Leadership

The Leadership Gap in B2B E-Commerce

April 25, 2019
Several B2B companies who are relatively new to digital commerce are like deer caught in the headlights on the information superhighway. Fear of high-tech changes can lead to paralysis and inaction, but complacency is proving to be an existential threat to lots of these companies.
 

Leadership Qualities For the Digital Commerce Era

 
It Takes More Than Brains. The problem isn’t smarts. B2B execs invariably have brainpower to spare. But they sometimes fail to cultivate a mindset that can get comfortable with the unfamiliar.
 
High-tech is shaking up industries and markets. What worked in the past, no longer does. But for every challenge, there is an opportunity (if you can let go of some outdated assumptions). 
 
Savvy leaders learn to see patterns (and potential) where others may see only the fear of the unknown. Doing that requires a fresh outlook and the strength and fortitude to tackle this tremendous opportunity head on, work with experts and challenge the face of uncertainty.
 
Shaking Off Intertia. Faced with unfamiliar terrain, many B2B companies are afraid to make their next move. But here are some tips for navigating the emerging e-commerce landscape. You don’t have to reinvent things from scratch.  Remember, B2C e-commerce has been around for a long time so replicating much of this model as much as possible will set you up for success.  
 
 
The Leadership Gap in B2B E-Commerce
Strategies and best practices can be borrowed from the B2C realm and applied to the B2B marketplace. Many of these ideas have been tested and established in B2C. And since B2C and B2C have been converging for some time, these approaches can be quite relevant for B2B.
 
Leveraging the expertise and experience of outside agencies is critical to your success.  Wise leaders recognize their blind spots and are not afraid to seek out third-party e-commerce specialists and perspectives.
 
The Value Of Unease. If you are uncomfortable with the rapid pace of change, then you are probably not adjusting and adapting as quick as you need to. Technology is inherently unsettling
 
But you can’t afford to ignore it or remain complacent--just ask executives in the music or publishing industries how that strategy turned out. Instead, you need to surround yourself with a team of professionals with deep experience in digital commerce.  These will be the kind of people that are too restless to sleep soundly because they are preoccupied with staying at least one step ahead of the changes coming down the pike.
 

Takeaway

 
Too many B2B executives are taking a “just good enough” approach to their businesses. Traditional sales channels may be producing adequate profit and margin right now, which means that they don’t feel compelled to take bold action.
 
But these “leaders” are slowly losing business and market share to e-commerce competitors (like Amazon). It’s only a matter of time before a slow decline turns into irrelevance.
 
To avoid this fate, it’s imperative to develop a more proactive approach to e-commerce. The pace of change is blinding many B2Bs. But those who freeze in the face these transformations run the risk of getting run over on the road to the future.