B2B customers are people, too. The truth is that corporate purchasing decisions are still made by people who spend a lot of time browsing consumer e-commerce sites. These B2C experiences have shaped their expectations when it comes to online transactions in their work environment. These corporate buyers who are accustomed to quick and easy online transactions from sites targeting consumers are going to expect the same from the websites in their business transactions. Unfortunately, while B2C websites are personalized and efficient, fewer B2B websites seem to offer the same experience. B2B organizations can learn a lot from their B2C counterparts. Learn how to leverage digital transformation to deliver a better buying and selling experience for your B2B customers.
Simplifying B2B Digital Transformation
Digital Changes the Scope of B2B Marketing
For most B2B customers, the buying journey is not a straightforward path. Digital transformation needs to focus on better addressing the customer and simplifying the customer experience. While digital transformation is a company initiative, marketing plays a central role. Focus on delivering a simplified, streamlined, and satisfying customer experience. Not only will a simplified experience provide customers with higher levels of satisfaction, but it will also result in greater client retention.
Customers want to engage with your business digitally, they want more autonomy in the buying process, and they want personalized experiences when engaging with your business. That’s why customization should be at the heart of your efforts to create the ultimate customer journey for your clients. In order to customize the experience, you will need to gather the necessary data to get a better idea of your client’s motivation. Digital systems make this data gathering successful. Everything from spending patterns to popular services can be pinpointed through analytic data. Based on the information you gather, you can make personalized recommendations, creating a unique individual journey for your clients. As you gather more data, the accuracy of your recommendations will increase, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction and repeat interactions.
Develop A Customer-Centered Approach
In today’s highly competitive landscape, having a customer-centered approach will set your business apart from your competition. We have mentioned that the B2B buyer journey is like a winding path. There are a variety of stakeholders and executives involved, compliance and budgetary considerations have to be taken into account, and even internal protocols can affect the buying journey. Start adding in external factors and you begin forming an idea of how complex a purchase is for your clients. It’s easy to see why a unified customer view across the organization is essential for customer satisfaction.
B2B can learn from big B2C companies, such as Amazon or Netflix, who have developed customer-centered strategies and now dominate their industries. Eliminate hurdles that lead to unnecessary complications for your buyers. Even something as innocuous as a gap between the completion of the transaction and the receiving of the product itself can lead to stress for your clients. Think about your business goals and processes while keeping the customer’s needs and demands in mind.
Evolution of the B2B Buying and Selling Process
When we talk about digital technologies, we almost always focus on things like web, mobile, email, or chatbots. Those are only the tip of the digital transformation capabilities. Digital transformation also includes new digital touchpoints and interfaces such as wearable, AR/VR glasses and headsets, digital kiosks, connected TVs, and 3D printing for digitally delivering physical items to customers.
B2B organizations have made tremendous progress when it comes to their e-commerce capabilities. Unfortunately, one of the problems for B2B organizations is that merely adding options to an online shopping cart or digitizing a product catalog isn’t generally enough for B2B customers. With a majority of executives looking to purchase business products online, businesses should continue to develop digital strategies that address the complexities of their business. Research-leveraging technologies like 3D modeling, drag-and-drop functionality, interactive demos, and more allow customers to engage online with product or service offerings.
Combining Digital and Human Interactions
Don’t let your salespeople feel threatened by digital solutions. Simple tasks like pricing and quoting customers takes valuable time. Technology was created to make their lives easier and provide time for more specialized requests. Often, B2B organizations are selling highly-customized products. To give a customer the best journey, it often means switching between digital interactions and human interactions, based on what the customer prefers at each step of the journey.
B2B customers are usually happy to use digital self-service for routine transactions like reordering, but with a new process or they are making a larger than normal purchase, most prefer working with a real person who can address their specific needs.
New technologies provide businesses the opportunity to create new or improved buyer experiences while supporting and reinforcing your brand. The complexity of B2B relationships makes the digital transformation different from B2C companies, but the focus on the customer journey remains the same. Delve into those relationships and find the right digital and human interaction for your business.
How Can We Help
Does your business need a hand with B2B digital transformation? We offer strategic planning, persona development, and content marketing services that can help. If you are ready to develop a story building trust and motivation, then sign up for a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting. Schedule yours today, and let’s see if we can help.