Role of social media in B2B business
Sachin Dabir | Founder & Director, Ashnik
While talking about and planning for Digital Transformation, we have covered lot of elements of enterprise side of the IT. There is one more important aspect that is an integral part of Digital Transformation, and that is role of social media. Most enterprise IT product and technology vendors would not talk about it, but as IT solution provider, now a days, we see intersection of social media with enterprise IT quite a lot. Hence I decided to talk about it. Just like the cloud and open source technologies have become integral part of IT and business planning, social media has also become or on it’s way to become an integral part of business. This is true even for businesses that work only in B2B space.
Social media is useful only if you are dealing in consumer goods or your customers are individuals is myth. Lets look at why is this a myth and what all areas social media can help B2B companies in their business.
Whether you are a machinery supplier or industrial paint supplier or ancillary product supplier to OEM, the competition is immense. Now the nature of competition has changed, it has become globalized. Companies from different regions, different countries are entering markets wherever there is a growth. So if you are trying to protect your existing business or trying to enter into new territories you have to face new challenges.
In the industrial segment, the degree of variance in product quality, price, specification is very little. In short there is a very little scope for product based differentiation. In such a cases how do you make sure that you and your company can retain (or generate) high mindshare among the buyers. Because, any seasoned sales person would tell you – mindshare leads to walletshare. With so much of competition, overload of information and price pressure, it is the most difficult task.
This is where first the internet, and then the social media has made a huge impact.
Remember that every buyer in a B2B company also, is the user of social media platform. At individual level he or she is exposed to information through these new age media. This information may be about consumer goods or about industrial goods. If you are able to reach these buyers and create a positive a mindshare, you are in a good position to retain, enhance or generate a better perception about your company. Believe me just the website is not good enough. You need to be proactive and seen as a thought leader. Social media is the best channel to accomplish this.
Another important area where social media helps industrial segment companies is, to attract the talent. In an era when innovation and fast paced product development determines survival, it is the ability to attract and retain top class talent that determines the success. Through social media channels companies are able to enhance the brand, talk about its values, show its culture and make potential employees interested in your company.
Social media tools are helpful in sales strategy and account planning too. Today, it is the most common practice to ‘check out’ the people involved in buying process. Given that buying process is complex and often involves multiple people, whom you might not have met, social media channels gives you access to information about people, their background, previous employers, recommendations they have received, their comments, views and much more. It also helps in finding common contacts. This a goldmine for any sales person managing that account.
We also find many of the B2B companies are redefining their markets and are hence using social media channels to get feedback, to build community of professionals or to reach out to startups who are innovating. Through social media channels, these companies are trying to establish two way communication so that they don’t lose out on potential new ideas. They are also able to spot new trends and build upon them.
Interesting times are ahead.
- Sachin is veteran in IT industry and brings over 25 years of experience in setting up new businesses, leading high performance sales teams and executing growth strategies. He is passionate about open source and is an acknowledged leader in open source in Asia. As a founder of Ashnik he is leading the growth initiatives and taking Ashnik global. His stints in Asia, UK and USA enables him to bring unique perspective to entrepreneurship and life. His interests in writing, reading and mentoring makes him an excellent networker. Currently he is learning to be a patient father to teenage sons and striving to be a good husband.
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