FUNDAMENTAL KEYS TO A B2B STRATEGY
The BIND 4.0 Open Innovation Platform helps support B2B Founders and Corporate Executives through high impact workshops and executive education during the 24-week active acceleration cycle. Since all of the disruptive tech startups in our program have a Business to Business model, we know the importance of establishing both Startup and Corporate B2B sales and growth strategies.
Oscar Torres, Founder and Director of the B2B Management Programme at ESADE Executive Education and Founder of JustB2B, a B2B Consulting Group, has been the presenter for two BIND 4.0 Workshops. The events were focused on B2B Culture & Key Sales Strategies, one targeted towards the well-established BIND 4.0 Corporate Venture Clients and the other geared towards young B2B companies.
As a B2B Ambassador, Torres focuses his executive education services where traditional education programs fail to focus because they are centered on product marketing and sales for B2C. “Between 50% and 70% of the world’s companies do B2B, yet only 10% of the cases discussed in business schools are B2B.” Torres goes on to say something simple yet crucial: “The key to a successful sales and marketing strategy is very simple: keep in mind that you are in B2B.”
MANAGING RISKS AND ESTABLISHING TRUST
It’s important to acknowledge that in B2B Startup-Corporate relationships the decision-maker, when buying your product or service, runs a risk by contracting you. It is considered a risk because he or she is buying with the company’s money, not their own, and must consider how well they trust your young company. Being authentic and focusing on the customer’s perspective, will help emerging companies establish trust.
“The first key B2B aspect to keep in mind to be successful in your marketing ans sales is to be clear that we do not sell products, we manage risks. The risks of the decision-mmaker who decides to trust us.” Oscar Torres.
When comparing Business-2-Business with Business-2-Consumer strategy, the B2C Marketing Mix established by Philip Kotler: Place, Product, Price & Promotion, has less weight in the B2B world. A more specific B2B Mix focuses on people, so the B2B Sales and Marketing Mix is: Solution, Company and People.
Startups focused on Industry 4.0 should always consider the B2B customer perspective and concerns which have them asking:
Does the solution work?
Do I trust the company that brings me the solution?
Do I trust the people I have interacted with?
EXCECUTIVE EDUCATION FOR CORPORATES AND STARTUPS
BIND 4.0 works with both sides of the B2B equation by supporting Startups with disruptive technologies and the innovative Corporate Clients ready to contract them and develop transformative solutions. To help facilitate successful Industry 4.0 Startup – Corporate collaborations, the BIND 4.0 Platform offers training for both the Corporate participants and the young Startups.
In the BIND 4.0 Corporate Partner training session, B2B Executives discover how to use something as complex and subtle as the organization’s culture to mitigate the risk inherent in a B2B relationship. Oscar Torres provides his professional insight and his recent article in Forbes USA magazine, Is a B2B Culture Needed? We at BIND 4.0 know that B2B Culture is necessary for all sizes and varieties of companies.
“B2B Culture applies to startups and corporations. When the company behaves in a way that its people engender credibility, trustworthiness and familiarity, it is good for the relationship and consequently for the business.” Oscar Torres
B2B STRATEGY, BUILD RELATIONSHIPS B2B
Another key B2B strategy to consider is talking about relationships rather than sales. Since B2B relationships are about establishing trust and helping and finding solutions, the strategies for the buyer (large company) and seller (startups) are the same. But there are two perspectives to consider, the startup which offers a solution to help, and the large company that has a need and decides to involve the startup.
When a startup helps the buyer realize they have a need or helps them discover something new, even without selling a service or product yet, they have developed a relationship where they are helping the company. Solving a problem or proposing a solution for a client company is the best way to relate to them and earn their business.
Through our Open Innovation platform, large companies are exposed to technologies they didn’t know they needed and introduced to startups that help solve their digital transformation challenges. BIND 4.0 has facilitated a wide variety of B2B Startup-Corporate Industry 4.0 projects including: collaborative robotics, AI, IOT/IIOT, cybersecurity, big data & advanced analytics, additive manufacturing, biotechnology, foodtech, smart energy, clean energy, new materials, medical devices and more.
MAPPING A STRATEGY B2B CULTURE
When considering how a culture evolves throughout the startup phases, incubation, acceleration, scale-up and maturity, remember initially the B2B Culture resides in the mindset of the Founder. The Founder is responsible for hiring, and as the company grows, the people they hire need to fit into the company culture. It is also important to create a culture that can scale with the company and which defines behaviors and standards that bring value to the customer.
Oscar Torres led a BIND 4.0 Startup Founder training session based on his Forbes USA article: B2B How to Lead Your Company’s Growth Strategy. BIND 4.0 Startups and Alumni discovered what differentiates B2B companies from those that sell products to the consumer and what is fundamental when growing your company if you need to generate more predictable business and with a greater capacity to scale in the future.
The BIND 4.0 B2B Startup Growth Workshop for Founders explores the five key principles that the leader of any B2B company must understand in order to sell more.
5 Key Principles of B2B Growth & Culture
- You are in the people business. Founders and Managers must be clear that they do not sell products, a large part of what startups sell is their people.
- Treat the B2B relationship as a process. When we treat it as a process which takes time and discipline, that’s when the startup is able to scale and be more predictable.
- Sales Management is a science based on data. Data leads the management model, always keep in mind that you do B2B, not B2C.
- B2B Marketing is vital. The marketing we use in the startup must take into account that we do B2B and focus on the company, people and solution.
- We do not sell products, we solve problems. In B2B we do sell contextual value, the B2B customer cares little about your product, they care a lot about their needs and your ability to add value in context.
B2B Startups find Symbiosis in Open Innovation
There is great value in Open Innovation & Startup – Corporate Collaboration programs that bring B2B Startups closer to the market through real customer relationships. Torres summarizes, “I think they are a fantastic symbiosis, because they bring together the freshness of the startups, which have no limits, with the resources, the means, the processes and the capabilities of the corporations.”
BIND 4.0 provides Executive Education, like the B2B Strategies Workshops, for participating startups and Industry leading corporate clients to help forge successful B2B relationships and strengthen the business culture.B2B Founders and Corporate Managers can find their next symbiotic collaboration via the BIND 4.0 Open Innovation Platform. Founders with disruptive technologies can join the BIND 4.0 Global Startup Network and apply to participate in the next edition of our Acceleration program.