Increasing digitalization is changing the B2B business dramatically. The importance of online channels is growing and B2B buyers are digital natives. The classic business intelligence structures are overwhelmed by the analysis of large amounts of data. Big Data Analytics is the strongest trend in B2B and has gained in relevance as a pillar of digital transformation.
In the meantime, not only historical transaction data from completed transactions or customer contact history data from CRM systems are available, but also additional sources (e.g. websites, social media) are of great importance. Intelligent cloud solutions allow access to usage data in real-time mode and offer potential for more flexible performance.
With Big Data to Success
Digital behavior patterns of existing and potential customers can be used through the intensive use of all online channels and social media platforms of companies. As a result, the data pool is growing. We’re talking about 2.5 trillion bytes per day worldwide (equivalent to 36 million iPads of storage capacity). The use of predictive analytics is indispensable for analyzing the data.
Next Best Offer: See what’s next
Intelligent algorithms are able to automatically recognize customer usage and behavior patterns. The activities of a customer can be systematically observed and evaluated. In addition, it is possible to anticipate trends. In sales and marketing, automated forecasts can be used to see what the customer will buy or demand “next” (Next Best Offer).
The principle of the Next Best Offer (NBO) is the same as with the popular provider Netflix: The methodology of the film and series recommendations can also be translated into the B2B business at the same time.
Here, on the basis of the individual orders, purchases and other data, it is predicted which customer will buy which product next. The targeted customer approach optimizes business processes. Cross-selling potentials can also be tapped in this way.
Forecasts with a high hit rate
The NBO forecasts of Dastani Consulting had in the past hit rates of 42.90% for an online mail order company with over 10,000 products. For example, 3,089 of the 7,200 active customers bought at least one individual recommendation in a given period. This corresponds to almost half of the online retailer’s total customer base. With a rate of 17.35%, customers even acquired more than one recommendation (at least two products).
In comparison – without the NBO forecasts – the hit rates are very high because the online mail order business has a fairly large product portfolio and it is very difficult to find an attractive product for the customer among a random product selection. This means that the larger the product selection in the online shop, the more you as a supplier can benefit from the Big Data analyses.
Conclusion: More opportunities than risks
The digitalisation of B2B sales presents a major change, but the opportunities outweigh the risks. Companies can benefit from Big Data and therefore sales staff must also learn to trust the world of data because they are ultimately responsible for sales decisions. At present, sales is still a long way from “machine selling”, in which machines take over all tasks, but the future belongs to them.