We’re all familiar with the terms B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) to describe a company’s market focus. But what about B4B and B4C?
Quite simply, it’s about shifting the company focus from one of selling to your customer, to working for your customer – so Business for Business and Business for Consumer.
And isn’t this about how business should be conducted – working together, rather than the often more adversarial nature of seeing if you can simply do a better deal this time?
Longer-term partnership thinking, rather than short-term, transaction orientated.
This, of course, needs a shift in company culture and measurement criteria, too… Instead of a focus on raw sales per deal and customer, it’s more about customer service, satisfaction and relationships.
Sales people need to become more like business consultants for their customers, looking at what additional / new services and products could complement their current business and help them to be more successful.
Measurement is less about sales revenue per customer (that will come if you’re doing things well) and more about customer experience and satisfaction, retention rates, and new customers who are contacting you because of what your current ones are saying about your business. It’s about ease of doing business with you, both starting out, and ongoing.
Does your dashboard give you the information you need?
But overall, it’s about finding real purpose in your business and a set of shared values with your customers that will assist them and, thereby, your business, too. It certainly helped Luker Chocolate move from being just another supplier of a commodity product (chocolate to food companies) to one where sales more than doubled in under a year, and profitability, too.
By moving the business to one focused on ways to work with their customers for a longer-term, more sustainable future, price moves from being a key decision factor in the business relationship to just one of a number of criteria.
Furthermore, as investors and customers increasingly look at how a company interacts with stakeholders from investors through staff to the community as a whole, sustainability becomes ever more important – not just for ESG reporting purposes, but because it simply makes good business sense.
And it’s not just a one-time thing, for without a commitment to continuous improvement the initiative will wither and die. This is what sustainability is about: striving to do better – for your customers, your business and your ecosystem.
Becoming a B4B, or B4C, company is not a quick-fix, simple task, but a journey. But it’s also a journey with rich rewards, for you and your stakeholders, too, and one you’ll be pleased you took.
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Some related posts you might find interesting include:
- “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh
- OKR – Measuring What Matters
- “Company culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything for better or for worse.” – Simon Sinek
- “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
- 6 Secrets to Business Success This Year
- “Corporate social responsibility is a hard-edged business decision. Not because it is a nice thing to do or because people are forcing us to do it… because it is good for our business” – Niall Fitzgerald.