Optimising B2B linkages through vetted networks
It is no secret that business to business (B2B) linkages are essential for the growth and development of any company. We do not manage our businesses in isolation. The networks and referrals we make or we receive, creates trust and builds critical relationships necessary to operate in a competitive economy.
What is often not so well known is how important it is to have vetted networks in place to ensure these B2B linkages are optimised. Vetted networks provide a number of advantages that can help businesses maximise their potential, improve their bottom line and create job opportunities. For example, B2B linkages can:
Find the right partners
Help businesses connect with the right partners. Vetted networks through a B2B specialist brings together businesses that have been carefully screened and selected based on you, our client’s specific criteria. This means that businesses can be confident they are connecting with reputable partners who can offer quality products, quality services and cutting-edge technology.
Vetted networks make it easier for businesses to connect with each other by facilitating introductions and referrals. This saves time and effort in trying to identify potential partnerships yourself.
A B2B specialist promotes collaboration. By bringing together like-minded businesses, a B2B specialist with their vetted networks will create an environment for their client where collaboration is encouraged. This can lead to more innovative products or services being developed as well as cost savings from shared resources.
One of the best ways to connect with other businesses is through a B2B specialist who has an existing vetted network. A vetted network is a group of companies that has been carefully selected by your B2B specialist to be part of a growing business relationship. This type of relationship can provide many benefits, including:
Vetting networks can help reduce the time it takes to identify potential business partners, since the B2B specialist has already done some of the work for you. In addition, having access to multiple potential business partners through a single platform can also save you time and money by reducing travel costs associated with meeting face-to-face.
Planning National and International Meetings
Once the initial introductions have taken place then use the B2B specialist to leverage in-person meetings. Our company has successfully arranged national and international itineraries for clients in the private and public sectors.
One of the testimonials our company received from a client who appreciated the planned business itinerary for Mauritius reads, “You made our week so special. Meetings we had and excursions. You exceeded our expectations.”
Improved Quality of Decision Makers
When you start working within a vetted network environment, you gain access to decision makers who have been pre-screened by the B2B specialist. This means that you are more likely to find good matches for your products, services and technologies, which can lead to improved business and income.
If you’re looking to secure clients for your business, one of the best ways to do so is by working with a B2B specialist. By partnering with someone who understands the ins and outs of B2B marketing, you can more effectively target and reach potential clients.
A good B2B specialist can help you create a comprehensive marketing plan that takes into account all of the different touchpoints that your potential customers might have with your brand. They can also help you identify key influencers and decision-makers within target organisations. And perhaps most importantly, the B2B specialist can provide guidance on how to best position your products or services in order to appeal to businesses.
Our company is currently working with an ICT company to deliver a detailed marketing plan that will allow the company to go global.
Working with a B2B specialist is an investment that will pay off in spades when it comes time to securing new clients for your company.
Industry sectors that have recently benefitted from the vetted networks of our company to date include Automotive Accessories, FMCG, ICT, engineering and manufacturing.
Leveraging B2B Linkages at Trade Shows
If you manufacture automotive accessories, fast moving consumer goods, furniture, or steel tanks then Trade shows could be an excellent opportunity to grow your customer base. Business to Business (B2B) specialist firm Monique Labat Consulting has worked with these industry sectors and many others including Agro-processing, Clothing/Textiles, Creative Industries, Renewable energy and Training/education sectors.
Trade shows reach a large number of industry contacts, potential suppliers and most importantly buyers in a few short days. Trade shows provide a venue for companies to showcase their products and services, and they also offer opportunities for networking and B2B linkages.
Benefits of Trade Shows and Exhibitions
At the right Trade show you can:
- Land a big customer
- Launch a new product
- Develop a mailing list of hot leads
- Find a key strategic partner to reach a larger market
- Enhance relationships with your existing customers
Work with the organisers to ensure that the Trade Show has a history of inviting buyers interested in your products or services. To find the right Trade show for your business, you need to know:
- The different types of Trade shows
- What your company goals are
- Who your target market is
- Foot traffic numbers and reports from previous Trade shows
Trade shows allow companies to learn about the latest products and services that are available in their industry. Secondly companies participating in trade shows meet new suppliers and partners, which can help them expand their business reach. Additionally, trade shows offer opportunities to build relationships with potential customers. Finally, attending trade shows can help businesses stay up-to-date on the latest trends in their industry.
