Some of you may have heard of a B4B already, but for others, this is a new term. Though the term has been around for several years, it is still a new concept for many. It involves rethinking your company from being a business-to-business (B2B), to one that is focused on being a business-for-business (B4B).
It comes down to changing the mindset from simply being a company that sells to other businesses to one that works for other businesses. That requires reconsidering what success truly looks like and what your company can be doing to help your customers become more successful.
Many companies get into a rut by applying the same marketing, customer experience or sales principles, and assume that this will work with just a little tweaking here and there. B4B companies take it a step further; they spend time with their customers to find out more details about how they operate, the challenges they face, and what they wished they had to become more successful. It takes a real commitment on becoming more customer centric. But taking this level of interest in your customers can spark new ideas, innovation, stronger partnerships and discover ways that your company can further differentiate itself from the competition.
There may be certain things outside your core offerings that you do well, and your customers may benefit from that expertise. For example, you may have strong marketing or operational expertise that your customers would value learning about. Perhaps it’s providing market information, insights on the industry, how you selected your ERP system, or other value-added elements. What would it look like to your team if, in addition to sales and growth metrics, you added a metric that incorporated the success of your customers as a measure of your success? How would that change your strategy, marketing, R&D and sales approach?
Developing insights is a fundamental component in the development of any marketing or strategy planning. Go beyond that and do some research by spending time with your clients to understand their business, learn more about their industry and potentially find ways to partner with them to create new solutions.
Collaborating with your customers is the key. The results may include incremental innovations of what you offer today or lead to new offerings you haven’t considered before and even possibly change how you operate.
Going from being a B2B to a B4B is not just a simple way to describe your company. Becoming a B4B requires a change in how you approach your business, work with your customers and measure success.
If just doing things the way you have always been doing them is not getting the outcome you want, this may be the path to drive innovation to obtain the growth you are looking for. ●
Dean Ilijasic is Co-founder of Long & Short of It