B2B Brand Manufacturers and Distributors Are Now Ramping up Digital with Some Quick Stepping!

Far from channel-conflict, re-sellers and distributors have come to expect that viable brands will establish direct digital relationships with these end-customers and use this medium to drive more brand-loyal buyers their way.

Our recent webinar, “3 Practical Steps to Regain Control of Your Multi-tiered B2B Digital Experience” strove to expose our audience, B2B Brand Manufacturers and Distributors, to a high-level approach that will produce actionable enhancements to their core foundational B2B Digital capabilities. The discussion was grounded in a series of 3’s which matrix to open variable paths to be prioritized depending on the specific businesses model and channel emphasis for digital.

The first group of 3 we cite refers to the concentric relationship between the 3 primary building blocks of any Commerce Experience website, shown here:

As many B2B companies consider increasing their presence and commitment to digital, their assumptions and scope of reference is all too often distracted by the 3rd element – transactions. By breaking the discussion into 3 distinct segments, we try to high-light that, while they can certainly be very complimentary if desired, these steps can also be managed discreetly to align the online experience appropriately with the offline business experience. Each layer above could be as thin or thick as deemed appropriate and, if properly designed, it wouldn’t reduce the effectiveness of the other two.

Another aspect of 3’s that we discuss concerns the 3 primary ‘buckets’ these B2B strategies should be directed towards: 1) Foundational 2) Internal Extension and 3) External Extension and considerations to inform a phasing strategy. A simple ‘stepped’ matrix can often help make choices clear to B2B management teams and provide a framework against which to run business impact analysis, distribute costs across departments and otherwise determine what makes the most sense to do. From the examples we gave during the webinar, we are able to populate the following matrix:


For many B2B clients we encounter, they are still not able to check off all the foundational boxes put forward here, and this is only a small sampling of what we’d consider to be a total set. While the desire and even resources may be there to move quickly, now that B2B Digital capabilities are becoming much more strategic within most industries, there are other limitations as to how quickly these companies can shift to adopt and effectively operate within a more digitize culture. Organizational change and the development of new and distinct digital capabilities can take time and it’s important to not allow the digital capabilities get too far ahead of the organizational adoption and support.

What starts to become clear, as this process unfolds, is that many of these B2B opportunities don’t require a battery of new technologies to come to bear, really they need to be properly architected on a foundational platform that not only integrates the core aspects of Content & Commerce, but also one that is open and accessible to serve as a central hub of digital activity both within and outside the companies organization. In this light, the choice of the underlying technology that will support and drive these foundational capabilities as well as all varieties of extensions to follow, is a critical one and can only be properly considered when a full-blown Digital Strategy, Vision and Roadmap has been developed against which to evaluate the necessary forward-looking platform capabilities.

So, while many of the folks we first chat with, think that they “need to get our site on mobile as fast as possible”, more often than not, what they really need is to take a step back, take the time and energy to develop a holistic plan that embraces all aspects of their business and then step into a prioritize phased implementation plan that often spans 2-3 years. While that delay in gratification on a specific function or feature may be frustrating, this approach has been proven as the single-most common denominator across all successful digital companies today.

Download this webinar recording, and get your B2B digital experience on the path to success!

Jeff Pratt

Guest blogger: Jeff Pratt

Commerce Experience Practice Director, Verndale