Making the Shift to Digital Sales in B2B

Joerg Niessing, INSEAD Senior Affiliate Professor of Marketing, and Fred Geyer, Senior Partner at Prophet | November 23, 2020

The old methods of demand generation won’t work in the always-online era.

A new, digital era of B2B sales and marketing is upon us. It’s driven by corporate customer demand for online access to their suppliers’ offerings and expertise. Taking advantage of this shift is challenging because it requires moving from deeply embedded B2B sales and marketing models to data-driven, digitally powered partnerships between sales, marketing and analytics.

The rewards of digital demand generation – a pivotal piece of the B2B digital transformation puzzle – can be significant. For example, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, a biopharma business, grew by building an extensive digital demand generation operation that engages researchers through thought leadership content and software, allows customers to fulfil orders through an e-commerce portal, and supports online research into unique, custom biological agents. In March 2020, Danaher completed the purchase of what is now called Cytiva for seventeen times of the firm’s 2019 EBITDA.

Our interviews of 2,000 B2B transformation leaders and a deep examination of twenty real-life cases underlined the need for demand generation strategies that address the unique dynamics of supplying corporate customers. 

Our 4C framework turns the best practices we’ve uncovered into pragmatic steps suppliers can take to create tailored, digital demand generation strategies.

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