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How to Gain a Competitive Edge in Your Business

How to Gain a Competitive Edge in Your Business

Many B2B companies know that technology innovation is the key driver for competitive advantage. Are you prepared to use technology in all aspects of your business? Expectations for digital alignment have escalated rapidly. Whether it’s the Amazon-level ease of ordering “whatever whenever,” or contactless ordering from the local pizza joint, B2B organizations know that they must adapt. Consumers are demanding digital ease.

To gain a competitive advantage, you’ll want to ask different questions about technology. Perhaps you work in a global organization. Maybe you run a sales or marketing team. Possibly, you handle logistics and shipping. Wherever you work, these questions will help you adapt and win.

Adopt a Digital Mindset

Do you have a digital mindset? If so, you’re immersed in seeing ways that technology can help you streamline operations, simplify collaboration, and enhance customer experience. You understand the digital foundations of B2B modernization. Look at the benefits of technology at every point in your business. Ask questions, such as:

  • Where can we use technology to reduce friction in operations?
  • What will make it easy to collaborate with partners?
  • What will improve customer experience?

Consider your business and your mindset. Keep seeking ways to stay current and competitive when technology advances.

Automate the Small Stuff

Are you embracing automation for all the small stuff? This kind of technology saves people time, money, and effort. When your staff isn’t dealing with the little things, they can focus on what they want to do: sell. A few questions about automating the small stuff are as follows.

  • How can we automate invoicing and tracking?
  • What can we automate to reduce shipping charges?
  • What do our customers hate doing that we can automate?

As you automate, you’ll look at the big picture and the little picture. For example, look at your system for shipping. As you explore shipping costs, start with a FedEx audit, UPS audit, and system review. In the process, you may find that you’ll save 1-9% on costs, rebates, and returns. What areas could you automate in your business to save money, streamline processes, and free up time?

Fewer Complex Interactions

One of the fascinating things about technology is that it’s possible to have fewer complex interactions. Consumers are showing that they prefer to get answers quickly, without having to fill in a form or make a phone call. Start asking questions to focus on this emerging value.

  • How can we improve customer experience with fewer complex interactions?
  • How can we boost our chat experience to engage prospects?
  • How can we get answers to customers so they never have to pick up the phone?

What opportunities do you see to streamline processes for easier interactions?

Embrace Hybrid Work

More organizations are offering hybrid-working arrangements to their staff. It has become a competitive advantage to attract top talent, and offer independence to existing employees. As you consider hybrid work, you will ask different questions:

  • How is your organization doing in embracing this trend?
  • How can we create equality for remote and in-office workers?
  • How can we build skills for hybrid communication?

A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article explores the benefits and downsides of a hybrid-working environment. This arrangement requires building new skills, both for managers and for employees. For instance, workers who are in a home office may feel isolated or not included in team meetings. Remote workers may not have equal visibility to a leader, or equal access to top technology.

To equalize the team, managers will need to build critical skills in managing power imbalances, communicating for inclusion, and providing equal access to resources. As you evaluate the changes that come with hybrid working, you will welcome new insights. These may come from training, education, and embracing new technology.

Automate Lead Generation

In sales organizations, the aim is to get qualified leads automatically. Many sales organizations are turning to technology solutions to make sure that lead information is accurate, up-to-date, and equally available across all locations. Naturally, this is a way to be productive and skillful in the use of time and energy.

If you’re leading a sales organization, you’ll seek innovation with questions such as:

  • How can we automate connecting with qualified prospects?
  • How can we build effective partnerships to serve target markets?
  • How can we develop partner ecosystems to serve our customers?

Wrapping Up

As we move forward, we can gain a competitive advantage by asking smart questions. How will technology help us simplify, streamline, and serve our customers? And by answering them, you can ultimately attain the long-term goals that you seek.

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by Dirk DeBie // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.