Digital Transformation B2B Guide 2021

Table of contents:

  • What Is B2B Digital Transformation?
  • Digital Selling and Marketing
  • Digital Experience Innovation
  • Digital Operating Model Renovation
  • Conclusion

What Is B2B Digital Transformation?

In simple terms, B2B digital transformation involves the implementation of digital solutions to streamline processes. The focus of B2B digital transformations is to improve efficiency but the latest trends have shifted to enhancing the buyer experience.

  • Global spending on digital transformation technologies and services is estimated to have grown 10% in 2020. (IDC)
  • Experience-led companies have 1.6 times higher customer satisfaction rates and 1.9 times higher average order value. (Adobe)
  • 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. (Tech Pro Research)
  • Intelligent systems will drive 70% of your customer engagements by 2022. (Forrester)

B2B Digital Transformation is different for different companies but usually involves improving systems, looking for digital solutions and developing a streamlined experience. It usually includes rearranging the selling channels and some B2B companies even restructure to sell directly to the customer via ecommerce channels.

Digital transformation is considered to be an opportunity for growth. It is demonstrated by the B2B companies that shifting to digital can offer significant advantages in sustaining the business through:

  • Alternative channels for customer engagement: There has been a significant increase in the usage of  Zoom, Teams, Slack, and other kinds of collaboration and meeting apps
  • The parts of the supply chain should keep working: ecommerce has proven less prone to disruption compared to the call center or face to face channels
  • Reduce expenses: with the help of data analysis to reveal and target cost reduction
  • Maintain cash flow via business model redesign: a valuable cash flow buffer is provided by SaaS business models regardless of decelerating demand.

These advantages are significant in this troubled time, but they will also be advantageous once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

3 digital transformation shifts that can be used to sustain business as much as possible during this crisis as well as to increase customer demand when the economy returns to normal include:

  • Digital marketing and selling
  • Digital experience innovation
  • Digital operating model renovation stand out

It is considered imperative by the B2B leaders to identify and pursue those digital gains that can also elevate future performance.

This post will guide you on where to look and what to prioritize in each of the three transformational shifts.

Digital Selling and Marketing:

In such uncertain times, customers would want to know about what’s going on in the market, in the supply chain, and even in various parts of their own company. They may require help to work out new ways forward and quickly find alternatives once there is some change in business conditions. 

There are several use cases to grow the use of digital to focus on existing customers:

  1. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
    It is a strategic marketing approach in which sales and marketing teams collaborate to target a focused set of the target audience and convert them into customers. ABM can be set up in the basic form in a few weeks. Then it can develop and once the economy rebounds it can improve prospecting and new customer acquisition.
    2. Digital customer insights and analytics
    Digital customer insights and analytics become important when the regular methods of monitoring a category via face to face interactions amid industry ecosystem participants stop working. Connect with your customers \virtually or get insights via an email or online feed, and it will also serve as a source of insights for innovation after the current crisis of COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
    3. Direct Ecommerce
    Brands are turning to direct ecommerce as there is significant profit margin due to the decrease in costs. Brands can reduce losses by avoiding the middle men like wholesalers and retailers and reaching the customers directing. Barriers created by intermediaries including agents, distributors, and systems integrators can thwart suppliers from carrying out commerce straight with their customers.  These barriers will be shattered during a crisis; facilitating both supplier and customer to maintain a revenue stream while creating a valuable direct connection once the conditions improve.

Digital Experience Innovation:

Digital experience innovation plays a crucial role by fulfilling the requirements of the user 24/7 with less human involvement from the purchasing team or the supplier. The use cases for user support cover the total customer experience. They include:

  1. Virtual Technical Support
    B2B suppliers can try to figure out ways to bring their expertise online by providing training guides, specification sheets, and other materials to the customers online. Gathering data on problems and their solution can later facilitate AI-driven systems to automate the service in the future.
  2. Online Learning
    Online Learning becomes inevitable when no source is available readily for corporate users to know how to deal with new components, a crucial application, or manage a new service because their normal routine was altered by a disruption in the supply chain.
  3. A Digital Bulletin Board
    You can let customers know about what’s going on from a supplier and industry point of view with the help of a Digital Bulletin Board. It can cover multiple topics and can be used to keep both employees as well as a customer informed.

Digital Operating Model Renovation:

Consider taking significant steps to improve the efficiency of the business in ways that will be sustainable for the future.

  1. Subscription Revenue Models
    Subscription Revenue Models offer a more sustainable revenue stream during uncertain as well as normal times.  You can move to subscription during this crisis time is already depressed, interest rates are low, and investors might be ready to support any shift that sustains revenue. 
  2. Agile Process Redesign
    Consider introducing agile teaming methods to the workforce as this system can be set up rapidly with quite low investment. It helps in driving leadership accountability, clarifying project status, and ensuring that projects stay customer-focused.


These nine digital shifts form a foundation for analyzing the steps taken to sustain B2B businesses in such uncertain times while putting down the groundwork for success in the future once this crisis is over.  The moves described in this article are going to be valuable to customers, employees, and businesses. Act now to strengthen your options and improve your chances of success.

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