1. B2B / Channel
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Chad Warren, VP of Marketing at MRM shares how B2B brands can shift from a traditional to a digital business model, including how to rethink the B2B buyer's journey.

Chad was joined by Clay Warren, Head of Digital CX at Qualtrics.
 

Hear the full interview

Digital leaders achieve 5x the revenue growth versus laggards, yet only one in three B2B companies have embraced this transformation. Why do you think that is?

“Old habits die hard. The way the marketing departments work and operate hasn’t changed in 75 years. The marketing departments of today, and I would say equally on the sales side, uses a fundamentally outdated model relative to the current marketplace, in order to drive success for its business.

These motions get ingrained and we get very used to a way of doing things, and it’s difficult to make that transition. New entrants have a distinct advantage because they’re really starting these efforts from scratch. They can build the right tool, for the right job and they don’t have to reverse engineer a system that they’ve had in place for a long time.”


How should we be thinking about using digital transformation and strategy to increase sales and penetration with customers?

“This is the customer value conversation. Ask yourself as a business - ‘What problems are you solving for your customer?’

The Coca-Cola company is an example that springs to mind. They recognized that the whole bottle ecosystem was built around individualized relationships, and that has to scale pretty broadly if you consider every business that buys Coca-Cola. They started with a website, which isn’t a holistic digital strategy, but it’s the primary front upon which you’re able to address customer problems. Here customers could order products, automate the ordering process and make service requests for their equipment. Then they went mobile with an app and began looking to leverage more channels.

It may not sound very sexy, but these channels keep customers moving and frankly, buying more Coca-Cola products.”


How can brands rethink their customer journey and start delivering value through their digital channels more effectively?

“It is categorically difficult for businesses to buy from other businesses. The B2B customer journey is really hard because decision making, especially at enterprise level, is made in buying committees. There’s lots of people involved that all have a different role in the decision. From decision-makers to procurement who has a very different set of needs than a decision maker.

A lot of brands think: “How do we make it easier to sell?”

But instead frame it as: “How do we make it easier to buy?” then it opens a door for different thinking. What kind of tools, what kind of information, what do we need to make available to our customers to help them make decisions.

At the end of the day, your job is to solve a customer problem, not sell a problem. Remember this and you’ll be more equipped to drive more value for your business because it becomes a value exchange when you are surfacing and solving a problem for your customer.”


Any other tips for businesses going through digital transformation?

“Be wary of innovation for its own sake. Rather than looking for that next channel or acquiring a new technology, be more purposeful. This sounds obvious but it happens a lot. People think “Oh, video is the platform that’s going to solve all of our problems”. It’s not, it requires thinking much more purposefully. This is the definition of being customer-centric.

People want a quarter-inch hole, not a quarter-inch drill. It’s not the tool itself that solves the problem.

Who is my audience? What do they want? How do they like to consume things? Where do they like to consume things? And what is the insight that we can bring to that conversation that is going to add value?”

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