While there will always be fires to put out and short-term issues that tend to occur in any business, it is important to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. This means looking at your business operations and creating a strategy that prioritizes your B2B organization for success.
Entrepreneur, angel investor and former host of the reality show, “Profit”, Marcus Lemonis, is an experienced pro when it comes to discovering marketing opportunities and avoiding business failure.
He also invented the “3 P’s of success”:
According to Lemonis, the 3 Ps are basic that any business needs to get it right. If these basic factors are not in place, success will be an uphill battle.
Building a robust B2B operation is about getting these three Ps in the right place.
Business Operation Definition
Business operations are everything that happens in your business to keep it running and profitable.
In most business plans, a specific section is devoted to business operations that are necessary to make an organization work. These include:
While your business model is a description of what you want to achieve, business operations are the practical execution.
Even if you already have processes in place, for the best results in your B2B business, you need to be intentional about your ops and create a clear strategy that is regularly optimized.
Features of B2B Business Operations
Although business inputs and outputs can vary significantly depending on the company’s industry and size, most of these features remain relevant to any type of business:
- Maintaining effective internal communication and striving for alignment around goals and how to achieve them
- To provide senior level leaders with the information and coaching they need
- Continuous audit and optimization of business processes
- Budget management and planning processes
- Third-party collaboration monitoring and software integrations
If you hire an operations manager, these are all the focus points they need to keep an eye on and continually improve. Otherwise, these tasks can be shared between the most relevant people on your team.
The different roles in B2B business operations
While an operations manager is responsible for business operations at the highest level, it is common to appoint middle-level roles within different departments of an organization.
Sales Ops include all the business activities and processes that help your business sales run efficiently and in line with your business goals.
Marketing Ops is a role or team focused on enabling the marketing team to function and scale effectively with the right people, processes and technology.
Support Opsworks like the other ops roles behind the scenes to deliver the tools, integrations and processes that enable support teams to succeed.
Running a B2B business can be challenging and requires the ability to analyze and evaluate processes and performance at both the macro and micro levels.
To help you implement the most effective business operations strategy for your B2B business, read eight tips for success.
8 best practices for successful B2B business
1. Communicate clearly – and choose the right technology.
Everything starts and ends with good internal communication. In fact, a recent survey found that 89% of respondents believe that effective communication is incredibly important in a business environment.
Establishing the right communication processes is a crucial key to a company’s success, and since team members today are mostly dependent on technology to communicate and collaborate, it’s just as important to choose the right communication tools.
2. Define the team’s expectations and accountability.
Clear expectations for each team member as well as clear accountability are the foundation for success. Regularly setting tasks, deadlines and planning together is an integral part of business operations, as well as following up and evaluating results and results.
Document and automate processes.
Documenting all processes and sharing them with the organization saves a lot of time and effort. Documentation obviates the need to “reinvent the wheel” over and over again and provides a common basis and reference point, which can then be further developed.
What’s even better is when your documentation and data are easily accessible to your team members. Integrating your various tools and synchronizing your contacts will make workflows run smoother and with less effort.
4. Integrate your tech stack.
An important part of business operations is to maintain a helicopter perspective on technical solutions and platforms. By choosing tools that are optimal for your needs, avoiding redundant functionalities and integrating your various systems, you set your various departments to success.
5. Strive for transparency.
It is important to have a cross-functional collaboration that breaks down silos and coordinates departments around common goals. Alternatively, the inability to create transparency results in redundant work, incorrectly adjusted priorities and missed opportunities for collaboration, so it is worthwhile to get this right.
Some effective tactics for any B2B business include regular cross-departmental meetings and the right communication tools to facilitate collaboration.
6. Base decisions on data.
Because business operations involve different stakeholders and agendas, it is important to maintain an objective view of how efficient your operations are and to agree on how you define and measure success.
When creating your B2B ops strategy, take the time to assess how well you are doing:
- Runs a data-driven operation with high data integrity and reliability
- To base decisions on facts and figures rather than hints and gut feeling
- Create regular reports and share them with all stakeholders
7. Collect feedback from teams.
An effective feedback loop where team members can deliver their insights and comments to management is invaluable. Regular surveys and a strong team culture that invites feedback are great places to start.
Of course, it is only enough to collect the feedback; it must be followed up and also acted upon. How can you ensure this in your B2B ops strategy?
8. Consider hiring an operations manager.
Ownership of your B2B ops is crucial and it pays to have someone responsible for maintaining the smooth running of your organization.
If you can, you can hire someone who owns your company’s ops and is responsible for continuously evaluating and optimizing the three P’s: processes, people and product.
Agree on metrics to measure success, and follow up regularly to ensure you maximize your business’ potential. You can also think about how your ops strategy seeps down to each department for maximum impact and productivity.
How do you strengthen your B2B business?
Every business is different and you need to look at your specific business to assess what your needs are. But if you tick all those eight boxes, you should be well on your way to a top-class B2B business operation.