exploring the importance of digital transformation for b2b


Across the globe, digitalisation has brought about a paradigm shift. Consumers and businesses have adapted to this new mode of consuming digital information - migration to e-commerce has accelerated and supplier networks have also embraced it. The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed digitalisation further and even if it recedes, there would be no turning back to the offline processes that were erstwhile prevalent in businesses.

As per the research conducted by McKinsey, leaders who have embraced digital transformation witnessed a five-fold increase in their revenues and their company shares got 8% better returns. Therefore, now more than ever before, leaders will have to understand digital transformation and deploy it for their companies and businesses.

What is Digital Transformation?

B2B digital transformation helps leaders in streamlining and enhancing their businesses. Usually, digital transformation is aimed to improve growth, efficiency and operations. However, digital transformation now also directly impacts the buying experience.

Leaders know that digital transformation is relative and it varies for companies and sectors. Nevertheless, digital transformation helps in bringing about a major culture or even mindset change to the companies. From updating digital solutions, streamlining processes to finding a holistic solution for internal as well as external purposes, B2B digital transformation involves all of it. For instance, for a certain global agro-input company, B2B digital transformation could mean getting rid of middlemen and creating a digital omnichannel to reach its dealers, vendors et al.

In the real world, we have a brilliant case study of GE Countrywide's B2B digital transformation. It not only helped in wholly reshaping the company but also helped in creating a new market for their commercial internet. Moreover, this transformation helped in uniting cluttered business verticals under the tutelage of a consolidated digital unit. At the same time, by hiring data analysts and software engineers, GE Countrywide introduced a digital-first culture and led by example. By studying GE Countrywide, leaders will understand that with the right mindset, digital transformation can help in turning around an entire company for good and prepare it for the uncertainties of the future.

How to Initiate B2B Digital Transformation?

To successfully start the digital transformation, leaders must understand their customers' or partner companies' needs with a strategic mindset. If you are planning to deploy digital solutions just to employ new technology then it would waste resources and time.

The best way to initiate B2B digital transformation can be tapped by extrapolating customer needs, technology and thereby creating seamless experiences for your target audience. Take, for example, ING who promptly introduced digital transformation. The customers of ING had to visit various portals and log-ins to access their financial details. By undertaking digital transformation by assessing all of these bottlenecks, ING created a single digital touch-point for its customers. This external recalibration also increased the efficiency of their internal stakeholders. Collectively, this digital transformation won many accolades for ING and it also increased their profits by 23%.

Although B2B companies are known to be slow to adapt compared to their B2C counterparts, B2B companies and especially their leaders need to see the trends and leverage them. B2B company leaders can embrace digital transformation by streamlining their deal cycles, slow approvals, and complex processes. Leaders need to invoke a sense of innovation and advancement throughout their companies, only then digital transformation would yield its results.

B2B companies, their leaders who would fail to offer seamless digital solutions run at a risk of becoming irrelevant sooner than later. As a leader, you need to simply understand the principles of digital transformation, simplify, motivate your teams to embrace it and remain patient enough to see it all unfold - digital transformation is not a herculean task if you lead and plan by looking at the bigger picture.

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