Sales Process at Trade Shows
Having a well-defined sales process in place requires sales representatives to be knowledgeable about what your company offers and how it can benefit potential customers. Sales reps should also be prepared for questions about pricing and delivery timelines. Additionally, it’s important to have a strong branding presence at Trade shows so that potential customers will remember your company after the event is over.
Attracting Buyers to your Trade Show Stand
Another way to leverage B2B linkages is by offering unique products or services that are not available from other companies attending the show. This can help you stand out from the competition and potentially win new business contracts.
Checklist for Trade Show Participation
Optimising your company’s participation at a Trade Show or Exhibition takes preparation and proper planning and ensures you leverage your time and financial investment fully. Here is a quick checklist to have a successful Trade show:
- Exhibition materials: ensure you submit all necessary exhibition stand requirement to the organisers before the deadline
- Exhibition requirements, banners, signage, product display holders, lighting, illustrations and graphic images, security for your laptop
- Marketing material: electronic catalogues, digital order forms, e-brochures, sales sheets, e-business cards and giveaways
- Product samples and products: plan how you can best display your products and/or services to gain maximum visitors to your exhibition stand
- Share your Exhibition stand no. and location pin widely with your clients, potential buyers and on social media platforms
- Exhibition stand supplies: e-lead forms on tablet, a Customer Relationship Management system to capture all visitors/potential buyers’ details
- Exhibition stand supplies: stationery, including adhesive tape, packing tape, shipping labels, packaging
- Personal items: refillable water bottle, dry snacks, mints
- Pre-Trade Show to boost attendance: send invitations to your current clients and customers and ask them to share your pre-trade show promotion
- Make appointments ahead of time: invite potential clients or customers for coffee at your Exhibition stand or at the Trade Show Coffee Shop
Finally, always follow up with potential customers after a trade show has ended in order to solidify any relationships that were formed during the event.
International B2B Networks – What’s in it for your business
International business linkages can provide your business with a number of potential benefits, including access to new markets, improved supplier and customer relationships, increased innovation, and the ability to learn from best practices abroad.
By establishing links with businesses in other countries, you can gain exposure to new markets and cultures that may be different from your own. This can help you expand your customer base and reach new consumers who may be interested in your products or services.
Working with businesses in other countries can help improve relationships with suppliers and customers overseas. This could lead to increased efficiency and better communication when doing business internationally.
Export Growth Strategy
As a manufacturer, here are many reasons to pursue international linkages as part of an export growth strategy. One of the most important benefits is that it can help businesses access new markets and distribution channels. This is especially important for small and medium sized companies, which may not have the resources to break into new markets on their own. By teaming up with other companies in foreign countries, businesses can share costs and marketing resources, making it easier to penetrate these markets.
Key Customers and Key Suppliers
Another benefit of pursuing international linkages is that it can help businesses build relationships with key customers and suppliers abroad. These relationships can be beneficial in terms of securing contracts and business deals down the road. Additionally, strong relationships with foreign partners often lead to increased trade between countries, which helps boost economic growth rates on both sides.
New Technologies and Best Practices
Finally, pursuing international linkages can also help businesses learn about new technologies and best practices from around the world. This knowledge can then be used to improve operations back at home base. By working closely with foreign partners, companies may gain a better understanding of cultural norms in other countries – something that could come in handy if they decide to expand operations there in the future being able to learn from the best practices of companies in other countries can help improve your own operations.
When it comes time to do business in another country yourself, you will have a better understanding of what needs to be done thanks to the knowledge gained from working with foreign businesses.
International B2B Linkages
International business linkages can be extremely beneficial for businesses of all sizes. By forming partnerships with companies in other countries, businesses can expand their customer base, increase profits, and learn new techniques. However, before entering into any type of partnership or agreement with a company in another country, there are several things that should be considered.
Legal Implications of Doing Business Internationally
The first thing to consider is the legal implications of doing business internationally.
Every country has its own laws and regulations governing trade and commerce, so it is important to make sure that both parties are aware of them and are willing to comply with them. Additionally, businesses should have a clear understanding of the cultural differences between themselves and their potential international partners. Misunderstandings can often lead to conflict and litigation, so it is important for both parties to be aware of each other’s customs and expectations.
Financial Stability of International Partners
Another important consideration is the financial stability of potential partners overseas. It is essential that businesses do their due diligence on foreign companies before entering into any agreements; after all, you don’t want your hard-earned money going down the drain because your partner couldn’t keep up their end of the bargain!
