This question was recently posed to me and the simple answer was YES! The next question was why?  Especially if the company believes they are close to their customers and know them well.  The answer: times have changed.

B2B businesses need to see if they have effectively adapted to these changes and are they still delivering in line with customer needs and new expectations.

Just a few examples I have come across recently, which have affected B2B businesses and then their end customers, are:

  1. Overseas production centres for raw materials have been disrupted resulting in delays in shipping goods to South Africa, which in turn has stalled or slowed production and increased input costs. We need to be asking our B2B customers:  Are they looking elsewhere or importing directly? How good have we been about handling this challenge?  Have we provided enough communication on what we are doing?  How can we help them?
  2. Supplier selection may have changed due to health and safety requirements. I know of a company which has totally switched a product and supplier in their mining processes due to health and safety requirements. The old supplier just cannot compete with their existing product despite the new supplier being more expensive.
  3. In-person relationships, which are often core to B2B sales and ensuring long term loyalty, have been disrupted. How well have our sales teams managed this disruption?  What was the virtual experience like?  Can the sales team switch to all virtual engagements?  What do client’s want long term?
  4. Technology has impacted everything from the way in which ordering, sales, invoicing, scheduling, tracking orders, manufacturing, service processes and delivery, takes place. How important is this for your B2B clients?  Are your digital platforms working well?  Do you need different functionality and interfaces?  Do customers need training?