Negotiating a B2B deal requires patience. A B2B relationship can be nurtured over the course of weeks, months or even years before the negotiating parties put ink to a contract. As the principal parties get to know each other, business relationships become quite personal. The logical and pragmatic considerations of business blend with the emotional dances of trust, compatibility and good old gut feelings.
The B2B Relationship: Building Trust
For both sides, the decision to enter into a contract requires trust. Building a business-to-business relationship involves major commitments of money, time and reputation. It’s a high-stakes game. Once contracts are signed, it’s common for companies to do business with each other for many years.
As a tool for building trust, the solid analytics of big data can form a solid foundation. The psychology of trust is essential to sales. Big data can demonstrate robust business metrics and solid empirical rationale for decisions. It can clearly delineate how one company’s solutions can solve another company’s needs. Those are all ways that strong and wide-ranging data reinforce trust.
The Role of Big Data
In the Internet age, business people are far better informed than they were decades ago. A few minutes’ research on a potential business partner can yield in-depth information on competitors, features, the pros and cons of a product line, customer satisfaction ratings and much more. If B2B negotiations were like poker, it’s almost as if the players each know what cards the others are holding. This has shifted the way that companies do business with each other.
For B2B relationships, especially sales and marketing people, this means you must provide something your prospect does not already know. For sales people, a savvy buyer already knows a great deal about your products, your competitors’ products, and the differences between them. Your job is to show up with something new. As always, in sales, the job is to meet the prospect’s needs.
Big data helps you learn more about a prospective B2B client or vendor. Intelligent systems with robust analytics do a deep dive, gather data from a wide variety of sources, and reveal patterns in the way a prospect does business. An expert data mining operation can even unearth trends about other businesses that they don’t know about themselves. That opens the door to targeted marketing that can truly surprise and delight a prospective client.
Big Data: Implementation and Adaptation
Pursuing a big data strategy is complicated, however it’s becoming the norm as computing power and systems expertise grows. It requires technical expertise, a robust real time analytics architecture, and business analysis teams that can make the most of it.
Companies are adopting big data analytics more and more, and competitive realities are pushing it into the mainstream. Big data has not yet become ubiquitous to the point where businesses will get left behind without it, but that time could come soon. Big data is gaining predominance in all industries. It’s not just for technology companies. Big data is useful for marketing, financial strategies, international trade and a host of other purposes. Before long, companies that have not adopted big data strategies will struggle to compete.
Big Data: Adapt and Thrive
The future of big data is nearly unlimited. When big data strategies first came into being, they helped businesses to understand how they were doing and what they could do better. As big data evolved, businesses moved beyond analysis and began to use big data to drive business operations. In the next phase, we can expect to see an evolution where data intelligence is built directly into products and services. We’re already seeing this in the “internet of things.” For B2B business in particular, built-in data intelligence offers wide-open opportunity. Knowing a business customer’s needs is integral to designing intelligent products and services that address those needs.
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