A changing world creates both threats and opportunities.
The only constant in life is change. This has never been more true than over the last few years, when the rate of change has accelerated across so many facets of life.
Globalisation, automation, the internet, SaaS; all have had a profound effect on vast swathes of society.
B2B businesses are not immune to this change. The threats they face are manifold:
- People just don’t buy what you sell any more. Think about Fax Machines for example.
- New entrants into the market that provide a new way of supplying similar services, particularly with a SaaS or more automated models.
- Greater competition
- With the world being a smaller place the number of suppliers competing for the same customers has increased.
- Changes in buyer behaviour
- The internet has changed the way buyers find or evaluate new ideas, technologies, products and suppliers and how they engage with Salespeople.
Whilst the changing landscape has had a negative effect on some B2B businesses, it has in equal measure created opportunities for other businesses, who have been able to adapt and thrive.
Having recognised that the changing world provides both threats and opportunities, the next challenge is how to mitigate the risks and drive your business forwards.
For many businesses here’s the dichotomy; the very people that made the company the success it is today might be the biggest barrier to making it successful in the future.
Winning new business was different in years gone by.
There are lots of examples; Yellow Pages, how much easier it was to do business in social environments like the pub or the golf course, the explosion in the number of mediums and channels to deliver marketing messages.
What’s at the heart of the vast majority of SMEs is that it’s been the drive, passion, skill and long hours worked by the Owners and Directors of the business that have been instrumental in winning new customers. Naturally, the strategy for Sales, Marketing or Business Development sits with these very same people.
But would they follow the same approach to sales and marketing as they did previously? Probably not.
That’s not to say that if they started-up in business today that they wouldn’t make a success of it again. But it’s human nature to repeat what we know, what we feel comfortable with and to resist change.
So too often when the business (and sometimes its owners) have reached a comfort-level, the openness to adapt, challenge the internal status-quo and find new solutions is diminished.
Change is in the world. It’s happening everywhere. And it’s unstoppable.
What’s needed to stay successful is quite simple:
- Recognition that change is happening (regardless of if you like it or not).
- Cold, hard, calculated objectivity.
- A willingness to adapt.
- A strategy for tomorrow that isn’t simply based on yesterday’s successes.