The Truth about Cross-Cultural B2B Relationships

  • 20 June 2024

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Part 1: Emotion in business

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In a strategic collaboration, the International Chamber of Commerce, Jus Connect, and McCann Truth Central produced a six-part global research report looking at the role of emotion, culture and behavioural tendencies and their impact on B2B relationships.  

This study was conducted through desk research, 1,701 new quantitative surveys with business leaders, and over 20 depth interviews with global experts in B2B relationships. The results provide valuable insight into the influence of cultural factors on the approach taken to forming and maintaining long-term, successful business relationships, and the differences at play when entering and attempting to resolve disputes.  

We provide new principles for a new cross-cultural playbook and the opportunity to re-map the world, not by geographic regions, but by business culture and practice.

The key insights for this series will include:

  1. EMOTIONAL INFLUENCE IN B2B. Emotion and culture significantly impact B2B journeys. Read more in this report to find out how and what you should do about it.
  1. BUSINESS CULTURE FLUENCY REDUCES FRICTION. Business culture and behaviour, when understood, offer a framework for anticipating a client or suppliers needs and help to avoid or address points of friction. Remapping the world according to business culture rather than geographic or economic criteria offers insights into achieving business cultural fluency.
  2. CONTRACTS OR PEOPLE? For some the contract is the opportunity to lock a scope, for others, it is the basis for a flexible relationship. Finding out your client’s or supplier’s cultural perspective on contracts helps provide clearer approaches to using them.
  3. WIN-WIN IS BETTER THAN WIN-LOSE. Business leaders favour amicable approaches to building long-term business relationships and, when things go wrong, prefer similar win-win dispute resolutions over legal proceedings (what is also called “interest-based outcomes”).
  4. SILOED DEPARTMENTS LIMIT BUSINESS SUCCESS. Departments traditionally assigned a single role (like legal teams or marketing teams) can be integrated deeper into the B2B journey to bring their skills to other stages of the process.
  5. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. Not only does this series of reports show that one global approach to B2B relationships doesn’t work, it also allows to discover differences between countries and within different groups, like different genders, ages, and professions.