Part 3: The need to focus on broader environmental and societal issues
How B2B buyers are making their decisions is being impacted by a number of external influences. Understanding these forces is integral to a successful account-based growth strategy.
In previous articles we have considered the changing nature of buyers and the impact of platform businesses. In this third blog, Tim Shercliff explores how the recognition of environmental and societal issues is affecting buying behaviour and B2B customer relationships.
A new set of values
A compelling, authentic, values-based approach to broader sustainability and social issues has become critical to developing long-term, mutually supportive relationships with customers.
While the business case and ROI will remain hugely important financial measures, there is no doubt that, over the next few years, metrics associated with how a business creates value sustainably and responsibly will become increasingly important.
Many companies are considering the alignment of values, culture and sustainability in their decisions about suppliers. This shift in attitude is illustrated through the following examples.
Professional services firm Accenture has developed a ‘360° Value’ approach which seeks to deliver the financial business case and unique value a client needs but also strives to partner with clients to achieve greater progress across client, talent, inclusion and diversity, experience, sustainability and financial.
The company applies these same categories of value to how it operates its business to ensure strong, consistent alignment internally and externally.
Atos: decarbonised digital
Digital transformation company, Atos, describes itself as the global leader in secure and decarbonised digital. It puts an emphasis on organisational purpose and offers an end-to-end partnership approach. Describing itself as a net-zero pioneer in decarbonisation services and products, Atos has a commitment to extending carbon neutrality for its organisation, as well as for its customers and partners.
Infosys: shared values
Technology firm Infosys stresses that it is the alignment around shared values with its customers that enables it to win and retain customers. It has developed strategic partnerships with the Financial Times and The Economist to create opportunities to align and develop deeper relationships with its top customers around topics of mutual interest and significance.
What does this mean?
As organisations place increased importance on purpose, B2B marketers need to recognise this change in their customers. Supplier selection is likely to be based on how your business is run and its attitudes to environmental and societal issues as well as the business case you present.
How can this be addressed?
If supplier selection is based on weighted scores, your results around these increasingly important societal and environmental issues could make all the difference. Make your company position and policy clear on these issues and ensure you communicate your approach to your most important customers.
Read more about unlocking sustainable value through extraordinary customer focus in ‘Account-Based Growth’ by Bev Burgess and Tim Shercliff, published by Kogan Page.
Find more blogs from Tim Shercliff on the Resources page of our website.