Digital maturity in B2B – More than launching an e-commerce solution

B2B

Would you open a new shop without telling anyone it exists? And would you continue running the store without closely monitoring how business is going? Probably not. Yet, this is not uncommon when it comes to digital B2B initiatives.

This year's edition of Nordic Digital Commerce in B2B is the eighth report aiming to describe the digital maturity of Nordic B2B companies. At the B2B agency Crescando, we have had the privilege of working closely with Litium on the report and the underlying study, allowing us to follow the development over the years.

Is it possible to run a profitable digital business without tracking results?

When the 2024 report was launched this spring, we noted that barely half of all B2B companies selling digitally actually measure ROI on their digital sales. And if return on investment feels like an advanced metric, we can add that only 42% of companies that sell or enable sales in their digital channels measure and follow up on traffic to the company’s site or webshop. 41% measure the number of orders, and 33% follow up on revenue in digital channels. Two-thirds of all B2B companies active in digital sales channels do not know how much they sell through the channel or how successful their initiatives are.

It becomes clear that digital maturity is about much more than just opening a webshop or launching a new customer portal.

The Maturity Ladder describes development step by step

The 2023 report, released last year, was followed by a guide called B2B Digital Commerce Maturity Ladder. The foundation of the guide is an analysis where we divided the B2B companies into five different segments based on their digital maturity. The maturity ladder is a presentation of these five steps and could be seen as a digital development journey.

On the first step of the ladder, we find B2B companies that have not yet started with digital business in any form. On the fifth and highest step are companies where digital business is at the heart of their business model – organizations that live and breathe digital commerce. While companies on the first step of the ladder do not yet have any digital channels in place, those on step five have an average of just over two digital sales channels.

It's not just the number of digital sales channels that form the basis for the segmentation. The higher up on the digital maturity ladder, the greater the likelihood that the company has metrics and systems in place to follow up on its digital initiatives. Companies that do not yet offer digital sales naturally have limited focus on digital insights. In contrast, those at the top of the ladder view data and continuous analysis as essential for successfully expanding their business. How else can they learn from their successes and mistakes and develop their work?

Don't forget to market your digital initiatives

Over the years, we have also asked our Nordic B2B companies to share insights to how they market themselves and drive traffic to their web and digital platforms.

While companies on the first step of the maturity ladder use an average of 2.2 marketing channels – mainly social media sharing and targeted email marketing and campaign mailings – step five uses an average of 4.7 channels. They place a much greater emphasis on SEO and optimizing their site for search engines, often complemented by SEM, or search engine advertising. Additionally, they frequently focus on creating inspiring and educational content in their area of expertise through content marketing to spark interest and build trust.

Further up the maturity ladder, it is also common for the company’s salespeople to actively encourage customers to visit and utilize the company’s webshop. Marketing and sales collaborate to guide customers to the purchase channel that suits them best, whether through personal interaction or a digital purchase.

Get to know your customers’ new behaviors

The B2B market is changing rapidly, and it becomes clear that companies investing in digital commerce but not marketing the new channels are missing opportunities to do more business – just as those who open a store without actively monitoring how the digital channels are performing miss the chance to drive profitable business. But above all, those who do not strive to understand their customers' new behaviors and how they want to interact with the company in the future risk staying on the first step of the ladder in the hallway while competitors race past upwards.

How many channels do you use to drive traffic to your website?

Want to get to know Crescando? Write to malin@crescando.se

Download the B2B-report for 2024

Download the Maturity Ladder 

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