Yesterday, we posted a blog that talked about the second hurdle to B2B Collaboration. Today, we'll go over the third and final hurdle.
Overcoming the Obstacles
Hurdle #3: Over-reliance on offline technologies (email and fax). Many sellers cling to inefficient email/fax handling of order-to-cash processes to avoid the culture change B2B collaboration requires. They may also fear that e-commerce will cause them to lose personal contact with their customers, which they consider central to their competitive advantage.
What’s the solution? While it’s true that B2B collaboration represents a whole new approach to business, staying focused on the rewards it offers—and encouraging other stakeholders to do the same—can make the shift easier. Email and fax simply move paper-based processes online, whereas B2B collaboration gives you and your customers all the benefits of a fully automated order-to-cash cycle. What’s more, hanging back only delays the inevitable, since companies are adopting B2B collaboration in ever-larger numbers. For example, Aberdeen research shows that it ranks as the second and fourth most important strategy by best-in-class buyers and suppliers[iii], and 83 percent of industry leaders currently have a B2B collaboration initiative in place[iv]. By moving ahead sooner rather than later, you’ll position yourself as a seller partner able to deliver the service, speed, and purchasing experience today’s buyers increasingly demand, giving you a major edge over sellers who lag behind.
Both industry statistics and experienced B2B sellers easily squelch the myth that B2B collaboration separates you from your customers. The nature of your interactions will indeed change, but in ways that strengthen rather than weaken the relationship. For example, sellers that integrate increase retention rates by an average 48 percent[v] (check out this Ariba LIVE session on SlideShare to hear one seller’s results). And instead of feature-function-benefit sales calls or discussions about transactional/logistics issues, you can connect with customers on a strategic level that focuses on the value you give to their business.
In the Next Blog - Paving Your Way to B2B Collaboration: Ariba Integration Connectors