A New Identity for Buying Groups
Are You Ready for “Group 2.0”?
Your Buying Group is a technology company, and if it isn’t, it should be.
The hard truth is that, at this very moment, your group and your members are being disrupted. Business disruption is the new normal – it’s a reality that organizations face on a regular basis. The source of this disruption is the rapid advancement of technology and globalization, which allows new business models to be introduced at an ever-increasing rate and with rapidly decreasing costs.
There was a time when the primary role of Buying Groups was negotiation and administration. Technology was simple – Excel, a small accounting package, and an outsourced web site. Tech was treated as a cost center rather than as a source of competitive advantage.
Imagine Starting Over
Ask yourself, if you were starting a group of independents today and had technology bred into your bones, what would your group look like? Would you focus on negotiating rebates? On operational efficiencies? Or would you emphasize increasing sales, enlarging a customer base, and entering new revenue channels?
While the rest of the business world has gone through a technological upheaval, far too many independents have failed to embrace technology. How many of your members have a strong online presence? How many can sell to and service their customers online? How many have created specific teams for expanding online relationships and sales?
Downfall Or Opportunity
Is there a model for groups of independents focused on selling that will disrupt the traditional Buying Group model? Think of a “Sales Cooperative” that uses the underlying principles of Purchasing Cooperatives but focuses on revenue creation.
How would thinking of your group as a technology platform change the way you and your members act?
What if you assumed your members were virtual members rather than physical locations? What if you embraced technology as your competitive advantage?
These are the types of questions you, your board of directors, and your members should be asking yourselves. “It’s the group’s job to do for it’s members what it’s members can’t do for themselves,” insists Jack Bailey, former president of IBC-USA – a sentiment he attributes to Howard Brodsky, co-founder of CCA Global Partners. In today’s age, this means providing guidance and accessibility to technology.
Just like the phrase “Web 2.0” marked a distinct turning point in how the internet was used, the phrase “Group 2.0” represents a fundamental shift in thinking about how members think of their Buying Group. New members, having grown up with Amazon, Spotify, and Facebook, will demand a new philosophy.
Bestselling author Josh Linkner insists, “We can no longer rely on the past as a game plan for winning. Deliberate disruption is the only path to sustainable growth and success.”
In other words, disrupt or be disrupted.
Written by Steve Seguin
LBMX offers a business-to-business marketplace platform, helping independent businesses, their buying groups, and suppliers buy better and sell more. Its Private Group Marketplace for Groups has transformed billing and ordering, rebate management, real-time analytics, e-commerce and product information management across the building materials, HVAC, plumbing, sporting goods, industrial supply, manufacturing, and agricultural industries. Its LBMX Supply Cloud platform allows suppliers to look at their industrial distribution customers through one lens, offering full EDI, PIM, Analytics and Payments.