In a complex organization, B2B ecommerce won’t succeed without an organizational culture that supports it.
But that culture won’t reach its full potential without help. It needs to be curated. This means building bridges with other stakeholders, communicating the value of B2B ecommerce, and explaining what it means for each person’s department and their KPIs.
The challenge here is to balance facts about the power of B2B ecommerce with empathy for other stakeholders and their challenges. Luckily, this is easier than you might think.
Here are the 5 things to remember when partnering with stakeholders for B2B ecommerce.
1. They’re people
First and foremost, these are everyday people who are doing what’s best for their company. They are not machines. They do have a heart.
However, that doesn’t mean B2B ecommerce will automatically appeal to them. They have their own interests, concerns, and emotions. You’ll want to make sure you understand the powerful drivers for B2B ecommerce, and how they affect each stakeholder’s objectives and challenges.
When you see B2B ecommerce in terms of its impact on real people, you’re in a great place to curate the culture you need within your organization.
2. Share their vision
Every stakeholder has a vision for their department and their team. They’re invested in success and want the organization to thrive.
To communicate the value of B2B ecommerce to each stakeholder, you really have to tap into their vision. You have to understand it and empathize with the challenges they face. Only when you do this can you relate the power of B2B ecommerce to their situation.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply parrot what other stakeholders are saying. You have to actually believe in their vision.
3. Demonstrate upfront value
Not all stakeholders understand the power of B2B ecommerce—or how essential it is for remaining competitive in the digital age. If you need to reset the conversation, sharing a surprising stat is a great way to do that. Here are a few you can use in slideshows and conversations with stakeholders.
Of course, we like to brag on our clients too. Here are some great stats from a few of our case studies.
4. Handle disagreements early
As in any partnership, disagreements happen no matter who you are. Being able to handle disagreements effectively will not only show that you want to make things work, but that you have the professionalism and adaptability to take all points of view into account.
When it comes to B2B ecommerce, disagreements are often clues to look for common interests that haven’t been uncovered or articulated yet.
For example, IT’s perspective may be, “B2B ecommerce isn’t right for this organization because we can’t support it.” The business’s perspective may be, “B2B ecommerce is essential because we’re losing competitive ground without it.” For both stakeholders, the common interest is that the organization would succeed. IT is worried that the organization will buy more technology than they can support, while the business is worried that the organization won’t succeed without the right technology.
In this particular case, the answer is a managed B2B ecommerce platform that includes SAP integration (like Corevist Commerce Cloud). This ensures that the business gets the competitive edge they need, while IT doesn’t get a significant new workload.
Most disagreements about B2B ecommerce follow this paradigm. The opposing positions can be resolved with creative thinking—and the right solution and partner.
5. Make time for the small things
As a champion of B2B ecommerce, you are a valuable source of information. Utilize whatever resources you have to educate stakeholders on where the market is going—and what impact they can expect to see.
Of course, information alone isn’t enough. You also want to establish and maintain relationships with other stakeholders. You’ll want to show your appreciation for the partnerships that you’re building in any way you can. Treating for lunch or coffee, remembering birthdays, and just generally being a good human—all these things go a long way to building the relationships you’ll need to win with B2B ecommerce.
The takeaway: Empathize and communicate value
It all boils down to this: You have to really care about your stakeholders’ needs. And you have to communicate the value of B2B ecommerce—what it means to them. Do these things consistently, as a good listener, and you’ll build a strong culture in your organization that understands the value of B2B ecommerce. That’s what it takes to win.