Customer experience has long been carefully considered as a priority for B2C companies, but it has never been much of a focus in the field of B2B e-commerce until more recently. The mindset of B2B companies in the selling space is changing with new technology and opportunities, and buyers are becoming better informed. Among the most significant changes are increasingly active control of B2B buyers in the purchase process, and the changing expectations that prospects have of sales reps.
These changes are apparent throughout the sales funnel, from awareness to post-buying. The companies who understand these changes well and make efforts to adapt to and keep up with the change will be able to build a strong customer experience and see higher revenue growth than their peers.
In order to build the best customer experience, B2B companies can focus their effort on the following 4 principles to execute a winning customer service strategy.
1.Digitizing customer journey
Digitizing the customer experience is a lever often left unused by B2B companies. In the area of B2B e-commerce, there is great potential in using concepts such as self-service, online interfaces, and automated decision rules. For example, the use of digital “track and trace” interfaces enable B2B buyers to see the status of their customer journeys in real time.
As another example, some manufacturing organizations create client applications, where all the information and interaction about a supplier’s equipment is made available, including its age, working status monitored by equipment sensors, its next scheduled maintenance visit, and an open box for user feedback.
2.Customize the sales journey
A one-size-fits-all approach to content and strategy is no longer an appropriate tactic. Marketers must know who they are talking to, where the prospect is in the buying cycle, and how a buyer goes through their journey. Identify the buyer persona (i.e. demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals, etc), their pain points, and how this information can help to tailor the purchase process.
You can recommend content to buyers based on their stage in the buying cycle, in order to provide a personalized experience that buyers demand.
3.Accelerate the sales cycle
Data from Marketing Insider Group shows that the average B2B sales cycle is about 10 months, but customers would prefer if it were around 6 months. If your company can focus on each individual customer with targeted approaches and meet their respective needs, it can help to bridge this gap.
Sales acceleration lies in working smarter, faster, and more efficiently. And with predictive technologies this is possible – salesmen know who to call, when to call, and what content to provide in order to achieve desirable results. Features such as playbooks can also be used to equip the team with internal content, call scripts, and just-in-time coaching.
4.Anticipate customer behavior
According to a survey by Customer Think, 83% of B2B leaders indicated that they desire for more information and data that describes customer intentions and helps to create an overall view of the customers. Companies can leverage predictive analytics to anticipate, understand, and influence the future directions of customer needs and behaviors, which enables the sales team to be more proactive and sell smarter.
B2B companies should have reliable tools and technologies to collect trusted, accurate, and meaningful information. A well-used tool would help to anticipate the outcome of a particular sales situation and proactively recommend content and marketing strategies based on real-time data, best practice, and similar sales scenarios. New technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping a new era of B2B data processing and customer behavior learning.
In conclusion, investing time and resources into customer experience improvement can lead to great rewards for B2B companies by driving business growth and creating lifelong, loyal customers.