Where online dating brings together two people in search of their happily ever after, B2B or business matchmaking abridges the gap between companies with similar interests looking to realize lucrative business opportunities.
Yes, just like people in real life, businesses also need to establish cooperative connections with other companies having shared goals. Such connections help businesses and every individual employee as they expand their skills and learning, experience a sense of ownership and accountability, and communicate better among departments.
In case you were unfamiliar or vaguely familiar with the term, it's natural to have numerous questions bubbling through your mind – what comes under B2B matchmaking? How does it all work? How can I apply the same model to my business? Keep reading to know the ins and outs of business or B2B matchmaking.
First things first – when someone hears B2B matchmaking being explained, they tend to associate it with networking. After all, networking is also about engaging and interacting with other like-minded folks from within the industry for mutual benefit purposes.
However, the truth is that networking is still different from B2B matchmaking. Just think of the two terms, like the difference between casual dating and dating with a purpose. The simple "intention" factor makes a world of difference.
This is the precise difference between (casual) networking and the (serious) B2B matchmaking process. Now, this process is often carried out via seminars, conferences, exhibitions, etc. However, the global lockdowns and subsequent event cancellations that became a norm during 2020 concretely impacted face-to-face events.
Previously, webinars and online conferences were used as an addition to offline or in-person meetings. Today, the tables have turned as communication has gone increasingly virtual.
This does bring in some additional responsibilities for event organizers. For instance – there should be a perfect balance between the entertaining and informative aspects of the events so that the audiences are not drowned in back-to-back rounds of Zoom rooms. Then, rigorous checks must be conducted to ensure top-notch broadcast quality, connectivity, and sound.
However, this comes especially handy in the case of small-scale events where the round table is highly focused, with fewer workshops that can be easily organized online. However, over the past two years, even large-scale events are successfully being held online.
Do not think that the aforementioned statement has been left open-ended, leaving you to figure out the why and the how. Before discussing what makes B2B matchmaking an efficient, structured, and time-saving process, let's start with a concrete and business-friendly B2B matchmaking definition.
The term in itself is pretty vast. It encompasses businesses and individuals sharing common business interests, strengths, expertise, technologies, etc. For instance – There’s a company that deals in one-of-its-kind coffee varieties which would naturally have coffee aficionados on its business radar.
On the other end, cafes and coffeehouses such as Starbucks (but those in their fledgling stages) specialize in mouth-watering coffee and shake varieties. Each business would drastically benefit by collaborating or partnering with the other.
Meaning you're the third party here who senses the business opportunity and comes up with a solution to connect the buyers with the sellers. How? Perhaps with an online platform or marketplace wherein coffeehouses can find regular wholesale coffee blend suppliers and the coffee suppliers can find long-term customers in the form of coffeehouses and cafes.
Every business interested in finding its ideal match needs to be specific about what they are looking for and what they have to offer in return. The more niche and specific the answers are, the easier it becomes to find the ideal match (and that too, in record time!).
Mostly, business networking takes place through trade shows, meet-ups, MasterMind groups, etc. In that sense, B2B matchmaking is not much different. The best chance at finding a business match will be during events and shows wherein networking is the primary name of the game or is definitely a significant part of it. These events could include:
The one key difference between networking and the B2B event matchmaking process is that the latter goes a step ahead. Successful B2B matchmaking involves using an all-in-one event management software or tool. Yes, strategic approaches require strategic tools.
The tool or software primarily automates the matchmaking process, seamlessly integrating the same into the respective event's workflow. This is especially useful in today's day and age, where most events are conducted virtually. While technical glitches remain a concern, they're not a strong enough con to compete against all the pros of online B2B matchmaking.
Especially since 2020, a more robust, experience-oriented and interactive era of business matchmaking can be seen. Not just out of necessity but also for the benefit of the attendees, most matchmakers are organizing online events, and here’s why you should too.
The digital easily fills in the gaps of the physical. An online event conducted through video-conferencing can invite attendees from all parts of the world. If your attendees have a strong internet connection, they can join in.
Want a successful event that hosts 30 workshops with 15 main-stage events happening simultaneously? Then, what better way to do so than going digital? Plus, the event capacity is also unlimited.
The coronavirus crisis is not yet eradicated. Restrictions may be imposed on future events, especially during the winter months. Is it not better to be on the safe side by organizing digital events? That way, you can smoothly carry out your matchmaking regardless of the social distancing or lockdowns.