Specialist Skills and Networks
There are many reasons to pursue international linkages as part of an export growth strategy. Let a specialist with B2B networks and export experience open doors and facilitate the export growth strategy for you. It will save you time and money and the targeted focus will render greater benefits and results.
Opportunities for manufacturers and exporters
Researching industry sectors
The global market is constantly changing and evolving. To be successful in exporting, it is important to research industry sectors and understand the latest trends. By doing so, you can identify new opportunities for your products and services. Additionally, it is important to have a good understanding of the competition in each sector and what differentiates your company from others.
Researching industry sectors will also help you develop a well-informed export strategy. You’ll need to consider things such as which countries to target, what distribution channels to use, and how much marketing effort should be put into each market. Exporting can be a lucrative venture but it’s important to do your homework first!
Growing your business through exports There are many reasons to export. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that exporting can help a business grow. When businesses export, they typically find new markets for their products and services, which can lead to increased sales and profits. Additionally, exporting can help businesses become more competitive by making them more efficient and effective in how they produce and sell their products.
New customers = significant business growth
Another reason to export is that it allows businesses to reach new customers who may not be available through domestic markets alone. In some cases, a foreign market may be much larger than the domestic market, providing significant growth potential for a business’ products or services. Additionally, selling products or services in foreign markets exposes companies to new ideas and technologies that they may not have access to otherwise. This helps companies stay ahead of the competition and improve their own operations over time.
Diversify risk through exports Exporting also provides opportunities for businesses to diversify their risk by spreading out their sales across different countries around the world. If one country’s economy weakens or experiences political turmoil, exports elsewhere can help offset any losses sustained by doing business in that one country alone.
B2B the answer to developing stronger trade relationships
Business to business linkages present opportunities for manufacturers and exporters to explore new markets, identify potential business partners, and develop stronger trade relationships. By collaborating with other businesses, manufacturers and exporters can create a global supply chain that allows them to reach new consumers while reducing the risk associated with exporting. There are several ways in which businesses can establish these linkages.
Trade shows and exhibitions
Trade shows provide a venue for companies from all over the world to come together and discuss potential partnerships. Exhibitors have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with buyers from around the globe, learn about new products and services, and form relationships that could lead to future business deals. In order to make the most of this opportunity, it is important for exhibitors to be prepared beforehand by doing research on the attendees and arranging meetings in advance.
B2B specialists identify potential buyers and distributors
When looking to export products, it is important to use a specialist who can help identify and navigate the complex web of export regulations. The specialists have the knowledge and resources necessary to help companies find new markets for their products, as well as connect them with potential buyers and distributors.
B2B specialists have a wealth of experience working with different types of businesses, so they are well-equipped to help companies of all sizes expand into new markets. They also have connections with trade organisations and other professionals in the export industry, which can be invaluable when trying to establish relationships with foreign buyers or distributors.
Advantages of B2B specialist in sourcing export markets
Overall, using a specialist to source export markets is an effective way for companies to expand their business overseas quickly and efficiently. By taking advantage of the resources that these professionals offer, businesses can save time and money while increasing their chances of success in foreign markets.
Challenges, lessons and opportunities
This is the third in a series of articles on Business to Business (B2B) linkages and the theme throughout these articles is access to relevant and verified information.
How do you gain the local knowledge and contacts required to operate effectively in a new market? How do you optimise cost, quality, flexibility and other considerations in the value chain that will lead you to gain a foothold and market share in the new market?
Cost pressure and presence combine to create an interesting set of challenges, lessons and opportunities for firms.
Challenges in B2B Linkages
Without access to reliable information, challenges in securing new markets, new suppliers and new clients could be costly in both time and resources. A B2B specialist takes into consideration whether the size of the market may be too small, whether there is a lack of information on the market products or whether there is poor market accessibility.
Challenges could also emanate from mistakes in selecting the appropriate B2B partner. Informed and careful selection of partners and setting up of proper management systems would make it possible to reduce these challenges dramatically, while maximising the benefits of B2B linkages.
An essential requirement is access to reliable and actionable information to reduce the risks inherent in transacting with companies in a new market. This endeavour can be especially costly in business models involving large numbers of small transactions, for example when sourcing agricultural products from smallholder farms or marketing consumer packaged goods through kiosks or pushcart vendors.
Lessons in B2B Linkages
A tough lesson is that as lifestyles and businesses shift to become climate-friendly, being sustainable is no longer enough. Instead, we understand the importance for brands, companies and communities to work together for a regenerative planet and future.
