5 examples of innovative technology in B2B (and what we can learn from their approach)

We all know the tech industry is evolving at a rapid pace, but where are those tangible examples of innovative B2B technology we crave for inspiration? Here are five striking samples

Innovation. It’s a word that can be a little difficult to define, especially when you attempt to apply to it specific industries and verticals.

But that’s exactly what we’ve done.

The industry is B2B. The vertical is tech. And we went to the experts and asked them to discuss their favourite piece of innovative B2B tech from the past couple of years.

Hopefully you won’t have any trouble defining innovation once you’re finished being inspired by this daring bunch.

5 examples of innovative technology in B2B (and what we can learn from their approach)


Truly, this is the age of the cybercriminal. Last year, almost half of all UK firms were subject to a cyber breach or attack, costing the UK business industry over £11 billion in 2016.

As marketing consultant Shane Redding explains: “While people today are much more aware of the risks from cybercrime, many businesses (especially small ones) don’t understand how to protect themselves.

“Any organisation with a website is vulnerable to a wide range of attacks, which can mean that their website is held to ransom, traffic diverted to Viagra or sex sites, or taken over for extremist purposes."

Shane’s innovative tech of choice is SharkGate, a SaaS cybersecurity firm that is so effective because, as she explains, it really understands its customers’ needs and pain points.

“Not only does the company protect websites,” Shane explains, “but it understands the real pain point for a small business is when it’s already been hacked.

“Small companies that had been attacked were in real danger of going out of business, so the SharkGate team set up a subsidiary called ‘One hour site fix’, which promised to fix a website fast and for free, as long as the company then took out subsequent cover. This has resulted in fantastic word of mouth (WOM), which has helped drive high growth.”

What can B2B marketers learn?

It’s all about knowing the customer, according to Shane, as this is something SharkGate has spent much of its time perfecting: from tone of voice to product offering.

“Understanding customer needs and recognising that most small businesses don’t have the resource or knowledge to deal with this growing threat means that SharkGate uses a non-technical approach in its messaging,” Shane says.

“Although a small, fast-growth business itself, the company has recognised that the need was worldwide, so did not restrict its offering to any one geographic market and, as a result, has customers around the globe, from fixing a popular radio website in Philippines to a small Turkish holiday villa owner whose website had been taken over by ISIS.

“It was also one of the first companies to start using Trustpilot in a B2B context, which really helped build wider WOM and trust, as well as improving their SEO.”

5 examples of innovative technology in B2B (and what we can learn from their approach)

Adobe Spark

From an SME shaking the foundations of the cybersecurity start-up scene, to an established B2B powerhouse’s latest app.

Adobe Spark was released in May 2016 and was later named as an App Store ‘Best app of the year’ by Apple after being downloaded over 3.5 million times. The app is an integrated suite of cloud-based apps, aimed at improving storytelling through various formats to help businesses better connect with customers on an emotional level.

Jada Balster, VP of marketing, Workfront, explains the tech’s real innovation lies in its storytelling capabilities. “The app allows us to create stunning visuals from either desktop or mobile, that will automatically sync to all devices,” she says.

“It enables my team to streamline social media content production and create visual assets effortlessly.”

What can B2B marketers learn?

The future of B2B lies in creativity, according to Jada, and this is where Adobe Spark really stands out in the marketplace.

“Adobe has managed to create a product that is free, fast and user-friendly,” she describes. “B2B marketers can learn a lot about the importance of creating templates that help save time, excite potential clients and, ultimately, win new business."

5 examples of innovative technology in B2B (and what we can learn from their approach)

Instagram (graph API)

Facebook-owned Instagram recently released its new graph API, allowing businesses to better manage their organic presence on the social media app.

Jeremy Wood, VP product marketing at Hootsuite, stresses how much this release underlines the huge appetite for a platform like Instagram expanding its B2B capabilities. “This new update demonstrates a real customer-first perspective that hinges on really listening to your audience and responding to feedback,” he says.

“The future of marketing is visual, and this new API is transformational. The fact Instagram has made this feature available for the first time, exclusively for business profiles, is very indicative of expanding into new markets.

B2B Marketing InTech 2018

The single most influential and inspiring tech event of its kind in the UK: this one-day event includes sessions by leaders, innovators, change-makers and growth hackers from some of the most innovative and admired tech brands on the planet.

Book your place now

B2B Marketing InTech 2018 image

“It has historically been a very consumer-driven platform, but it's now enhanced itself to be a very prominent platform for B2B brands.”

What this means is B2B marketers can now use Instagram at scale, with better reporting and analytical capabilities.

What can B2B marketers learn?

“Instagram has taught us to step outside of our comfort zone and figure out how to make conversations happen in a different format,” says Jeremy.

“It’s almost forced B2B brands to think about how they can be more visual, because it's such a significant platform to be on.”

5 examples of innovative technology in B2B (and what we can learn from their approach)


Messaging app Slack has taken the business world by storm in recent years – the company has successfully infiltrated and seized power in a space that was previously dominated by email and lengthy face-to-face meetings.

Mariette Ferreira, head of marketing at FairFX, explains why Slack is such an innovative tool in her eyes. “Similar to Apple, Slack didn’t ‘come up’ with the product idea, it just perfected it.

“Some might say that doesn’t make the brand innovative, but the superior user experience and relentless focus on collaboration put it high on my list of favourites.”

Enhancing in-house comms can only have a positive impact on the B2B industry, continues Mariette: “If something’s helping companies improve internal communication, collaborate more and work seamlessly across tools, channels and teams, then it can only be a step forward.”

What can B2B marketers learn?

Slack’s founder Stewart Butterfield came from a video game developer background, and it’s the almost obsessive focus on user experience – such a critical element of video games – that elevates Slack above its competition.

As Mariette neatly concludes: “User experience should always come first – regardless of whether you’re B2C or B2B.”

5 examples of innovative technology in B2B (and what we can learn from their approach)

AI and chatbots

In this instance, it’s the category of tech that’s changing the game, rather than a single application, argues Stein IAS’ MD Danny Turnbull: “AI and machine learning are increasingly changing the B2B landscape,” he says. “Chatbots are enhancing the sales process, helping to automate and accelerate interactions on the front end, as well as helping to drive and optimise customer service on the back.

“AI used to be the stuff of science fiction,” Danny adds. “Once upon a time, the only time you could speak to a computer and glean information was on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Now, Watson, Cortana, Alexa, Google and any number of other AIs and digital assistants can answer questions, carry out tasks and automate processes.”

And while there’s fear about the potential implications of the so-called ‘robot revolution’, Danny assures us these unprecedented levels of technological advancement are going to present opportunities, rather than restrictions.

“The wonderful paradox of AI is that B2B is going to have to be a lot more human,” he explains. “Marketers will need to understand human wants, needs and behaviours in even more discreet ways, so we can 'teach' and enable AI solutions to behave 'on brand' and to deliver exceptional customer experiences.“

What can B2B marketers learn?

Discussing his company’s own chatbot (called ‘Alan’ after Stein’s recently-retired CEO Alan Brandwood and, of course, the legendary Alan Turing), Danny explains how AI has taught the entire business the value of a balanced skillset.

“We’ve learned very quickly that successful AI requires brands to be UX experts, programmers and playwrights,” he says. “You need to know how your customers want to interact and design those experiences, build those experiences and have a clear enough understanding of the character of your brand to craft the ways your AI engages with customers and prospects."