Managing Business Customers on the Web

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Presentation given to the IDM conference in February 2005

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Managing Business Customers on the Web

  1. 1. Managing business customers on the web Thom Poole – Head of Portal Customer Interaction February 2005 © Thom Poole 2004 All rights reserved
  2. 2. Managing business customers on the web Case studies and impressions of business customer/account management online Thom Poole – Head of Portal Customer Interaction O 2 UK Ltd.
  3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>The Internet as a business tool </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study 1 – An early adopter getting it right </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study 2 – One step at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study 3 – It gets complicated </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas on how to treat business customers online </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why I’m here <ul><li>Involved in e-marketing & the Internet since 1992 </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching e-marketing for 7 years </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e-Commerce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web design for marketers (and the terrified!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CRM </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Written papers on ‘Data Privacy’, ‘The Marketing Art of the Opt-In’ and ‘Trust in Business and Marketing’ </li></ul><ul><li>Written a book on ‘Ethical e-Marketing’ called ‘Play It By Trust’ </li></ul><ul><li>Working for O 2 as Head of Portal Customer Interaction – focus on customer centricity and ethics </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Internet as a business tool 1 The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it William Gibson (1948 - )
  6. 6. The Internet as a business tool <ul><li>The origins of the Internet are as a military and academic tool </li></ul><ul><li>Early view: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Internet is a great medium for information, but I don’t know how anyone can make money from it!” (Poole, 1992) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An ideal source of competitor, supplier and market information </li></ul><ul><li>An ideal communications medium, with a healthy mix of push and pull marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Has expanded the boundaries of business and trade </li></ul><ul><li>Has increased the speed at which we do business </li></ul>
  7. 7. What is it? <ul><li>Brochureware </li></ul><ul><li>Sales </li></ul><ul><li>Support </li></ul><ul><li>Administration </li></ul><ul><li>Procurement </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Information/News </li></ul>
  8. 8. Case Studies <ul><li>Case Study 1 – An early adopter getting it right </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study 2 – One step at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study 3 – It gets complicated </li></ul>
  9. 9. Case study 1 2 An early adopter getting it right
  10. 10. An early adopter getting it right <ul><li>Hilti – manufacturer of professional power tools and construction equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Head office in Liechtenstein </li></ul><ul><li>Customers are construction trade only, predominantly served by own sales force </li></ul><ul><li>Internet strategy adopted in 1994 </li></ul><ul><li>Basic Internet philosophy has remained unchanged in over ten years </li></ul>
  11. 11. The strategy <ul><li>To provide an online catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>To generate sales leads </li></ul><ul><li>Global solution </li></ul><ul><li>To enable the maintenance of differential pricing throughout the world </li></ul><ul><li>To make the site sticky and worth returning to </li></ul>
  12. 12. Global presence
  13. 13. Local execution
  14. 14. Online catalogue
  15. 15. Site stickiness
  16. 16. Hilti’s methodology <ul><li>Maintain the established business sales channels </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an up-to-date catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>Make the site sticky and a place worth returning to </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain strategic objectives even during site redesigns </li></ul><ul><li>Bring all local offices in line, in terms of design, but allow local adaptation of content and focus </li></ul>
  17. 17. Case study 2 3 One step at a time
  18. 18. One step at a time <ul><li>Johnston Sweepers manufacture industrial road sweepers </li></ul><ul><li>Head office in Dorking, Surrey </li></ul><ul><li>Custom-made bodies on commercial truck chassis </li></ul><ul><li>No networked computer system or website </li></ul><ul><li>Unsure of the profitability of their products until they left the factory </li></ul><ul><li>Developed an in-house ‘Sales Configurator’ for the sales department & as a reporting tool </li></ul><ul><li>The Configurator included a contact management system </li></ul>
  19. 19. Local from the outset
  20. 20. The unrealised opportunity <ul><li>The Configurator was an in-house solution only </li></ul><ul><li>The database could be linked to an html front-end, allowing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer product configuration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased visibility of products for cross-sell and up-sell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lead generation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The online Configurator could be placed within an Extranet, or a secure area of the site </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing would remain within internal systems only </li></ul>
