How Integrated Digital Solutions Can Help Your SME
Digitisation may seem like a modern concept. But it’s actually been around for more than 30 years. The theory began in the late 1990s and became popular in the mid-2000s with the computerisation of businesses. The term ‘digital transformation’ was a phrase born in the mid to late 2010s as it became a popular trend.
The phrase was, and still is, used to describe the move from manual to digital processes that was happening across many sectors including retail, wholesale and distribution. ERP systems like SAP Business One, were now essential to SMEs as organisations began to harness the power of automation and leverage those benefits.
Organisations who were able to access a single source of data was truly a game-changer for B2B companies, especially those who had large or complex inventories. Integrated business management systems could be extended to a company's B2B or B2C sales channels with integrated eCommerce functionality.
Companies could implement an ERP, launch an integrated eCommerce solution, and begin selling their products online with webshops and customer portals with smart sales automation driven from an affordable and integrated system.
While many companies embraced this growing eCommerce trend others continued to operate a more traditional business model.
Leap forward to 2020 and the global Covid19 pandemic forces many businesses to close with little or no warning, leaving them facing an uncertain future.
The demand for online sales naturally begins to grow rapidly with consumers in lockdown and searching for new ways to purchase items. Organisations who were set up with an eCommerce solution were able to adapt their business quickly to sell completely online. Not only were these companies perfectly placed to survive the affects the pandemic, but in many cases they thrived.
However, SMEs without an online or digital presence were left badly exposed. What was once seen as a future project by some companies has become an urgent one in order to meet customer demand and to maintain revenues.
This year, history has repeated itself. In 2003, the SARS outbreak in China caused the biggest boom in eCommerce the world has ever seen. Alibaba’s B2B eCommerce business grew by 50% as registrations for its platform soared, which proved opportunities can be found in a time of crisis.
A recent McKinsey & Company survey of B2B businesses aimed to identify how customers and sellers are reacting to the ‘new normal’. The report, How B2B Decision Makers Are Responding To the Coronavirus Crisis, found three emerging trends:
Spend - While companies are generally reducing spending, a sizable number are increasing or maintaining it, with rates depending on company size, sector, and, more than any other factor, location.
Digital - Looking ahead, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.
Remote - Almost 90% of sales have moved to some form of remote selling. While some may be still sceptical, more than 50% believe this is more effective than their sales methods used pre COVID-19.
The findings from the survey can help B2B companies navigate their organisation’s response to COVID-19 (or any future pandemics) in a number of ways:
- Navigating the current crisis with resolve and resilience
- Planning for the recovery
- Reimagining the next ‘normal’
There is still a great deal of uncertainty, but B2B companies are seeing plenty of signs that show an acceleration of existing trends such as:
- Omni-channel selling
- Inside sales
- Tech-enabled selling
Change isn’t always easy. But the evidence is clear: when it comes to B2B companies and their future, it is vital to be flexible and have the correct solutions in place to navigate the unexpected.
Find out more about how Seidor UK can help your business adapt in these uncertain times with our range of digital solutions. Get in touch today to see how we can help future-proof your business with our range of affordable B2B innovation.