When most people think of the on-demand economy, they think of the business to consumer side. But why can’t on-demand deliver a better experience for businesses as well? The business to business side is a rapidly growing part of the on-demand economy, and can serve as a starting point to eventually expanding the business and going consumer.
At the On-Demand Conference held on May 19, 2015, Jason Wang (CEO of Caviar), Antony Brydon (CEO of Directly), and Dan Teran (CEO of Managed by Q) weighed in on the unique challenges of starting and growing an On-Demand, B2B company.
The sales challenges of the B2B side of the on-demand economy are not all too different from those of the B2C side. Dan Teran posited that B2B companies are still selling to a particular persona, such as an office manager, and not necessarily to a business. Jason Wang stated the importance of being able to get to the right person, at the right price point, with the right options, while Antony Brydon argued that the two most important keys to closing a B2B deal are finding urgency and making it easy to test your service.
“The 2 keys: find the urgency and make it easy to trial.” -Antony Brydon, CEO Directly [tweet this]
The Keys to Success
According to Dan, it is important to not think of your business as wholly on-demand. On-demand can be an essential part of the services offered, but it doesn’t have to be the entire product. Indeed, ManagedbyQ allows for scheduling in advance and recurring sessions. Jason’s company, Caviar, also went consumer once they realized they had a flexible product.
Additionally, Antony explained how companies will continue to look less like companies and more like networks as the economy evolves in the coming years. According to him, there are two parts to the on-demand economy which work together and depend on each other — the customer in front of the button and the workforce behind the button.
“There are 2 parts to the on-demand economy — the customer in front of the button and the workforce behind the button.” -Antony Brydon, CEO Directly [tweet this]
Despite their successes, the CEO’s of these companies had moments when they thought their business models would not work. Dan cleaned offices (including the bathrooms and toilets!) by himself because of supply side issues. His company eventually got beyond that by hiring well and building a strong people infrastructure. Jason, whose company was bootstrapped for 9 months, worried about paying rent and having enough money to get to the next day. At one point, when Caviar had $10 left in their business bank account, they had to sublet their office space to make money! Antony’s company was only web at one point, with response times approximating 10 hours. Finding that that was not sustainable, they doubled down on mobile and response times decreased to 3–4 minutes!
You can find the full list of posts about the On-Demand Conference here.