Wednesday 12 October 2011

B2B and Social - selling ice-cream in the desert?

Lately I see a lot of "news" on B2B from a place I wouldn't expect: Social.
In my opinion Social and B2B have absolutely no business with each other (see my freeBook on Social Business)

Joshua Paul is my superhero of the day here, with an utter nonsense post titled 10 Secrets of the B2B Social Business Superhero

This very post has nothing to do with B2B and could have easily had any title - and yes it then would have to replace the two occurrences of B2B in the post itself by, well nothing, really

B2B is about businesses doing business with other businesses. Those are typically based on fixed and very static partner agreements, carefully rolled down and out and always involving Integration

Typically, B2B information flows are unattended and machine-only. All the people involved once were there in the inception phase, when the agreements were solidified, after which they were build, tested and implemented.
There are no exceptions in B2B, it is entirely based on rules. There are hardly any exception-handling mechanisms other than the occasional operator watching all the EDI-traffic and spotting an odd one out message that doesn't make it through.
That is, if you did it right. If this does not describe your B2B or EDI, feel free to contact me and I'll help you solve your problems

Social is about doing people stuff with other people - sorry for this lame definition but I just want to contrast it with the B2B definition.

Social Business deals with business exceptions rather than rules, requiring flexible answers to complex questions in dynamic environments. As such, it isn't about giving predefined answers to predictable questions, it is about giving unpredictable answers to undefined questions.
Social Business serves best where an increased distance between people on all sides is negatively affecting business as a whole. Social Business is best for establishing ties between unknown people

B2B: predefined, known, static, rules, machines. Social Business: undefined, unknown, dynamic, exceptions, people.
Have you ever seen two fields of business that not only have so little in common, but even are so opposite of each other? I haven't.
Now why on earth would people try to sell Social to B2B? It's exactly like selling ice-cream in the desert: B2B's Social equals the dessert in the desert

I can only guess with regards to the reasons for this.
It could be anything really. One thing is for sure:there is no need at all for Social in B2B, nor will there ever be: they are two entirely different universes.
And please, stop trying to sell one-size-fits-all solutions. Especially if you only change the title in order to find a different audience

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