Dec 02, 2021

Powering Intelligent Commerce & Accelerating Results at MindShare Europe

By Zilliant

For B2B pricing and sales leaders,as well as executives,it’sbeen another year of unprecedented challenges and innovative thinking. That theme was certainly on display at MindShare Europe 2021 this week.Zilliant customersconvenedin Paris to share their own best practices for navigating dynamic market changes.

There were a few themesthat surfacedthroughout the conference, includingcustomer experience, sales enablement, the power of price optimization and pricing in a multi-country environment.This blogpostoffers a brief recap.

The Impetusfora Better Customer Experience

B2B buyers are changing –self-serviceis nowmore important than sales.In fact,according to a survey conducted by Gartner, “Increase Profits and Delight Buyers by Becoming a Digital-First, Omnichannel B2B Seller,” by the end of 2021, digital commerce is expected to overtake direct sales as the most used channel for B2B selling.

Buyers no longer heavily depend on sales reps to sell and understand the product,yet they do expect that digital channelsprovidethe same personalized experience. Pricing should be relevant to the dynamics of each customerand reflecttheir relationship with the supplier. It mustconsidercompetitive factors and order-specific dynamics such as order size and product hierarchy, with relevant recommendations for complementary productsrelativetothe current order. This alone is complex to enable online. However, best-in-class customer experiencerequires mirroring the negotiation process online as well.Determininghow toprovidethe best experience for your customers may look different from company to company yettaking the time to do so is imperativeand can pay dividends. Consider this quotefrom the pricing director at aglobal food service distribution companythat presented at MindShare:

“Ifyou take pricing and implementation seriously, it will change how customers think of you. You must understand your customers and set your strategy before you can use pricing software.”

This is certainly true; understanding your customers isa prerequisiteto creating a digital experience that delightsthem.Being able to tap into your organization’s biggest asset-data -is another key step. Today, data issiloed within organizations. Imagine being able toutilizeinternal and external datasets, turning it into insights, responding to triggers thatnecessitatea pricing, sales, or commercial guidance change, anddisseminatingthat guidance in real-time across channels.It’spowerful stuff. And the time to get started is now.According toZilliant Chief Technology Officer ShamsChauthani:

“Digital transformation is not a luxury anymore. If a companydoesn’tcapitalize on this once-in-a-generation change, they will be at a disadvantage over the next decade.”

Omnichannel Intelligence: Equipping Sales to Succeed in the Digital Era

The exceptional experience you providecustomers in the digital channel should alsodovetailthe interactions they have with sales reps.Pricing across channels should be consistent, as should productrecommendations, promotions and much more. With advanced predictive sales analytics and campaign management software,it’spossible to ensure sales reps are equipped with a wide range of insights in real time to treat each customer like a top account.For example, imagine each sales rep knowing – for each account – where purchase volume has slipped at the product category level, where opportunities to expand wallet-share exist,ifcustomersare meeting volume commitments, if they are close to earning rebates, if they are a good fit topurchasedistressed inventory, whenthey area good fit forhigher marginproduct substitutions,and which products that new accounts are likely to need and buy. Each of these insights can be delivered to sales reps and otherself-service digitalchannelsin real time.

Contrast this with how sales insights are delivered today–spreadsheets─which require sales reps to sift through thousands of lines before arriving at information relevant to them,and,by that point,the information hasoftengrown staleand irrelevant.

At MindShare Europe, a keynote address from a director of pricing who had implemented sales growth solutionsconveyed anall too familiarchallenge:delivering insightswith manual tools in a complex organization. The company isone of the world’s leading suppliers of materials, sign systems,displays andgraphics, isahighly complexfederation of companies across 20 countrieswitha 24/7 digital commerce presenceserving40,000 customers,and has a portfolio of tens of thousands of products.Oneof the company’s sales reps that utilizesZilliantSales IQ™andZilliantCampaign Manager™said:

“It used to take a long time understanding whatcustomerslikeand,critically,what they stopped buying. My experience was great.Withoneclick,I was able to know what they were buying,and that helped me ask the right questions.Previously, I would not have noticed the category-level dip as the higher-level purchase volume I looked at had not changed. Sales IQ surfaced thatmy customerhad suddenly stopped buyinga specific categoryfrom us,and I won the business back.”

The Power of Price Optimization & Multi-Country Pricing

Finally, the power of price optimization and the importance of multi-country pricing were key topics of discussion. Namely, bringing more visibility and control into the price optimization process to speed up high-powered optimization while giving pricing and data science teams the freedom to experiment. Certainly, the next generation of price optimization also requires a greater level of flexibility and sophistication. Consider this quote from Zilliant Senior Vice President of Science and Products PeteEppele:

“As you are standardizingyour approach to pricing,you need flexibility across countries without creating many one-offs.It’s important tohave a centralized approach to pricing thatmakes sense in terms of how each pricingstrategymust be approached within each country.”

It sounds complicated, and it can be.Thus,it’scritical to have access to a team of pricing and industry experts who are dedicated to your success as well as ensuring new pricing projects are delivered fast and in-market, with measurable marginanalyses so you know precisely where and how the new guidance is making an impact.Here isanother quote from a Zilliant customer:

“Our success was a function ofthe projectimpact and the team and flexibility.”

Are you ready to learn how Zilliant can help you overcome your inflation challenges?

Reach out to us today to learn how we can help!