Digital has disrupted every corner of business. Demands for always-on and self-service stretch beyond consumers and include business-to-business (B2B) companies as well. This is because the consumers who have grown accustomed to the ease of digital interactions are the same individuals making business purchasing decisions. Whether at home or at the office, individuals want to have good experiences each and every time they interact with a business.
Companies who operate primarily in a B2B model have historically competed based on price or product and have neglected to focus directly on the customer, missing out on the all-important human touch at various points of interaction. According to B2B Marketing, 96 percent of B2B buyers base their decision on whether to buy again partly on the experience they receive. And 83 percent of people who receive a good experience will refer you to a friend. B2B companies have significant strides to make when it comes to customer experience (CX)—but can also use it as a key differentiator if they get it right.
Here are five basic strategies B2B marketers should consider.
1. Focus on the Customer Life Cycle
Although marketing has always been responsible for driving market growth, differentiation, and bottom-line revenue, marketers are now more than ever hyper-focused on creating exceptional customer experiences. CX is not any one point in time, it is the sum total of all interactions and transactions across the customer life cycle—from acquisition to end of life or win back. B2B marketers should aim to create consistent, personalized experiences at each stage, not just when acquiring new customers.
2. Be good at data
B2B marketers need trusted data and deep insights in order to address customer needs. Many organizations struggle with data that is siloed and disconnected and are only able to obtain partial views of the customer at various points as a result. B2B marketers need access to intelligent, trusted Customer 360 views of all data. They also need to understand complex relationships, organization hierarchies, and buyer groups in order to drive effective campaigns. An end-to-end foundation of connected data can power operational and analytic use cases all aimed at driving better CX.
3. Segment, Segment, Segment
Gone are the days of ‘spray and pray’ marketing. Broad segmentation rules based on geography, industry, or company size seem to be coming to an end in our digital world. B2B buyers are more receptive to personalized offers and react to messages that have more relevance—resulting in higher-quality leads. With an enriched Customer 360 view, marketers can segment based on factors and insights such as customer lifetime value, sentiment, competitive mentions, key word frequency, and influencer networks.
4. Know your customers
B2B marketers need to connect with accounts and contacts on a deeper, more personal level. And in order to do that they need more insights into their preferences, likes, dislikes, influencer networks, and past interactions and transactions. Knowing whether an account recently made a complaint may be a deciding factor for what offer to send or not send. Or knowing that a prospect is a customer for another line of business may impact how that prospect is marketed to.
5. Anticipate, predict and act
Predictive analytics and next best solutions are critical to B2B marketers. They enable marketers to increase acceptance rates across all offers, drive campaigns for new product introductions, and better understand what action to take next. However, many find that next best action tools are not producing the results they expected. This is typically due to the data that’s being fed to these tools. The old saying ‘garbage in garbage out’ is very applicable in this situation. B2B marketers need to ensure that they’re feeding their predictive tools with only the best, most complete, and insightful data. If they’re not, then wrong offers will be made to the wrong buyer, which could not only result in poor campaign results but might actually lead to a lost sale or account.
Get inspired to make a big impact
B2B marketers aiming to be more customer-centric are rethinking how can best they acquire new customers, grow relationships with existing customers, and create long-term loyalty. These five strategies along with other examples of how the shift towards digital transformation is affecting B2B marketers will be front and center at Informatica’s CX VIP Summit in NYC on December 3rd. Industry thought leaders like CX Futurist Blake Morgan will be on hand to share stories, lessons learned, and best practices. Join us there.