Business-to-business — or B2B — management is administrative control of interactions between private-sector organizations. Members of a business-to-business management team are generally tasked with improving the working relationship between their company and the companies they do business with. Most business owners and operators understand the importance of developing and maintaining mutually beneficial associations with other companies. To help ensure better relations, someone with B2B management experience generally handles or monitors corporate contracts and official communications with suppliers, corporate peers and wholesalers. Sometimes a B2B manager is called in to correct a situation where mistakes have already been made.
Managers who specialize in business-to-business relations are typically assigned to take on challenges that arise with existing and potential business clientele. Generally, the manager assesses the nature of the existing relationship before deciding what steps can be taken to correct any problems. Effective B2B managers search for solutions that improve the nature of the business relationship and benefit both companies. In some cases, management may decide to sever ties with the other business if no mutually satisfactory solution can be reached. A quality B2B management team can increase profits and productivity for both the company and its business connections.
Applying effective management techniques to B2B interactions can save companies time and money. Small and large businesses are often searching for ways to decrease their costs and raise profit margins. Business-to-business management can thoroughly overhaul a supply chain to reduce material spending. Limited supplier contracts allow B2B managers to regularly renegotiate terms for the best possible deal in the current market. Consolidated ordering and shipping is another way for management to secure materials contracts at the lowest cost to the company.
Diplomacy is important in the daily work of business-to-business management. Words must be chosen carefully to send the intended messages to partner businesses. Those with experience in B2B management often become highly analytical and sensitive to the perspective of other businesses. When relations with other companies become potentially litigious, B2B managers must rely on their own legal experience or consult with company lawyers.
Consulting firms that offer business-to-business management services evaluate the current condition of a company's business relationships. Investigations done by these firms generally include interviews with staff members and select business clientele. Based on the results of the inquiry, policy and operational changes are often put in place to alter the corporate perception of the company.