While many want to say goodbye to 2020 as soon as possible, there's no doubt this different and extraordinary year and the ways companies had to adjust changed the trajectory of what the future will look like. I hope that you have stayed safe and had time to prepare, and are ready for the upcoming year. In this article I have gathered some things that I believe can boost every B2B-company, and perhaps some of them are worth to consider.
Most companies quickly adapted to run their operations to a remote workforce. Some companies are now rethinking their business model with some distance and lessons learned from that initial experiment. Some even question if the offices are still needed. Some others experienced an increase in productivity and creativity when their workforce went remote. Nevertheless, working from home wasn't ideal for others. Therefore, in 2021, you and your company should reimagine workspaces and provide proper support for working from homes, such as outfitting employees with the right office equipment and supporting them proactively. More so, everyone can work from home more comfortable.
Over the last years, data volumes have increased massively. Companies that have leveraged their data to better understand their potential and existing customers and improve their decision-making are outperforming everyone else. And they are very few. Cloud solutions allow you and your company to access data from anywhere. Your company should protect and secure data just as you do with all other assets. Another important thing for your company to consider is how you shall boost data literacy to gain decision-making insights.
Business model innovation
Every decision-maker and owner now needs to reflect on what they're offering potential and existing customers and how they will operate as a business. Some industries were utterly transformed in 2020, such as the hospitality and events industry. The companies that are currently thriving even during a pandemic are those that reacted quickly to the changes.
Another top priority next year for you should be automation. You should evaluate your processes to see where you can take people out of the process when they aren't adding any real value. This year brought us some exciting shifts in this direction, e.g., autonomous vehicles, trucks, warehouses, supply chains, as well as chatbots that automatically take over customer service inquiries. Next year, I hope you and your company will prioritise some white-collar automation by considering what tasks can be given to smart robots or delivered through automated interfaces.
As companies race to find new ways of delivering service to potential and existing customers, they have started to provide some of their services digitally using, e.g., augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality. Ultimately, the demand to try before you buy with virtual interfaces can transform how your company offer your services. You and your company should consider and implement all possible services to provide digitally.
Many companies have started to rethink where they source and sell their products and solutions because international turmoil has been disrupted. Localised manufacturing and selling are considered and prioritised, and appealing from an environmental perspective.
There's a trend that customers want more purpose in our jobs and tasks; they want real intention. You and your company should prioritise having a clear and meaningful purpose with why and how you do things.
Sustainability has been a hot topic and concern for quite some time, and the extraordinary times have shifted in emphasis. As disruptive as the COVID-19 is to companies, many recognise the environmental crisis could be much more damaging to the world and the bottom line than the pandemic. Therefore, you and your company should rethink your operations, the environmental impact, offering, and how it's used—sustainability links to having a meaningful company purpose as companies work to reduce their carbon and water footprint.
During the pandemic, companies rely on engaging with their potential and existing customers online. You and your company need to make a big push toward a more authentic online presence, less curated by external specialists, agencies, and IT-companies, using all experts at the frontline.
Lead by example
At Zooma, we try to constantly evolve our way of working with the above in mind. Here's some of what we've prioritised during 2020:
Went fully remote on March 12, 2020, and has remained so since then.
Given all Zoomers the option to use their screens and office equipment at home.
Transitioned fully to cloud services for all file storage and improved collaboration within all teams with SaaS-based tools.
Moved all events and activities online, including regular company-wide meetings and Friday fika.
Moved all sales related activities, project meetings and customer interactions and workshops online.
Continued our automation of internal workflows, e.g. related to customer activities and lead follow-up.
Launched a new, more personalised zooma.se and customer portal.
Launched Zooma Academy where we provide training courses for free for all customers.
The above is to name some of what we've done. Your list might look different, but our advice is to prepare to make even more changes in 2021 than in 2020. The transformation to digital has just begun.
Thank you for being our friend, and for reading this! Let's go into 2021 with a bright outlook, with ideas and innovation falling like snow.
Happy and healthy new year! / Anders & all Zoomers
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.