  21. 21. … but <ul><li>Investment in a new website was low because of the lack of functional understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive concerns held online Configurator publication back </li></ul><ul><li>Dealers were sceptical of the developments as they saw the Internet as a global marketing tool </li></ul><ul><li>So, the next generation Configurator has not adopted an online interface </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A missed opportunity? </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Case study 3 4 It gets complicated
  23. 23. It gets complicated <ul><li>O 2 was demerged from BT in November 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>It was formed from BT Cellnet, Airwave and Genie </li></ul><ul><li>O 2 is based in Slough and Leeds </li></ul><ul><li>Genie, the online portal, was a youth brand and very consumer orientated </li></ul><ul><li>Few business customers buy mobile phones on the web </li></ul><ul><li>Online business users appear to be unloyal and very demanding </li></ul>
  24. 24. Strategy eCRM <ul><li>X-sell / upsell </li></ul><ul><li>Customisation </li></ul><ul><li>Realtime CRM </li></ul>RE-DESIGN <ul><li>New CMS </li></ul><ul><li>New design </li></ul>SUPPORT DISCOVER <ul><li>My O 2 </li></ul><ul><li>eCare </li></ul><ul><li>Demo’s </li></ul><ul><li>Portal Products </li></ul><ul><li>Demo’s </li></ul><ul><li>Brochureware </li></ul>ACQUIRE <ul><li>Shopping baskets </li></ul><ul><li>Configure </li></ul>
  25. 25. Segmentational self-service
  26. 26. Business product offerings <ul><li>Businesses generally have: </li></ul><ul><li>PIM (Personal Information Manager) applications </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail accounts/systems </li></ul><ul><li>They come to O 2 for a mobile phone service </li></ul><ul><li>They may add: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group conferencing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Blackberry’ communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless cards (for laptop connectivity) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. What business customers do online <ul><li>The ability to manage mobile phone accounts online </li></ul><ul><li>Online help to solve problems fast, and the ability to communicate this around an organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile office, with products such as Blackberry, XDA and data cards linked to online services </li></ul><ul><li>X-mail, an SME email business solution </li></ul>
  28. 28. How to treat business customers online 5 So how can we do it?
  29. 29. How to treat business customers online Q: Are you a business or a consumer customer? Q: How many adverts have you seen today? Yesterday? Last week? A: You are all consumers for something & always looking for WIIFM e.g. A business person during the week, becomes football fan at the weekend. So, we can offer consumer football alerts to the customer for that persona
  30. 30. Business tools SUPPORT DISCOVER ACQUIRE FAQ Care Upgrades Cost savings Front-end procurement Billing Performance tracker Consistency Expense management Learn new business methods
  31. 31. Legal framework <ul><li>Slick B2C websites are setting the standards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Q: Can you afford to turn your back on customers to your site? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A: Of course not, and that means that the DDA applies to you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Q: As a business, do your customers expect respect for their privacy from all their suppliers and partners? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A: Of course! Get the business customer’s opt-in for information, it may not be law, but they will start to expect it as they do as consumers </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. e-Marketing considerations <ul><li>B2B offers few USP’s online </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive advantage is therefore achievable </li></ul><ul><li>Understand your customer’s requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Treat your customers as they expect to be treated </li></ul><ul><li>Teach your customers what they should expect, and deliver it </li></ul><ul><li>Support, Discover, Acquire … </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits focus on cost & time saving </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer sites can be ‘copied’ in style, functionality, etc </li></ul>
  33. 33. Summary 6 “ Business customers are just consumers in suits”
  34. 34. Summary <ul><li>Personal consumer perceptions will influence corporate buying decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Make your website functional, sticky and ‘approachable’ </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an Internet strategy for your audience & stick to it </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid of change, but take it one step at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Take your customers with you on the journey </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet is a tool – make it work for you and your customers </li></ul><ul><li>E-marketing must be consistent with all other marketing activities </li></ul>
  35. 35. Thom Poole Head of Portal Customer Interaction [email_address] Managing business customers on the web Thank you

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