This is another significant benefit of a digital event. A lot of time and money that would otherwise be wasted on traveling booking an event venue, catering, and other expenses can be easily saved. The event can stay straightforward and yet offer plenty of time for attendees to get to know their matches and understand their shared values and interests.
Digital events indirectly benefit the environment. This is because no attendee needs to book a flight ticket to reach the scheduled event venue. However, there are other ways in which digital events help reduce CO2 emissions. For instance – this includes logistics, waste or construction disposal, among others.
There are many ways to keep your attendees entertained when it comes to digital events. You can use videos, images, podcasts, and more for presentations, lectures, interviews, and more. Much content can be shared with the community on-demand to extend the event's life cycle. Plus, it becomes easier to analyze the event's success through valuable KPIs such as the number of workshops and presentations attended, participant engagement, etc.
With most of the events being organized digitally, the use of robust B2B matchmaking software becomes all the more critical. Listed below are the top benefits of such software.
Planning an event is no child’s play. This includes choosing the right time and moderators, preparing for troubleshooting, sending out post-event follow-ups, etc. The event matchmaking software takes a lot of the load off your shoulders as you can attend multiple meetings from a single room, share engaging presentations, and engage in preferential and attendee-to-attendee matching.
With these stressors out of the way, you can focus on more critical aspects of the meeting – asking icebreaker questions, initiating meaningful conversations, directing the flow of the discussion, etc.
A successful meeting is not just one in which attendees feel engaged during the event. Pre and post-event engagement also matters, and much goes into ensuring that.
The matchmaking software ensures your event attendees are engaged not just during the event but also before and after. For instance – attendees can easily match and set up meetings with exhibitors and sponsors before the event. They can even match among themselves and have a pre-event meeting to get to know each other better.
Data is business gold. Actionable insights drawn from event data can be used to create better ones in the future. The matchmaking software collects valuable information on the way your event attendees network.
This includes the meetings scheduled for the popular interests at the event and more. This crucial data reveals insights such as the success rate of the event, the time the attendees networked the most, the interests they shared, etc. This data comes in handy to improve future events.
A great event is typically not one that includes too many attendees. This is because it can get too overwhelming – to the extent that attendees may not even find suitable matches.
Each attendee needs ample time to understand other attendees and the service that sponsor leads and exhibitors have to offer. A good event matchmaking software gets into the picture to save the day.
How? Event attendees can skip certain matches and find the ideal one based on shared goals, interests, etc. This way, they are more likely to find connections that offer the most value in lieu of wasting effort and time chasing after the wrong ones.
Another major benefit of B2B matchmaking software is that it can be used to schedule meetings and plan the event's contents. Meaning, once you add the floor map and event schedule into the software, attendees are aware of the amount of free time available and how it can be utilized to network among themselves.
Plus, there are other options besides a networking application. Attendees can save device storage space by using the same on their web browsers.
Since most business matchmaking events are taking to online platforms, listed below are some of the most useful matchmaking or networking apps that help businesses stay connected without leaving the comfort of their home.
Meetup is a useful matchmaking application for both personal and professional needs. This app is used to arrange meetups locally with individuals and businesses that share similar areas of interest. This application is perfect for establishing a strong community surrounding your business. Here are a few essential features of Meetup:
Akin in function to Tinder, Shapr is a time-saving application to connect with people with similar professions, interests, and more. One unique aspect of this app is that the people are kept anonymous during the stage of swiping. Once a match is made, you can chat and schedule an online meetup to further the conversation.
The app itself recommends to you users that may be good matches based on shared interests, professional experience, aspirations, etc. On a daily basis, Shapr suggests at least 10 to 15 potential matches. Given below are some important features Shapr offers:
Eventbrite Discover is an ideal application if you wish to discover meaningful and relevant events happening in the area.
The app includes an in-built Organizer, which can be used for developing and managing an event from end to end. Besides designing an event, you can create a roadmap for the event and process payments easily.
The app analytics helps in tracking event performance to organize better events in the future. Given below are the top features of Eventbrite –
⦁ The app has various beautiful templates to help you personalize the event based on the theme, brand, etc.
⦁ Through real-time reporting, you will get a clear picture of which workshops were most attended, the number of attendees, and more.
