1. Ownership of digitalisation on a strategic level

This will be expressed through digital strategies designed to develop and shape markets, and which are followed up with necessary resources. For most B2B companies, moreover, this is just oratory. The measures are not truly rooted in the customers’ needs, and they are not implemented because of a lack of investment.

2. Establish space to create consistent customer experiences across the digital and real worlds

B2B buyers that operate on multiple channels, both traditional and online, leave behind more money than those who only buy from a single channel. Benefiting from this requires thorough omni-channel integration. An average B2B customer uses six different channels in the course of their decision-making journey, and many B2B companies struggle with sales models that are not consistent. This makes it difficult for customers to move seamlessly between the real and the digital worlds.

3. Use of data to activate and strengthen the sales organisation

Most B2B businesses have still not developed sufficient digital resources that can operationalise customer centricity; and this makes them vulnerable. According to McKinsey, only 15% of businesses have adequate insight into their customers’ needs and frustrations and claim that they are in control of the customer journey that means most to their core customers.

4. Close correlation in all processes between back and front in order to improve insight and decisions

Effective pre-sales activities: the phases that result in qualification, tenders, win and renew deals, can help achieve consistent win rates of between 40% and 50% when it comes to new business and 80% to 90% when it comes to renewals. Close coordination between front and back office is required to succeed in this respect. Many companies have done a good job of automating the back office, but fall short when it comes to combining these processes with the front end.

5. Establishing a culture rooted in innovation and implementation

One third of B2B businesses take more than one year to realise a digital initiative from concept to implementation. Only 15% carry out tests and rapid prototyping along the way in order to accelerate innovation and customer satisfaction. The market leaders use agile development processes and frequent experimentation. They interact with external partners and use digital hackathons to shorten the learning curve.

6. Willingness to change organisational structures and KPIs to support digital ambitions

It has also been demonstrated that most companies face organisational challenges that hamper and obstruct digital initiatives. Introverted processes, limited transparency, role confusion and prioritisation failures from management. Only one in five systematically track digital KPIs.

Source: McKinsey 2016

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