When a manufacturer launches their first B2B portal, it can feel like a leap of faith. Without deep domain expertise in B2B solutions, you’re essentially trusting that you’ve chosen the right implementation partner to build and launch the right solution.
Unfortunately, inexperienced organizations can make these decisions for the wrong reasons.
How do you know if you’re choosing your partner and solution for the right reasons?
The first step is to recognize the factors that might influence your decision. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these, but the key is to recognize their influence, then analyze carefully.
Here are the influential factors that we see when manufacturers choose partners and solutions for B2B portals.
Let’s say you work in IT, and the system in question (e.g., a B2B customer portal) serves the business and customer service. Maybe the business has already identified an implementation partner that they prefer. When IT vets the partner, they find weaknesses in certain core competencies. Perhaps the partner doesn’t have a great plan for SAP ERP integration, or they can’t support the complexity of your business rules.
In situations like these, internal politics can have a negative effect on the outcome of the project. Unless IT can negotiate their interests successfully, the organization may end up with a B2B solution that looks great on the front end but can’t possibly integrate with SAP (or support those complex business rules).
In this case, the organization could have avoided a big mistake by recognizing the power of internal politics early in the process.
This is why it’s essential to understand politics at your organization and advocate for a holistic solution that benefits all parties.
7 Best Practices For B2B Customer Portals
Start with a goal of reducing phone, fax, and email inquiries—and put the voice of the customer first. But don’t create more work for IT.
Pressure from your biggest suppliers
Say you use a market-leading software solution for CRM (or some other essential function). That vendor may have a solution for B2B eCommerce. Your sales rep with this vendor has a single goal: to get his company’s products embedded as deeply as possible into your operations.
If this company’s B2B solutions are a great fit, then you’re in good shape to proceed.
If they’re not a great fit, it’s essential to recognize the pressure you may face from this supplier. Separate the feeling of pressure from the facts about the solution. Be courageous and evaluate your options objectively.
Lack of organizational experience
If your company has never launched a B2B portal or B2B eCommerce solution, you may lack the domain expertise to make informed decisions. It’s incredibly challenging to teach yourself the ropes of B2B solutions, and sometimes, experience turns out to be a painful guide.
Some organizations can bring in experienced talent to run the project. Most, however, will dive in with existing resources.
In these scenarios, it’s essential to seek out the right partner. Three things define this ideal partner for inexperienced organizations.
- The partner should have proven expertise.
- The partner should offer plenty of in-depth, expert content to help you learn before you buy.
- The partner should talk openly about their interests and how those interests align with yours.
The urgency is real.
Given the massive shift to digital that COVID brought on, manufacturers must transform their interaction with customers to include a self-service portal.
But urgency can also push you to make bad decisions.
If you’re feeling the pressure to transform fast, it’s essential to recognize this pressure. Separate it from the messages that vendors are giving you. If you feel immediate competitive urgency to launch a solution, and a vendor is pitching you on a massive project that will take many months to complete, then something is wrong.
(Hint: If you need to move fast, the Corevist Platform launches in <30 days with self-service tracking for orders and invoices. You can expand from there when you’re ready.)
None of these factors is positive or negative in its own right. The key is to recognize how each factor is influencing your decision-making process—then take full control of that process. Exercise judgment in emphasizing or de-emphasizing the right factors for your organization. This will empower you to cut through the confusion and the sales pitches and make the right decision for your company.
Want to become Easier To Do Business With?
Check out the Corevist Platform.
Managed B2B portals and eCommerce with prebuilt integration for ECC and S/4HANA.