Initiatives for B2B digital transformation during a pandemic | Acro Media
Laura Meshen


Laura Meshen

, Content Marketing Specialist

Posted in Digital Transformation

February 2, 2021

Initiatives for B2B digital transformation during a pandemic

COVID-19 has completely upended how the B2B sector does business. How we meet prospects, sell products and fulfill orders had to change almost overnight. Face-to-face events, client meetings, and in-person demos are no longer options. B2B has had to figure out quickly how to take direct, physical contact out of their business. This means that transitioning to a digital-first strategy. In this piece, we define four digital initiatives B2B businesses could take to make up lost sales processes due to the pandemic.

B2B - Digital Transformation in MotionThe B2B sales digital transformation is also being driven due to the fact that buyers gained power overnight — the funny gripe of "this meeting could have been an email" is now a reality. B2B sellers had to adjust immediately to the needs of their buyers and develop new ways of showcasing products, completing sales, and even fulfilling orders. Better websites, detailed and personalized online catalogues, and ecommerce capabilities have become essential for survival, rather than a nice-to-have project for 5 years down the road. That 5-year plan has been pushed up to immediately.

Digital transformation doesn't happen overnight and B2B companies need to be selective as to what digital initiatives or projects they prioritize. Often companies facing digital transformation will develop MVP solutions (minimum viable products) that solve an immediate need while also giving them a framework to continue to build on and further develop solutions.

MVP initiatives to start B2B digital transformation

Digital product catalogues

This seems almost too simple BUT a lot of B2B companies still rely on printed product catalogues. A quick MVP project would be to create a digital product catalogue that prospects and clients can access easily online. A digital catalogue also gives B2B companies more flexibility with what content they want to show and how often they want or need to update product information. When developing digital catalogues, mobile readiness is essential not only for client use but also for your sales team to use when face-to-face interactions are allowed. Having information on demand electronically gives sales teams and clients the freedom to have questions answered immediately.

Reordering with online commerce

Many of the orders B2B companies receive are either replenishment orders or orders that do not need a significant amount of product discovery and research. Some B2B buyers place the same order for the same products, with the same quantity, every month. Creating a simple way to place re-orders can be the first step in building a B2B digital commerce site. Make this process especially simple; where a client can log into their account, view past orders and simply repeat them.

Adding integrations for better functionality

Customers want simple reordering options, linked to their account information. Integrating your ERP or accounting software to your commerce site does just that. This allows your internal operations (accounting, warehousing, fulfillment) and your ecommerce operations to sync up and improve workflow. Customers and place new or replenishment orders at their leisure, freeing salespeople up to hunt new customers instead of taking manual orders from existing customers.

Alternately, if your site is enabled for new account setup, B2B organizations can acquire new accounts via marketing efforts and paid or organic web traffic. Since the new B2B buyer is inclined to want a contactless sales interaction, this is a good passive option for every site to have or work on getting in place.

Tailored customer offerings through personalization

B2B digital commerce sites, when integrated with an ERP or other system of record, can also present customized sites in which customers only see the information that is relevant to them. This could include, for example, customized price lists and product catalogues. Furthermore, these customizations could be tailored to specific business units or geographic regions.

Understanding the value of minimum viable product (MVP) projects

By breaking digital transformation into smaller MVP projects, B2B companies are able to gain a foothold in the digital marketplace and counteract some of the ways that this pandemic has affected sales operations. This also allows for large-scale digital transformations to take place in budget and schedule friendly iterations. This reduces the amount of time it takes to get a project completely to market and insures that there is continuous improvement throughout the life of the project.

Check out our Hu-Friedy case study to see how Acro Media was able to adapt to B2B business needs when the pandemic started and delivered MVP products with a solid plan and architecture for future growth.

B2B Digital Transformation in Motion