B2B Communication in the 21st Century
Recently I came across great article on B2B.com and I’m not sure if I should be surprised at the results.
In a poll within the B2B community, 28 percent of the respondents said they exchange data with their partners using an Excel spreadsheet. 28 percent! That’s a significant amount of work being done that has potential for costing you money, a few of which include:
• Human factor (data entry errors, misinterpretation of data, transposition errors, illness)
• Manually entering data into Excel that is stored somewhere else (inventory quantities from an ERP system, for example)
• Excel version incompatibilities
• Format/layout differences amongst partners
• Macro viruses
The article also outlines problems with Excel’s ugly cousin, paper-based communication, which is also widespread. To be fair, I can’t really be too hard on those businesses and individuals. Excel and paper are ubiquitous and versatile, while integration has historically been inaccessible and limited to large budgets, custom development and enterprise transaction volumes.
I think many people don’t realize that there are viable and affordable options for standardizing and streamlining communications within the SMB space.
While social media is the new kid on the block that businesses are embracing, perhaps it’s also time to look at the mechanics of how your business runs and challenge some long-standing assumptions about how things should be done, specifically how you’re communicating.
Implementing processes and technologies that automate the tedious day-to-day work that keeps your business running will allow you and your employees to focus on higher-level strategic tasks.
It will also open doors of opportunity that you may not have previously had available. With all other things being equal, a large customer will choose a supplier that has EDI capabilities over one that does not. This is a fact which I have seen first hand in helping to connect companies to major retailers.
If you are ready to take your business to the next level, drop us a line or leave me a note in the comments. We would love to hear from you.