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The B2B Playbook- your five stage guide to a successful B2B commerce project

John Fisher is the global head of B2B Marketing at hybris software and he has created the B2B Playbook.


Hi, I’m John Fisher, and I’m the global head of B2B Marketing at hybris software. In my experience, what generally happens is a great B2B business will make a decision to go online. They’ll make it at the top, they’ll generally assign it to a project team that will then go through the five stages of an e-commerce project:

1. Justification, which is figuring out why they should be doing the project

2. Requirements gathering and writing an RFP

3. Choosing the vendor you’re going to go forward with, the technology partner

4. The build and launch of the actual website

5. The ongoing support and Phase 2

Stage one is justification. That answers the question, “Why are we doing this project?” Really, it’s not only important because you want to get the ROI, but you also want to figure out exactly where you think the upside in the e-commerce business is going to be for your particular business. Is it going to be increased revenue and average order value? Is it going to be cutting costs and efficiencies on the operations side? Or is it going to be building and maintaining loyalty with your existing customer? More than likely, it’s going to be a combination of all three of those.

Stage two is one of my favorite, the requirements gathering. It really gives you a chance to re-envision the business that you’re in, and it actually answers the question, “What exactly are you building?” One of the fallacies of B2B e-commerce is that you’re just building an online store. That’s really not the case, especially in B2B. You’re beginning your digital transformation as a business.

The next stage is vendor selection. This essentially answers the question “Who will be building the website?” I break this stage down into three things: People, Process, and Technology.

Stage four is the build out and launch of the website, and this is obviously a crucial part of the e-commerce project. It’s the actual coding of the website, and it answers the question “How will the site be built?”

The final stage answers the question “What now?” I’m going to give you a couple of tips on this stage. Tip number one is to think about this stage early in the process. It shouldn’t come at the end. You want to think about who’s going to be supporting, what resources will be supporting and giving you technology development after the site goes live.