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19 June 2024

Building a B2B focused business

Understanding the market, choosing a solution and launching it is only part of the B2B service lifecycle. What else do you need to do to build a truly B2B focused business – and succeed?

The opportunity is only part of the puzzle

We’ve written extensively about both the opportunity presented by B2B customers – and, in particular, SMEs / SMBs. We’ve also introduced you to profiles of potential customers through our ‘Gintelberg’ series.

Recently, we have shown you how you can meet the needs of such customers, starting with simple services that solve problems faced by even the smallest business. Now, let’s think about what a true B2B focus means for your organisation. How do you align strategically around these opportunities and ensure that your chosen service set reaches the widest possible audience?

According to Analysys Mason, thinking local is an important step. That may mean having a network of local distributors or reseller partners; it may mean establishing partnerships with other suppliers that are close to the desired target customers.

Either way, it demands that the service provider thinks carefully about how to get close to potential customers at a local, not just a national level – if resources are constrained, this might translate into a step-by-step approach, targeting specific locations in series, rather than trying to deliver to every place or region in parallel.

Can you leverage your retail or other footprint?

It may mean using your existing retail footprint – if you have one – and adding business specialists to selected locations, or running a rolling programme of roadshows to bring business customers to regular events. Just like many banks have an in-branch small business advisor, an SME expert resident in your stores would help introduce your B2B solutions to your target customers.

If you have an existing B2B customer base and are seeking to add new services, then you’ll have to bring your marketing team on board to ensure that they promote the offers effectively – while you want to attract new customers, it’s clearly an imperative to prioritise your existing ones. This means that you’ll need to ensure that you can clearly translate the technical features and capabilities of your solution to business problems and the benefits they deliver by solving them. You need to relate to your customer, not the technicalities of your solution.

Here, you can work with your solution partner to leverage the knowledge they have acquired regarding use cases, business challenges and more – so that you can more easily relate to the needs of your target audience.

How do you onboard customers?

Success also means that we need to think about ensuring ease of adoption. Of course, you’ll want to enable trials and to give potential customers a taste of the experience they can expect – but you must ensure that adoption doesn’t require any specialist skills or technical knowledge. Customers – particularly SMEs – don’t want friction and they don’t want to have to spend time reading manuals, watching training videos and the like.

They just want to get started, so you’ll need a digital-first approach that simplifies the whole process and makes it as easy as signing up to an accounting or finance system, for example. This experience needs to be fully integrated with your portal – yes, you could involve salespeople in the process and every onboarding step, but that may be tough when you are dealing with companies in the SME segment or have a small team. Better to focus them on specific accounts and let your digital systems handle everyone else.  

Can you handle customers without subscriptions?

There’s another side to adoption though. Many of your target customers will already have subscriptions to your network and services. Many, however, will not. It’s often the case that, in a company with 5 people, 3 subscribe to your network – while 2 others do not. You can’t wait until all migrate to your services.

Instead, you need the flexibility to include other users in your services – so, for example, numbers from outside your network should be included in any terminating service or answer groups. When they convert, they can enjoy the full benefits of originating and terminating services, but excluding users because they don’t have a full subscription is a fatal error that’s easy to avoid.

There’s much more. The point is that satisfying a technical need isn’t the same thing as launching and maintaining a service. Yes, your core solution platforms need to be more than fit for purpose, but they exist alongside your sales teams, channels, points of sale, online / offline promotions, provisioning tools and so on.

What’s the roadmap for the lifecycle of your service?

Of course, you probably already know this – but then you should know that you’re not on your own here. Gintel works with our customers to ensure that we fully address the lifecycle of the service – not just at the RFx stage, but all the way on to subscriber engagement, growth and more.

That’s why, for example, we work closely with our service provider partners to ensure our roadmap is aligned with special requirements you obtain from your customers – essentially, you secure product evolution that matches what you really need for your market, while also benefiting from innovations in others.

Choose Gintel – choose a solution provider partner

So, yes, you could just choose a solution. But to make your B2B propositions really fly, you need a partner like Gintel. We have decades of experience in helping our customers grow, profitably and sustainably.

If you recognise the B2B opportunity, understand what you need to do to capitalise on it – and need help delivering your proposition, talk to us.

We have the solutions, expertise and experience to help you succeed, based on a lasting partnership.

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