A dedicated staff or department set up specially for securing new markets for products or services could be a costly operation. Lessons learnt by existing clients is the cost effectiveness of securing the services of a professional with years of experience in B2B linkages when looking to identify potential local or international business partners.
An intermediary such as a B2B specialist can be very effective when companies in the same industry work together, helping to build trust among corporate partners.
OPPORTUNITIES IN B2B LINKAGES
Increased Customer Loyalty
When two or more businesses come together through alliances it often results in loyal customers who appreciate the added value these collaborations bring about such as exclusive deals, special offers etc. Strong customer loyalty is usually one of the key outcomes of successful B2B linkage arrangements.
Collaborating with a partner company can help you become more competitive by giving you access to new technology, ideas, or processes that you may not have otherwise had access to. Additionally, your B2B specialist can identify a partner company which has the necessary resources to help reduce costs associated with research, development, or marketing expenses.
Improved Access to New Markets
When companies work together, they can expose each other’s products and services to new markets that they may not have been able to reach on their own. This expanded market access can result in increased sales and revenue for both businesses involved thanks to the B2B specialist who created the linkage.
By sharing resources and collaborating on projects it is often possible for businesses involved in B2B linkages to achieve efficiencies that would not be possible if working independently. This improved efficiency typically leads to reduced costs which then allows the businesses involved to pass these cost savings onto their customers resulting in better value for money offerings.
A clear business case ensures long-term commitment by the company and has a far greater chance of being sustainable with the advice and information supplied by a B2B specialist. The investment is worth it!
What is your strategic B2B approach?
Like anything in life or in business, you have to put in the time and resources if you wish to reap the benefits.
Don’t focus on the short-term outcomes, rather look to long-term outcomes. In that way you’ll be building sincere value with your clients and find ways to genuinely help your clients, which will build the foundation of your Business 2 Business (B2B) relationships. By taking action and putting in the work to scale, the results will start showing.
Fundamental to B2B is access to networks and information systems to create sustainable linkages. The basis of successful B2B opportunities is accurate and verified information.
Companies undertaking B2B look for integration into new markets and then have the ability to reach new customers. Research the Competition Part of the B2B approach is to analyse new opportunities in your clients’ businesses by better understanding their demographics. Ask questions and do your best to understand everything from their distribution channels to their direct competitors. As many B2B opportunities are the basis for the finding new clients abroad, an analysis of foreign markets and other potential industry sector openings is critical.
Research the competition and determine their best practice. By compiling intelligence reports for the client, you are providing more in-depth content and evidence that in turn will provide the client with accurate information upon which to base their decisions.
Leverage Global Platforms
During the Covid-19 pandemic many businesses moved part of their business online. Travel was limited and shipping and logistics proved to be very expensive. Using digital global platforms is cost effective and pays dividends.
B2B Business Growth Strategy For the B2B sector a growth strategy is a huge area of focus and clients on both ends of the B2B spectrum are seeking to build successful relationships. Having a business growth strategy is key when developing new markets.
The marketing for a growth strategy involves using your already established contact with clients. In order to be effective at achieving upselling and cross selling there are two different areas you need to consider. The one is relationship marketing. If your existing customers aren’t happy, they won’t buy more from you. Marketing, along with other factors such as product quality and customer service have a key role to play in delighting your customers.
Each interaction matters, from a face-to-face meeting, to an email, to a response, to a tweet. Successful businesses are taking advantage of marketing automation technologies to improve customer satisfaction. In order to create successful processes, you need to be able to create highly personalised communication, and highly useful content.
International B2B Networks
A company seeking to find distributors, stockists or resellers in a new market, may find difficulty in tapping into these foreign networks. Language barriers, cultural differences, managing global teams, currency exchange and inflation rates and the nuances of foreign politics, policy and relations all impact the cost of securing new markets. It makes sense when identifying partners to supply goods and services, to collaborate with skilled and experienced B2B firms who have the necessary experience in those countries.
Case Study Success
Managing inward buying missions delivers both exports and imports between regions and countries. By matching the participants of inward buying missions as accurately as possible with distributors, stockists or resellers in the visiting country, the manufacturer of the products or services has a quick grasp of whether the business may be successful.
Understanding the local business environment and knowing who to speak to within the company is crucial to providing the best B2B fit for the client.
