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Too often B2B manufacturers find themselves unable to provide a great experience for their customers. While many blame this poor experience on the lack of technology (or resources), it’s usually the lack of relevant data and the right business insight that are the main culprits.

A well-crafted product user experience starts with a clear vision. That, in turn, must be based on a strong foundation of actionable product data. From that background, manufacturers can craft a story for the products they sell. But have manufacturers invested adequately in analytics? And should they reconsider their business strategy? Let’s find out!

Why manufacturers have shunned analytics

That analytics can boost manufacturing outcomes is known to all: from better insight into product demand to a better understanding of the current state of manufacturing operations – there’s so much analytics can bring to the table. Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing movements are solidly data-driven strategies. And B2B companies have enthusiastically bought into them.

However, many B2B manufacturers rely on analytics only for their manufacturing operations. They don’t really understand the profound impact analytics can have on external-facing functions like sales, marketing, and customer experience.

There are several reasons why the B2B initiatives of manufacturers may have stayed immune to the charms of analytics:

  • Lack of support from the C-suite to craft an organizational-wide analytics initiative
  • Not knowing where the information resides or what data needs to be utilized to make critical business decisions
  • No way to synchronize or collate data from siloed and legacy systems from across the enterprise
  • No systems in place to store the massive amounts of data being generated
  • Lack of resources who can glean value from the insights generated by analytics models
  • Insufficient budget to invest in big data analytics and machine learning tools
  • Inability to demonstrate analytics ROI as most outcomes are non-tangible

Without a robust analytics strategy in place, many manufacturers are forced to rely on tribal wisdom, intuition, gut feel, and luck – hoping for their business initiatives to click. However, in today’s competitive business landscape this could be a recipe for disaster.

Manufacturers need to have the right business intelligence to understand customer behavior and product performance, improve product content, and enhance supply chain efficiency – among other things!

Why it is critical to invest in analytics

For B2B manufacturers, understanding what product information buyers need, how buyers are responding to product data or why they are responding in a certain way are key reasons why investing in analytics must be a business prerogative. This helps B2B companies craft impactful product content strategies based on a sound foundation of product information management and master data management.

But that’s not all.

It is only when they can unearth insight from their manufacturing processes, supply chain, customer demand, market trends, and more that these organizations can take the organization to the next level of success.

With the right blend of strategy, technology, and people, B2B companies can draw out the insights they need to deliver the best possible product user experiences – while ensuring customer satisfaction and hitting revenue numbers.

Analytics can help this strategy in innumerable ways:

  • With sales analytics, they can evaluate the performance of your sales teams and track metrics to improve predictability, effectiveness, and productivity. They can also forecast what the sales will be next week/month/year and plan for increased or decreased sales based on cycles.
  • With product analytics, they can see how the products are selling, understand the effectiveness of the product mix as well as understand if they’re selling at the right price.
  • With customer analytics, these companies can identify and analyze customer segments, maximize cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and enhance Customer Lifetime Value. They can also get important insights into their most loyal customers and understand why they’re losing customers and the steps you can take to minimize churn. A key part of this understanding is gaining knowledge of the specific product information necessary to move the buyer journey forward. Customer experience in B2B companies is heavily dependent on helping them browse and search for the information they need. Analytics can help craft a product information strategy that makes that much easier for the customers.
  • With market intelligence, B2B companies can evaluate market trends and understand how to maximize marketing ROI. Understanding how each channel is impacting sales and how they can optimize the media mix also becomes much easier with analytics.
  • With supply chain analytics, they can assess how sales is aligning with the forecast and reduce demand/supply uncertainties as they occur. They can tweak production based on projected demand and make the right decisions on what or how much to produce, how much to stock and where to ship. They can also optimize transportation routes and loads while efficiently tackling SKU and cost complexity in a multi-node supply chain.
  • Using customer service analytics, B2B companies can get a deeper understanding of their service team’s efficiency, detect patterns, track metrics, and craft processes to maximize their potential. With the right data, they can also monitor customer satisfaction levels to optimize manpower costs without hampering customer service.

Base your B2B initiatives on analytics

In the business world, leveraging analytics and deep techniques has now become critical to drive fulfilling customer experiences and enhance overall revenue performance gains. With the right analytics techniques in place, B2B companies and manufacturers can identify problem areas, prioritize solutions based on business impact, and optimize throughput based on accurate business intelligence. Analytics can help manufacturers identify new business opportunities, uncover ways to reduce costs, provide early signs of production bottlenecks, and get a deeper understanding of their customers. This can, potentially, put them in a stronger competitive position.