The Operations of Internet B2B Products

Understand how the three critical aspects of operations in the internet B2B industry come together in a digital transformation process.
Today, the main battlefield of the internet has shifted focus from B2C to B2B.  Unlike B2C products, which can attract consumers through various ways, B2B products require a digital transformation in marketing. Find out what are the different forms of product operations (ops) in the internet B2B industry.

Source: RfidWorld
The internet B2B industry
The internet B2B industry moves traditional business processes online through digital tools. It forms an online closed-loop ecosystem and a unified, organized data space for all stakeholders. The key feature of the industrial internet is supply chain optimization, in which resources are allocated to reduce asymmetric information, improve data efficiency, and create incremental value to accelerate business growth.
Internet B2B products
B2B products meet the "business needs" of enterprises by improving their operations. Therefore, B2B products should come from a standpoint that is designed to solve business pain points.

There are three types of values created by the internet: the value realized by the product itself (the value obtained by the customer from using the product), the value delivered by marketing, and the value received directly by the customer.
The value realized by the product focuses on product design and its functionality, which is the product manager (PM)’s primary responsibility. The value delivered by marketing and the value received by customers relies more on product ops instead.
Internet B2B product operations
The goal of B2B product ops is to increase sales by improving the customer value proposition. Channel development, customer maintenance (service), brand building, word-of-mouth marketing and content delivery are operational processes that can improve customer satisfaction.
B2B operations are user-centric, which means operators need to be familiar with the targeted users and the stakeholders around them (other colleagues and business contacts). It is impossible to optimize the traditional chain if product ops lack the relevant industry expertise and depth.
1. The operations of internet B2B products consist of three main roles:

Marketing operation: the intervening strategies related to areas of publicity and exposure of a product through marketing.
Platform operation (including user operation, content operation and community operation): the main job of this process consists of communicating with users, maintaining their preferences, and obtaining feedback. According to user needs, the firm needs to produce high-quality content to stimulate interested users to interact in the platform. During this process, it is essential to turn such communication into collectable behavioural data.
Business operation (or BD-business development, sales): this is about negotiating with potential customers and selling the respective products. 
2. In a transformation process, the priorities differ in different operational stages
When the product starts from scratch, operations should focus on experimenting with a specific business scenario. This is a low cost and holistic method that allows for feedback and further understanding of the market.
In the midterm, the business gradually develops. Product ops should try to obtain more data and follow up the transformation process. If any problems exist in the product, the product ops team should forward it to the relevant department for iterative optimization.  
When the number of users proliferates in the business development period, the enterprise will begin to make profits. During this stage, the product operations team should assist the product department to continuously perfect the product details as new product functions will be needed. The team can consider external cooperation if necessary.
When the business is relatively stable, the bulk of sales come from a steady stream of customers with sustainable demands. In this case, product operations serve to maintain the current service and customer relationships.
3. The purpose of product operations
First, product ops help a B2Bproduct deliver its core value. As mentioned, B2B products meet the business needs of enterprise users. This is the reason why operation systems revolve around user demand and user behaviour.   
Therefore, the product department needs to teach the product ops team how to operate the product system and tell users where problems lie. The team should understand the basic logic of the product design to communicate smoothly with the users.
Second, product ops also assist in industry implementations. Before teaching the marketing department how to promote a product, the product ops team should first understand the target users. Operation strategy will differ based on different groups of users. Upon understanding the target users, the marketing department can forward the user feedback to the product ops team and identify the customer pain points.
The process of B2B internet product operations
B2B products need to establish an online user operating system that includes user activation, user transformation, and user value maximization. Product ops need to integrate "online" with "offline" processes perfectly. They should run through the whole business process, understand how to design the system, and add relevant digital tools to improve the product. There are two ways how B2B internet product ops work:
1. Offline to online: this process includes research and feedback on customer service and operations.
Research: research of B2B products should focus on market research instead of simple user research. The product manager needs to go through the industry analysis, product evaluation, data mining and other analytical processes. Through research, we can figure out the business status and identify the bottleneck, the product positioning, and the expected gains.  
Feedback on customer service: This is about collecting user feedback and collating all input to the product manager. The product manager will filter accordingly and extract crucial information during this process. Excellent B2B product managers must have a rich, practical experience that allows them to identify the real pain points of users accurately.
Feedback on operations: the development of front-end sales and e-sales personnel should focus on identifying real users and promoting sales.
2. Online to offline: this process includes customer pain points analysis, product manual, and online training.  
Customer pain points: the ultimate value of B2B products is to increase the enterprise’s profit, which can be done by improving efficiency and reducing costs. Enterprises realize value through sales, and sales volume is directly related to making profits. After the product (system) is launched, there may exist customer pain points that hinder sales. Provide user-friendly instructions and solutions from a product design standpoint.
Product manual: Before releasing a new product manual, the product manager, the customer success department, and the marketing department should discuss the implementation scenarios and the product value description. The marketing department helps upgrade the sales tools, while the customer success department improves the implementation scenarios and the customer use cases. When training the sales team on the new product manual, the marketing department should focus on the product value and implementation scenarios. A complete product demonstration is unnecessary (the more complex the product, the less necessary the demonstration. 
Online training: Apart from value delivery, the internal training of the customer success department should focus on functional and operating components as they will need to help customers solve operating problems.