The case study of an eyewear manufacturer is a case in point. Monique Labat Consulting was engaged to find new eyewear markets for a manufacturer. Online meetings provided a cost-effective way of determining whether there was potential to do business. The success of this B2B linkage was the first order for eyewear which will now be distributed through the clients’ nationwide group of 48 stores.
Why use B2B linkages?
Implementing a strategy of Business to Business (B2B) linkages has proven to be the solution for many companies seeking to secure new markets, new suppliers or new clients.
Fundamental to B2B is access to networks and information systems to create these sustainable linkages. What forms the basis of successful B2B opportunities is accurate and verified information. Companies undertaking B2B look for integration into new markets and then have the ability to reach new customers.
How does one go about securing leads to grow one’s business? A clever sales technique is to host an educational webinar about your services or products and participate in a buying or selling mission to target hundreds of contacts. This participation can develop into hundreds of valuable business relationships.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Capturing the content and recording the responses in the form of a customer relationship marketing database across the company means that at all levels of sales, marketing and management, the content is readily shared within the company. This database proves to be a great time saver.
When creating researched databases be mindful to comply with The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 Of 2013 (“POPIA”). What B2B needs to deliver is access to local supplier and distributor networks. This entails contact verification, data mining and company profiling. To undertake B2B successfully ensure you find the key contact person and start building the B2B relationship. This involves researching and verifying the contact details of the leads and then you can conduct the initial qualification.
International B2B Networks
A company seeking to find distributors, stockists, or resellers in a new market, may find difficulty in tapping into these foreign networks. Language barriers, cultural differences, managing global teams, currency exchange and inflation rates and the nuances of foreign politics, policy and relations all impact the cost of securing new markets.
It makes sense when identifying partners to supply goods and services, to collaborate with skilled and experienced B2B firms who have the necessary experience in those countries.
For local businesses, connecting with one business can open up the way to future opportunities and help the local market integrate into a global supply chain. Business matchmaking can help facilitate and speed up this process.
Business matchmaking services help connect national and international buyers looking for goods and services with verified local businesses. Business matchmaking is an active approach of establishing contracts between international buyers and local suppliers. Both parties are able to identify the needs of the buyer and the capacities of the supplier.
B2B interventions include site visits, vendor promotion events, product sample collecting and networking events between buyers and suppliers. Inward buying missions arranged for importers or manufacturers have specific objectives. This begins the business conversation in a targeted manner resulting in exports of locally manufactured goods and services.
Virtual B2B Matchmaking
During Covid-19 many of these exhibitions and trade fairs have been undertaken online. Extensive growth in e-commerce and online B2B matchmaking has demonstrated that connecting buyers to suppliers virtually is successful.
Promoting B2B market linkages is an excellent strategy to make long-term investments develop into new business. B2B requires ongoing communication and will have long-lasting effects, which will promote your business growth. As B2B successes are made known, it will be easier to include more local manufacturers and buyers in the process.
Case Study Success
Monique Labat Consulting successfully manages inward buying missions. French companies from Reunion Island were asked to outline their objectives which had to be met for the inward buying mission’s success. The B2B matchmaking was facilitated. Manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) were invited to meet with the French companies. A B2B deal was signed and FMCG products manufactured in Durban are regularly exported to Reunion Island.
Global business comes with unique challenges but creates opportunity for excellent company growth. To prepare for challenges, follow foreign politics, use experienced B2B firms to prepare for today’s nuanced and interconnected business world.
Catch Monique Labat live 18th Nov 6.30pm Standard Bank KZN Top Business Women 2021 Gala Dinner
Founder of Monique Labat Consulting Monique was born in Mauritius and holds dual citizenship, Mauritian and South African.
A career spanning the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the City of Durban’s Investment Promotion Agency as well as Tradepoint South Africa Durban has meant extensive international and local travel promoting Durban as an investment location.
In August 2011, Monique established her company, (Pty) Ltd to provide valuable specialist skills to both public and private sector clients. Monique consults to local and international clients on Market Linkages and Business 2 Business opportunities, co-ordinates detailed programmes and itineraries for international trade, investment and inward buying delegations and compiles market intelligence reports for multiple industry sectors.
An active Rotarian, Monique volunteers her time and resources to assist communities within the greater Durban area. Monique’s core values are in line with Rotary’s motto, “Service above self”.
B2B Business Linkages to grow your business
As a long standing member of the Durban Chamber, am thankful to the Chamber for keeping my company informed and aware of developments necessary for COVID19. Business networks have never been more important.
If you’re looking for B2B opportunities to continue growing your business during these difficult times, please get in touch.