The Key Elements To Bio-Rad’s Digital Transformation Strategy

In the lead up to this year’s B2B Online, we caught up with Richard Waight, Multi Channel Manager – eCommerce at Bio-Rad Laboratories to discuss the company’s move towards digitisation. Read on for his thoughts on how Bio-Rad is gaining buy-in and gathering momentum to perfect its digital presence.

Richard will be speaking at B2B Online. Download the agenda here to see his session.

The trickiest thing is often beginning a journey of transformation. Where did you start your digitisation project?

The first thing is to define what digitisation means for your organisation. The word has too broad a meaning to be the same thing for all companies. For Bio-Rad it means we must be aware and understand that more and more of our customers’ touchpoints are becoming digital in nature. We must understand this shift and how it complements our existing sales channel, and then set in place programs and initiatives to take advantage of this.

It took about 6 months to gather all the data and present a case to senior leadership in an effort to gain their support and funding. The key elements are:

1. CRM data quality, segmentation and hierarchy. And then driving the functional areas’ (sales, customer care, marketing, service) proper usage of the tool that controls this data (SalesForce) with the aim to achieve a full 360 customer view.

2. Integrating Marketing campaigns to our digital ecosystem. Our tool (Marketo) is extremely powerful when linked to SFDC,, and other internal apps, microsites and social media channels. When this is done properly and you have good data, things like Marketing Automation and Persona driven promotional campaigns become a reality.

3. Drive and optimise adoption of our digital transaction channels. The bulk of our digital revenues come from EDI or cXML connections with large key customers. We are moving towards having a global team of IT and Project Management professionals whose sole priority is to deploy these connections. How the various incoming requests from customers are investigated and prioritized is utterly key as to whether this resource is efficiently utilised. forms the remainder of the digital revenues and there are many functionality enhancement projects in progress.

4. Develop digital selling tools (platform is iPad) Workflow, gap analysis and competitive switch out tools are being developed (funding not fully secured).

5. Investigate potential integration with marketplaces and 3rd party search and reference sites.

6. Integrate our Diagnostic portfolio (selectively) into

What has been the biggest win for you so far in aligning your channels to create a seamless customer journey? Conversely, what has been more difficult than you expected?

Raising the priority and securing backing for the prioritisation of the cXML connections between Bio-Rad and its strategic customers. If we don't move fast here we could be shut out of key institutions. Raising this priority and seeing shifting of internal resources to ensure deployment teams are fully resourced.

One of the more difficult tasks has been to effect change in the architecture of and its content management system. These are controlled by Corporate IT and unless you are an executive and have a pot of money then not much can change.

Which marketing channels do you think are becoming more or less relevant for you as your multi-channel eCommerce strategy develops?

A real hot potato of a topic and opinions are many. Specific to Bio-Rad and the biotechnology space, I personally believe our field sales channel is still our primary selling asset. However, the scalability of direct sales cannot match the "always on" and perhaps parts of our regular purchase smaller value consumables may be better served digitally.

We are also seeing large VC bets on a multitude of marketplaces specialising in different areas. As a manufacturer this is something to focus on, as we would want the "purchase decision" to be made on one of our digital properties.

What has been your biggest challenge in implementing change in your organisation?

When an organisation is as successful and profitable as Bio-Rad, it is difficult to raise the awareness of the urgency to move and invest into the digital space. Our products and our commercial teams are where we focus, which has stood us in good stead for 60 years.

What advice would you give to someone about to take on a similar role to yours?

Know in detail your customer journey and where the online and offline opportunities exist and could complement each other. Only then can you take a story of investment to the executive.

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