⦁ The app itself is freely available on Google Play Store and Apple Store. However, to run an event, you must pay a commission equivalent to 4 to 6% of the ticket sales.
Before you embark on your journey on the B2B matchmaking model, you will need some inspiration. And the examples below offer plenty of that. Take a look at how companies (even those with negative working capital) established successful businesses based on the matchmaking model.
This company is a classic example of a mid-market company that did not rely on VC firms and private equity to grow itself. The company saw a great need for both the buyer and supplier side and filled the gap with customer cash.
The company runs an online platform or marketplace wherein those looking to offer their apartment for rent can get in touch with those looking for rented apartments in that area. On one end of the spectrum, the seller earns easy income on their property; on the other, the buyer has a hassle-free way to find accommodation.
The amazing thing in all of this is that Airbnb owns nothing, except for the online platform, of course. Buyers can pay for their accommodation two months in advance, but the company only pays the host after the buyer checks in.
So, what does Airbnb do with the money during the two months? It uses it to grow itself – exploring new markets, making new listings, more Google Adwords to generate bookings, etc.
This company has smartly leveraged technology to become a pioneer in the business matchmaking economy. The US and other parts of the world were full of drivers who were out of jobs and money.
Then, on the other end were customers looking for easy and affordable rides when they wanted to avoid the hassle of public transport or did not wish to circulate the block in search of parking. With the help of advanced modern-day technologies such as GPS, smartphones, payment apps, etc., Uber transformed the transportation space.
Besides reducing the friction between the general public and drivers with idle capacity, the company walked the extra mile by expanding its operations with UberEats. This further improved opportunities for drivers to use their idle time to deliver food to those who needed it.
The matchmaker model runs on a complete circle because Uber makes itself money only when drivers are on the move and busy. This gives the company the incentive to keep its drivers busy, offering them better employment prospects.
In this arrangement, the incredible thing is that Uber does not own any of its cars. The driver either brings his vehicle into the mix or drives one owned by the fleet's operator. And without owning anything (except the platform), Uber generated total revenue of a whopping $8.1 billion in the second quarter of 2022.
When it comes to hosting an online business event or meeting, people often bring up the concern that it won’t feel real. This notion surrounds the fact that virtual events can bore the audience or easily distract attention. However, there are ways in which even virtual events can be organized in an interactive and engaging way.
Just like generic marketing tactics don’t work, generic business matchmaking tactics won’t either. The best thing to do is to first choose an event hosting platform that offers a variety of customization capabilities in the form of widgets and other interactive elements.
The aim is to go beyond robust speakers and a stage. For instance – If there's a live Q & A Chat forum where attendees can post their queries, share ideas based on the live event, etc., it would make things more interesting.
You can also limit the number of attendees to a particular room to prevent the conversation from becoming too overwhelming. Perhaps create separate breakaway rooms solely for chatting, giving the attendees respite from a knowledge-packed session.
Polls serve a dual purpose. Not only do they easily drive audience engagement, but they are also a good way to gauge what attendees think about your event, brand, product, etc.
With polls, the stage is all yours. You can use it to create generic polls based on the overall event, or you can create a number of specific polls that gather attendees' opinions during breaks. For instance – if you notice that a majority of the attendees enjoyed a certain session more than the others, you can use this feedback to organize future events.
Even in the B2B business world, professionals can seldom get enough of games. Such mechanics encourage the brain to go into its attentive mode. They not only add a fun element to your events but can also be used to improve engagement.
For instance – you can set up a virtual booth and declare that each attendee of the booth will receive specific points. The one who gathers the most points receives a prize. Each virtual booth can have contests on a smaller scale to encourage attendees to interact with sponsors.
Besides, points can also be allotted based on the interaction itself. This includes participating in a poll, engaging in Q & A, etc. This gently nudges the audience to pay attention to every aspect of the event.
Unless the event is organized for a geo-specific audience, it is best to expand inclusivity. What better way to do so than to have the content translated into various languages?
This way, you can expand your reach further. Even though many attendees may know English, you can rest assured that non-native speakers prefer the content to be in their native tongues. After all, language holds power to break down relationship barriers, and this includes business relationships.
Explore how Skadate can help with the development of matchmaking software.
Alexa is a sure-handed digital marketing person who helps small and middle-size businesses to grow online. She believes that a well-thought SEO strategy, smart targeting, and communication strategy could skyrocket any business.