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Business Networks: A Win-Win Proposition

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In my previous post I talked about the benefits that buying organizations who have embraced the networked business model are reaping – lower costs, higher sales and profit margins and increased market share, to name a few. Selling organizations who are on board with this new, core-connected way of operating are seeing dividends as well.

Take B&H Photo, Video and Pro Audio, a leading retailer of imaging products. Like many companies looking to generate leads, B&H relied heavily on direct marketing and inside sales. While these efforts sparked some interest and requests for catalogs, they generally failed to connect the company with buyers who were ready to make purchases. Only 1-2% of those targeted by B&H’s email campaigns, for instance, actually responded to them.  So the company began looking for new channels through which it could turn up more qualified leads, and in the process, boost its sales and revenue. And it found one in a business network.

As many companies are learning, business networks are fast becoming the defacto standard for doing business. Participating in sourcing events is fast and easy with bidding taking place online, as are payments thanks to accurate, automated invoicing. And then there’s the unmatched access to new business leads that they provide. For example, last year, Ariba Discovery, a business matching service delivered on the Ariba Network that simplifies the process of lead generation by instantly matching buyer requirements to supplier capabilities, provided over 15 million sales leads to the suppliers on its network. Using the service, B&H has been able to increase its sales with new customers and expand wallet share with existing ones.

“With minimal investment, we have already acquired more than $200,000 in new business and many additional leads,” said Barry Eisenberg, Business Development – Contracts & e-Procurement, B&H Photo, Video, & Pro Audio.  And the company has done it in less time with fewer resources. “I receive several qualified leads through Ariba Discovery every day and am able to respond successfully within only 15 minutes,” Eisenberg adds.

But the quantity of leads isn’t the real value in his mind. “The primary benefit is that they are qualified because they’re coming through a network of trusted members,” he says.

And of course, buyers are happy because they can find just the right suppliers with less time and effort – and potentially reduce costs. For example, companies using Ariba Discovery can save an average of 15% on what they currently purchase today.

In my next post, I’ll explore how one company – TopSource – has done just this.

About the author
Rob Mihalko
Rob Mihalko

Rob oversees Ariba’s overall seller marketing initiatives as well as the Ariba Discovery service. Before joining Ariba, Rob held a variety of marketing, business development, and finance roles at Microsoft, Disney, and Intel. He was also a manag... Read More >>>

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