EOS in B2B Business Development

The Role of EOS® in B2B Business Development Strategies

Flexibility is one of the hallmarks of the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. Whether your business sells children’s toys or assembles rocket engines, EOS® will make you more competitive.

Of course, context matters. A business selling toys probably has a different focus for growth than one dedicated to building a better missile. Some aspects of these businesses—human resources, accounting, or IT, for example—may be more similar than different. But having such distinct customers means their development strategies need to be distinct as well.

What makes the B2B context so different?

When selling to other businesses, sustainable growth only comes through long-term relationships. Some business-to-consumer brands think in the same way: consider how Apple or some fashion brands encourage their customers to build emotional bonds with their products. But there are important distinctions for the B2B context:

  • Constant scrutiny. Emotional appeal isn’t enough to keep a business customer happy. Most successful businesses pay attention to the value they get from their partnerships. If you’re not meeting a need in a way that makes financial sense for your customers, they won’t stick around.
  • Global competition. Unless you’re in an exclusively local business—construction or transportation, for example—you need to think about how to stay ahead of competitors located on the other side of the planet. Globalization cuts both ways, of course: you might take advantage of far-flung supply chains to stay competitive.
  • Demanding customers. A key dynamic of the B2B relationship is how a vendor rises to meet the demands of its customers. Today’s B2B environment calls for constant flexibility and innovation. The aims of a relationship could shift dramatically after just one phone call. Every business needs a process to adjust to these changes.

How EOS builds a foundation for B2B development

In my work as a Certified EOS Implementer®, I’m fortunate to work with all sorts of businesses. Many of them are under the B2B umbrella: marketing agencies, light industry, engineering, and many more. Addressing the issues above are important topics for all of them. Here’s how EOS has helped them stay on the growth path:

  • Celebrate the microscope!

Transparency is scary when it reveals a mess. It can become a strength when what it shows is an organized and disciplined organization.

Open and honest communication is a necessary feature of teams that run on EOS. Some EOS businesses find that it also becomes a useful way to promote themselves. The constant scrutiny from customers can stop being a source of anxiety and become an opportunity to deepen the relationship.

I encourage my clients to talk about EOS with their customers because the structure it      provides makes businesses that run it more effective and more reliable. One CEO I work with likes to talk about EOS because it makes it easier to explain how his business works. Another has gone a step further by integrating the language of EOS ideas into her branding strategy. 

One executive I know told me he credits EOS with saving a key relationship. His client was facing pressure to switch to a lower-cost supplier. After presenting their case to the client’s management team, one of their key decision-makers said, “I don’t know why we’d switch from a business that understands us and understands itself.” The relationship has only gotten better from there.

  • Be ready for change.

Struggles with change are routine among businesses that lack a cohesive system for tackling problems. Over time, piecemeal solutions create an unsustainable patchwork of different processes, often spread out among people who aren’t in the right seats. Business leaders get into this mess because they mistake the lack of structure for freedom. At some point, they learn that order makes responsiveness possible.

The EOS Toolbox™ is full of remarkably simple ideas for helping businesses become responsive to the rapid pace of change in the B2B world:

  • Real accountability. My marketing agency clients rely on their Accountability Charts to keep new ideas flowing. When a client has an issue, there’s a clear path for escalation that gives the client confidence that problems will be solved. It also gives the team a clear path for resolving problems without turning conversations into blame games.
    • Rock the challenge. The EOS idea of rocks is deceptively simple. When change raises a complex problem, giving the right person in a business primary responsibility for finding a solution, and then holding that person accountable to a steady beat of updates, drives answers and progress.
    • Leave no problem unsolved. When an issue is left unresolved, it grows larger. The IDS™ approach from EOS forces a team to find real solutions, with documented plans for implementing them. This skill is vital in the B2B context. One of my clients told me that IDS has been integral to their strategy for adding value for their customers. “We’ve learned to find the real problem and address it head-on,” she told me. That’s the power of IDS.

How is EOS transforming your business?

Are you running on EOS? How is the system shaping your business’s approach to growth? I’d love to hear from you. If you’re interested in learning more about what EOS is about, let’s connect! Send me an email or give me a call at (818) 649-1103.