment as well as industry insights and best practices to aid leaders in advancing through the four stages of digital maturity. It identifies four key dimensions that impact what stage a business is in — Digital Tools, Team Culture, Customer Experience, and Data and Insights. To showcase how each dimension fits into the big picture, we’ve published a series of blogs, each one offering a deep dive into a single dimension. We wrap up our series with a close-up look at Data and Insights.
In assessing where a B2B firm is at in terms of digital maturity in the Data and Insights dimension, Master B2B looks to answer the question: How much is the organization investing in putting data into the hands of business users so they can make data-driven decisions about investments? For B2Bs in Stage 1, the answer is not all. This is because they haven’t launched eCommerce or have an extremely rudimentary site with limited product selection. As a result, they don’t have access to any digital business analytics that can be leveraged to increase the success of their online business.
First, the business has to embrace digital as a true opportunity to drive revenue and start building a modern technology foundation that can enable it to evolve into a more data-driven organization. Once this happens, they can start collecting data and exploring how to best leverage it. This critical step enables them to advance to Stage 2.
When a B2B advances to Stage 2, typically there is both excitement and fear within the organization. While some immediately see it as progress, others, such as sales representatives, typically resist the transition to digital because they’re afraid of being sidelined or replaced by technology. Leaders must recognize and address this issue. This is part of the process of advancing maturity within the Team Culture dimension, which involves shifting the organizational mindset. As The Harvard Business Review pointed out, harmonizing digital and personal sales channels creates powerful synergies for both buyers and sellers.
By using analytics-based insights to augment salespeople’s judgment, companies are improving the customer buying experience and driving better sales results.
The Harvard Business Review, March 15, 2023
Being able to leverage data to benefit the organization is the ideal state for a B2B. While in Stage 2 an organization is beginning to collect data, it’s still maturing in the Digital Tools dimension, so the business is limited in the ability to analyze and gain insights from it. To move forward, Master B2B found that typically organizations have to bring in digital expertise from the outside. This will help propel them to Stage 3.
By Stage 3, the organization is running a robust digital commerce site, leadership and employees have embraced the change, and buyers are taking advantage of search, chat and other features that enhance the customer experience. In addition, business users have access to data and are using it to gain insights that help them make better decisions.
Every stakeholder now has access to tools that help build the business — from customers having access to real-time order status to salespeople having a full 360 view of the customer to team members having access both to analytics dashboards and the ability to pull and analyze data.
Master B2B found that it is at this point that organizations start to see the problems messy and incomplete data cause. For example, if your product data isn’t clean it’s almost impossible to deliver omnichannel experiences across all channels or start selling on third-party sites. They urge B2B leaders to invest in data cleanup to avoid these pitfalls. Two key statistics illustrate just how critical it is to successful digital transformation:
Over half of B2B buyers said their biggest frustration with online buying was insufficient or inaccurate product information
The average amount organizations lose each year due to poor data quality according to Gartner®
The good news is that a 2023 Master B2B survey found that 77% of organizations said they planned to invest in data cleanup this year. This initiative is key to advancing from Stage 3 to Stage 4.
B2Bs that are in Stage 4 are reaping the benefits of having implemented a modern technology infrastructure, usually based on composable architecture. Teams have embraced digital and fully understand how digital and non-digital channels work together to grow revenues. The organization has addressed data quality issues by building a system that ensures ongoing improvement and is using analytics to predict customer needs.
Organizations at this stage of maturity separate themselves by empowering every member of the organization to do what’s right for the customer. In part that means that they’ve built a 360 customer view so salespeople know products their customer is ordering across channels. It means that analysts at every level can pull data to help them make better decisions without having to go to a specialist to run reports.
The benefits of achieving digital maturity
While getting to Stage 4 may take some time, once an organization achieves it, everything begins to move faster. The increased speed at which they’re able to gather and analyze data to gain insights that can translate into better business decisions is tangible and significant. The key is to keep the momentum going. Even though the organization is fully digitally mature, leaders should not become complacent. They need to continually explore new opportunities for growth and invest in tools that empower their employees to leverage their data and innovate.
In today’s competitive environment, every B2B needs to be on the path to digital maturity. Regardless of what stage your organization is in now, it needs to take steps to move forward. If not, Master B2B cautions, the chances your business will survive more than three to five years are slim. As Meeta Kratz, Global VP of Product Management & Marketing at Lonza, told the audience at B2B Online 2023 Florida, you have to embrace the opportunities in front of you, “Don’t sacrifice speed for perfection.”
Gaining an understanding of your current level of digital maturity and what steps are involved in achieving full digital maturity can help you kickstart your organization’s future success. To get started, download Establishing Your Baseline: Assessing B2B Digital Maturity today.