Creating B2B Growth

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In today’s ever changing, complex ecosystem marketplace, B2Bs must rethink some of the fundamentals of strategy. It is time to reframe the who, what, where and how. B2B’s must think B2B2C.

Your Customers’ Customers are Your Customers

Well not exactly. But their shifts matter greatly. The products they buy, stores they shop, words they search, media they no longer consume, ultimately underpin your B2B. Ultimate consumer changes are increasingly only a domino drop away from your business. With consumer spending representing some 2/3’s of our economy, consumer behavior is clearly at the seat of all markets. Where their behavior goes, so to does industry. Think travel agencies. Think print publishers.

Time for Value Chain Redux

Beneath the revenue threat is first a strategic one. What B2B business you’re in is linked to what business your customer is in, and so on. What’s needed is a new take on the value chain. It’s not enough to know where the value-add is now. Value chains are unstable and create business model binds. Today, B2B’s must fundamentally understand the larger consumer context of their customers’ businesses. Key to that is to understand what problem the consumer is trying to solve and how your B2B customer helps solve that problem. Let’s call it the Solution Chain.

The Solutions Chain

Thematically, IBM’s Solutions for a Small Planet and Cisco’s The Human Network is spot on. They are correct in recognizing the human reality of their products and services. Innovations ought to flow from those realities. American Express’s Open community reflects the great solutions chain. There, small business can join-in and grow through exchange and interdependence. By helping small businesses perform, American Express is effectively serving their customers and their customers’ customers.

The Solutions Chain can help with things big and small. Strategically and tactically. For big strategy, B2Bs can scenario plan and layout dynamic strategies for the long-term. In a more tactical sense, B2Bs can make continuous enhancements that reflect daily needs of their customers’ go-to-market actions. Look for unsolved problems throughout the Solutions Chain and you’ll find keys for growth for all.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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