4 MIN. READ
For many companies in 2020, profit margins are taking a hit. As part of the executive team, you want to have a comprehensive view of the challenges ahead and how to right the ship. Creating a seamless B2B customer experience can help boost your profit margins, putting your company back on the path to success. In this post, we'll explore the concept of the customer experience and provide the four fundamentals for enhancing the experience of your best prospects.
ACME Anvils started manufacturing anvils shortly after the Revolutionary War. At that time, it was a small, family-owned and family-operated manufacturing company that knew its market. All of its clients were within a half day’s wagon ride. The owner and his son knew each client by name. Fast forward to today’s manufacturing environment. ACME Anvils is still in business, but they have branched out to include other product lines. They now have a sales force, a marketing team, production personnel, warehousing and shipping workers, office personnel, customer service and support, and an executive team.
ACME Anvils’ original owners were fortunate in that they didn’t have hundreds of customers. The father-and-son team could take the time to know not only their customers but their customers’ families, other related products that their customers might need and how best to reach out to their customers in a timely manner.
While that same knowledge exists in today’s companies, it isn’t always utilized to its fullest extent. The outreach efforts that worked in the past simply aren’t as effective as they once were because the buyers are not the same as they once were.
Millennials currently comprise half of the workforce and are stepping into positions of responsibility such as entrepreneurs, buyers and CEOs. They, and the generations behind them, grew up in the digital age. Your quaint ACME brochure likely will not make an impact on many millennials.
Most potential customers will find you electronically and consider your products only if they acknowledge you as a thought leader in your industry and as someone who can provide an individualized customer experience that solves their pain points.
Customers have become more tech-savvy and inhabit the internet. B2C companies, recognizing this fact, traditionally allocate the lion’s share of the budget for digital marketing. With the pandemic, companies that market directly to consumers are increasing this amount despite the fact that CMOs use only 58% of their current technical capabilities.
B2B companies are starting to borrow this page from the B2C marketing playbook. In fact, B2B digital spend increased at a rate of $1 billion per year from 2017 through 2019. When the pandemic hit, the digital spend topped $8 billion for 2020, and it is projected to increase another billion in 2021.
One major difference, though, is that the ROI carries more weight in B2B transactions than in B2C transactions. A consumer may not mind wasting some money on an impulse buy. A business needs to justify each expense, or it won’t remain in business long.
Consumers – company buyers are consumers as well – look for thought leadership and the give-and-take of conversation before even taking the first steps towards entering the sales funnel. These social media interactions give consumers the chance to see if your company’s values align with their own.
These conversations are your opportunity to shine by providing valuable and engaging content to improve the customer experience.
However, one mistake that some companies make is using social media to over-sell a product. Valuable and engaging content isn’t always about your product. ACME, having diversified into building materials, often posts short home improvement videos that prospective clients can use.
ACME doesn’t sell directly to the public, but the company has now established itself as a friendly, knowledgeable advisor. Individuals who value their videos and other posts are more likely to recommend that their company use ACME products when considering building renovations.
Once you have established that another business would like to purchase your product, continue the conversation. The fastest way to ruin the stellar online reputation that you have built is to under-deliver to your customers.
The easiest way to ensure that this situation doesn’t happen is to keep all of the stakeholders in the loop from the beginning. The salesperson can explain exactly what was sold. Production can accurately estimate how long it will take to build something. Shipping can provide a delivery estimate.
The customer can listen to all of the information, provide input, ask for other suggestions and be a part of the whole fulfillment process.
Every team member, including the customer, remains on the same page every step of the way, creating a seamless customer experience.
When looking to expand your customer base and implement your optimized marketing tactics, IndustrySelect is your resource for building a strong list of B2B prospects. To learn more, contact IndustrySelect today.
Read more on this topic in our post: Five B2B Customer Retention Strategies to Propel Your Business