Our Insights


Digital customer relations in B2B: seize these 5 opportunities (before your competition beats you to it)

Jeroen Meijer
Jeroen Meijer
12 Jul 2022 - 3 min read

By applying digital smartly, you can build long-term customer relations. This can take different forms. For example, you can always be present on each buyer's smartphone with an attractive 'my' environment or by collecting data about what your customers want. You can also choose to support your customers with the data you possess about their market.

In this blog, you will read about the 5 opportunities that are up for grabs if you correctly tackle digital in B2B.

We can be brief about innovation's essence: to succeed, you should offer your customers relevant products or services. However, 'success' looks different for everyone. It is up to you to determine which of these 5 opportunities is the most important to you. One thing is a given, though: you need to start innovating your digital B2B customer journeys.

1. Creating loyal customers

The relationship with your customers is always at the heart of your B2B strategy. Make sure your digital platform helps them to achieve their goals. The better the relationship, the stronger your position to competitors and the more accessible repeat business will be. By providing innovative digital interactions that really help your customers to move forward, you will build sustainable, digital customer relationships in a scalable way.

For example, make sure that they have quick and easy access to information about their market. Or let them put together meals, check stocks, request promotional materials and plan or adjust deliveries. Just like B2C customers, B2B customers no longer want to be dependent on office hours and the availability of your people for service. So make sure they do not need to call you for help and enable them to take care of their own business, even late at night and at the weekend.

Do you make it easy for people to do business with you? Then you will automatically bring in more business. So stay relevant and keep adding new insights and opportunities to surprise your customers.

2.Learn more about your customers and their customers

Digital interactions with your customers have another advantage: you can collect much more data. Once your customers interact with your digital platform, you can analyze what they do, when, and how. This tells you a lot about their wishes, goals and frustrations.

In B2B, you already have a head start on your B2C colleagues on the data front. As you usually work with logged-in users, there are few restrictions on what you can collect regarding behavioral data, provided you have adequately organized your compliance and security.

However, what use is data if you cannot use it operationally? The development of a digital B2B commerce platform should therefore take place in a 'closed circle': developing ideas, building and deploying quickly, collecting the data and using that data to come up with innovations. For most B2B companies, this way of working requires technical and organizational changes.

3. Creating value with data

Data helps you to find out more about your customers. But data can also work for you in different ways: you possess data they will never be able to collect. You have an overview of the market and you can spot upcoming trends. With this knowledge, you can help your customers.

One way to support your B2B customers is to spot 'trendsetters' in your market, for example. Amsterdam and Rotterdam are good indications of trends in areas like food and beverage. Many of the popular concepts in these cities come into vogue somewhat later in the rest of the country. Your customers can take advantage of this knowledge and be ahead of the trend in their purchasing and marketing.

Alternatively, combine historical data with weather forecasts and deliver predictions of crowds and demand in your ordering app. If you are in the flower business, you will probably be able to predict the demand with your historical data, so you can tell your customers how much extra they should buy for Mother's Day or Valentine's Day and which flowers are popular. You can use your data to give your customers insight. This puts you in a position where you are both a supplier and an advisor, helping your customers optimize their purchasing. In return, they will be happy to purchase from you.

4. Testing new markets and business models

Where are the opportunities in your market? In these digital times, finding out-of-the-box solutions is essential and seeing if you can add new markets or business models. If you have the proper digital infrastructure, subscriptions, combined promotional activities or delivery of products as a service, all of these are viable options. But speed is essential; if you don't launch it, your competitor will.

5. Improving performance and efficiency

With a digital B2B platform, it is possible to improve your own sales performance and efficiency continuously. For example, a solid digital process will remove important customer contact from your sales and service departments. This saves costs and gives your support staff more time to help people with complex questions, making the working day of your people a lot more interesting. An excellent digital platform also gives you extensive opportunities for cross-selling, upselling and marketing campaigns.

But please do not be tempted to put your interests before your customers. This may deliver some extra sales in the short term, but what you want is long-term, profitable relationships. To achieve these, start by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your customers before your operation.

Would you like to read more? 

In our white paper "4 Steps to digital B2B commerce that really works ", we show you what you need to do to innovate your tech, get more out of your data and work on digital B2B commerce in a customer-focused and innovative way