How B2B marketers can create exceptional customer experiences
According to a recent report by Dun & Bradstreet, 90 percent of B2B marketers think their organisations need to stress customer experience as much as their B2C counterparts do. And though 38 percent of those B2B marketers are confident that they are better than the competition at creating and delivering customer experiences, nearly a quarter of them feel that they’ve fallen behind.
What the report shows is that B2B brands understand the value of personalised omnichannel experiences. The problem, in other words, isn’t awareness. But they’re nonetheless struggling to create those experiences for their customers, and the upshot of this isn’t only that their marketing is suffering, but that their customers are losing out as well.
But there’s no reason why B2B marketers should be at a disadvantage when it comes to creating exceptional customer experiences. They share the enthusiasm of their B2C counterparts for satisfying customers, and understand that personalisation can translate to loyalty, which means greater long-term customer value. But there’s a pervasive belief that B2B professionals are in some way on the back foot, and this is a hangover from a time when this side of the marketing world looked at industries and roles, rather than individuals.
In a time when founders, CEOs and MDs are getting younger and younger, we can be confident that grouping people together in the old way isn’t going to work. Modern professionals, even in the C-suite, aren’t two-dimensional, suit-wearing characters but people as diverse as you or me, and that means what engages us equally as diverse. Understanding this, and painting a picture of individual people within the context of a business, is vital to successfully creating great B2B customer experiences.
The solution is to segment customers as a B2C marketer would, and then plug the information into the B2B model. And that means employing not only traditional methods of research but using advanced tools, such as the social listening technology Sysamos, to gather data and inform your understanding of different user groups. Now you can easily follow market trends, engage with audiences and get real-time feedback.
We’ve recently been working with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology to do exactly this and put together content strategies that are relevant to their audiences. But by developing an understanding of different groups and then looking at those groups through a B2B lens, anyone can create and deliver the elusive customer experiences that so many B2B marketers have convinced themselves they’re unable to build. It might require a change of mindset to one which puts a premium on understanding the customer—something rare among large B2B organisations—but only here can truly great customer experiences follow.
Of course, this means B2B marketers need to get to grips with the tools they use. And this, according to reports, is a persistent problem in the B2B world. According to the Dun & Bradstreet report, B2B marketers feel they’re struggling to use the data and tools at their disposal, as well as to identify customer touchpoints and gain insights into the customer journey. But as with so many other things, the ‘how’ follows the ‘why’: once you are aware of the close relationship between data-gathering and great customer work, you have the incentive you need to get up to speed.
This isn’t to say that the B2B and B2C worlds are colliding (even if, every year in the marketing world, someone claims that they are). But that doesn’t mean the two don’t overlap, and in a complicated digital world, data-collection and insights are hugely valuable to both. If B2B marketers want to close the customer experience gap, then we need to understand who we’re looking to reach in more detail than we have in the past. And if we can do that, we can make our content and creative relevant, and deliver it in a way that is impossible to ignore, difficult to forget and, in the long run, leads to satisfaction, sales and loyalty.
Without customers, there would be no businesses; therefore, the B2B Marketing Core Essentials provides information on how to ensure the best CX to customers and not getting lost along the way with leadership advice and the low down on performance marketing.