Today’s businesses are operating within the experience economy, where customer experience is of paramount importance. While the optimisation of customer experience has long been talked about in the context of B2C companies, it is in fact even more vital to B2B brands.
As B2B marketers will know, customers purchasing from these companies tend to spend more, on average, than their B2C counterparts. Similarly, B2B businesses usually sell to fewer customers, thereby making the experience of those they do sell to even more important in terms of customer retention. Despite this, far too few B2B brands are proactively optimising the customer experience they offer.
If you’re selling to B2B customers, now’s the time to explore the new opportunities of experience innovation. Embrace digitisation, introduce personalisation and map your customer journey to see how you could make life easier for your customers. Think about cross-channel selling and multi-channel experiences, and consider whether your brand could benefit from a new and improved customer experience strategy.
Before we dive into new ways of optimising the B2B customer experience, it’s worth taking a step back to think about how the experiences of B2B customers differ from those purchasing from B2C brands. Because a one size fits all approach risks overlooking the distinct differences in the journeys that customers take when buying from these companies.
The B2B customer experience is hugely important, because it really does have the power to make or break a company.
Offer customers an easy, fuss-free experience where they feel valued and appreciated, and no doubt they’ll soon be back to look at your other products. Disappoint them or leave them feeling frustrated, and you could end up handing them straight to your competitors.
At first glance, this might not sound too different to B2C experiences, but it is. Because most B2B brands have far fewer customers than B2C companies, meaning that each purchase is more valuable to the company as a whole.
B2B buying journeys also tend to be longer, with more people involved in purchasing decisions. The importance of retention strategies is therefore heightened. And when every single interaction matters so much more, customer journey mapping becomes ever more crucial.
B2B companies tend to face numerous challenges as they work towards improving the experience they offer. Data, or a lack of it, can make things tricky for companies hoping to introduce personalisation strategies. It can also be difficult for brands to give customers the best possible impression if they aren’t yet offering an omnichannel experience that runs seamlessly via different devices.
Another common challenge relates to how experiences are measured. Companies need to be able to quantify changes in customer satisfaction, to measure how their improvement strategies are working. If a team doesn’t have the relevant data to hand, or doesn’t understand how to record customer experiences in a quantifiable way, then future strategies won’t be as well informed as they could be.
B2B customer experiences can be rapidly enhanced with the introduction of new technology and more advanced, data-driven optimisation strategies. Take a look at some of the top ways of improving B2B experiences to see how your customers could benefit.
Digital technology can make a real difference to B2B customer experiences. Embrace digital innovation and offer customers a new and improved experience that makes full use of digital marketing opportunities.
Connect with customers via social media, market to them based on what you already know about their preferences, and offer them rewards for their loyal custom. Forget cold calling, instead use targeted online ads to market to your audience in a less invasive way.
Map the Customer Journey
B2B customer journeys are often far more complicated than B2C ones. There are more stakeholders involved in every decision, and there’s very little room for impulse purchases in general. But the more you know about your customers’ journeys, the greater your chances of optimising them in a way that makes a real difference to those who buy from you. Map your customer journey, then use your journey mapping to identify any room for improvement.
Use Data to Personalise Interactions
Personalisation is just as popular with B2B buyers as it is with B2C consumers, and with each sale responsible for a greater percentage of the company’s overall profits, it’s even more important that B2B businesses get it right.
Use the data you have on existing customers to personalise your interactions as much as possible. Doing so will provide you with better informed marketing opportunities, and it’ll make sure customers feel valued too.
Cross-channel and Multi-channel Experiences
The complex buying journeys that take place before B2B purchases are made often involve the use of several different channels. Companies therefore need to think carefully about how customers experience these channels, and what happens as prospects move between them.
To ensure the best possible chances of making a sale, companies must offer seamless cross-channel experiences that are hassle-free and easy for customers to navigate in a hurry. It’s also worth remembering that any promotion, or information, published via any channel can potentially be viewed by any potential customer – whether they’ve previously interacted with the brand online, or they usually rely entirely on offline purchases.
Think about your approach within the context of cross-channel experiences, ensuring that journeys run smoothly no matter how a customer chooses to interact with your company.
Experiences are vitally important for B2B companies, where customer journeys are complex and purchasing decisions are far from easy. If you’d like to find out more about how you could optimise experiences and make life simpler for your customers, talk to our team.
We’re experts in the Adobe Experience Cloud, and we’re here to share what we know, helping you use digital technology to make informed decisions and deliver great customer experiences. Contact us to find out more.