Let's talk B2B! Working from home and unexpected "Corona" insights



The B2B digital group, with more than 25 experts in the field of digital at large Dutch B2B companies, meets several times a year to discuss relevant B2B topics. In these special times, there was a need to also share online experiences in times of Corona. How does working from home at affiliated organisations goes? What do we see happening on the digital channels? And with what message do you positively draw attention without being too opportunistic. These and other questions were addressed in the first “Let’s talk B2B! - goes digital”.

It is a period of adjusting and taking each day as it comes. There are many heart-warming actions by companies that want to contribute, for example, by helping the healthcare staff. “We have made cars available for commuting to healthcare staff,” said Willem Verschuur from Louwman Group, a large car importer and distributor and expert in mobility.

Ramon Kok, Managing Director Manutan explains: “We have been looking for the right approach. A nice offer with a product push does no longer work. Combining products with content that meets the challenges and questions of the customer is currently a very strong combination. It’s also noticeable that less common digital channels perform much better than before. A good example of this for Manutan are the content blogs that are now read by far more people.

Working from home
Remote work is nothing new for some parties. At Evident, we have always worked remotely with our office in Lisbon. What is different now is that literally everyone works from home. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to the social aspects of working from home. For example, it is agreed that the camera is activated on every call. This is important to stay socially connected to each other. There is also a 24/7 Coffee Corner-videocall open that people can tap into to have a cup of coffee or tea together. Furthermore, there are several initiatives to keep fit. One of our colleagues from Lisbon provides an online workout 3 times a week and there is a running app-group where colleagues challenge each other to run at least 10 kilometres a week.

Richard Rijsterborg of Fabory notices that, due to the circumstances, it is difficult to complete tasks in a project-driven organisation, because these often depend on a lot of people and factors. “We ensure that people also receive assignments that they can deliver within a week. It’s important that people can continue to make progress.”

More tips can be found in this McKinsey article with a blueprint for remote work, based on the experiences in Wuhan.

Unexpected insights and results
While determining the advertising budgets, Manutan has looked more than ever at what products are currently needed. The budget is fully spent on those categories, which is a much smaller group of products than usual. The result turned out to be very positive and even beyond expectations. They also achieved an excellent ROAS.

Jeroen Poelman, Manager Digital & Content at Manutan: “It was a huge eye-opener; By listening to the customer even better and focusing very sharply on their needs, the result was much higher than expected. This is a typicalexample of an insight that we want to take with us after the crisis is over.”

Maarten Stramrood also sees a significant increase in digital sales at Brenntag. “We see an enormous increase in visits to our Brenntagconnect.com site, that mainly comes from online searches. These are often unknown companies and possible prospects that are now getting acquainted with our company and products.”

Sybrand Brouwer of INDI agrees. “We currently see many unknown visitors. These are new customers that are now shifting to the digital channel. That is certainly a result of the restrictions surrounding the Corona crisis”

Corona has a lot of impact on everyone and everything. It is also clear that digital plays a huge role in addressing the challenges and opportunities that come with it. The key question is whether this shift to online is temporary or are we able to maintain this development? More on this in a following article.

Mascha Tamarinof
Responsible for marketing and business development at @Evident. "Let's talk B2B!" initiator and host. Passionate about B2B digital.

Mascha Tamarinof