The customer is always right. While that may or may not be the case, one thing is for certain - the customer can be a treasure trove of vital information you can and should use to achieve better marketing and sales results. In the B2B sector, whether you’re in the manufacturing industry or food packaging and beyond, ensuring stellar CX is one of the most powerful ways to drive customer acquisition and retention.
To improve customer experience across digital channels and build a better brand experience overall, you need to leverage buyer expectations and use the right data. Today, we’ll take a look at the key steps you should take to better understand your buyers and their journeys, and how you can create the best customer experience possible.
- Targeting and understanding your B2B demographic
- Building and optimising B2B buyer personas
- Connecting on the relevant online channels
- Improving CX through stellar customer service
- Collecting and collating key B2B data
Targeting and understanding your B2B demographic
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash
First and foremost, it’s important to keep in mind that quality CX comes from quality research. One of your top priorities should be to continuously research your target demographic and stay on top of the latest trends in your market, customer behaviour, product demand, pain-points, and more.
The key goal should be to gain a better understanding of B2B buyer expectations and their current needs so that you can generate effective models for better customer experience now and in the long run. In other words, continuous research will allow you to improve CX now but also to predict future CX trends to retain your competitive edge.
To achieve this, you need to understand and optimise:
- Awareness stage – generate the demand for your product or service through targeted ads, social media management, SEO and other marketing tactics to boost brand visibility
- Interest and research stage – focus on educational content, messaging, and interactions with leads to help them understand their needs and possible solutions to their problems
- Consideration stage – focus on personalising your messaging and nurturing individual leads with specialised product solutions and benefits
- Decision/purchase stage – meet the clients’ needs and guide them through the buying process with continuous support and onboarding
- Post-purchase stage – focus on nurturing your clients and stay on top of their evolving needs to ensure high customer experience and satisfaction
Building and optimising B2B buyer personas
In order to optimise your CX strategy, improve the customer’s journey, and deliver personalised solutions to your customers, you need to build detailed buyer personas. This is where many decision-makers and business leaders tend to make their biggest mistake, which is not taking into account the fact that people and their habits change.
You might feel like you should skip this part if you already have detailed buyer personas, but when was the last time you revisited and optimised them according to the latest industry, consumer, and market data? That’s right, buyer personas need continuous monitoring and optimisation to remain relevant for your marketing, sales, and support efforts.
To define your ideal buyer persona means to keep pace with the evolving needs, goals, values, and aspirations of your target demographic and online audience. By monitoring the behaviour of your existing clientele and conducting surveys online while monitoring what your competitors are doing, you can gather the information you need to keep your buyer personas up to date.
Connecting on the relevant online channels
The level and quality of customer experience you provide will depend heavily on your ability to connect and engage with your potential and existing customers on relevant online channels. The first thing you need to do is identify the most relevant communication channels with a high engagement rate, lead nurturing and conversion potential.
In the B2B sector, email is one of the most effective marketing and sales tools, and it is an effective channel for improving and nurturing a great customer experience. This is because email is a direct line of communication with prospects and existing clients, and you can use it for sales, support, and marketing purposes.
When you are building an email sequence template to target prospects, you can focus the messaging on lead generation and education, while support email templates can focus on messaging that gets to the root of the issue quickly. The same goes for other communication channels, whether it’s direct messaging on social media, or even traditional phone calls.
Improving CX through stellar customer service
Customer service is one of the most important departments in any B2B company, equal to sales, marketing, and other mission-critical sectors. In fact, customer service is instrumental in building stellar customer experience over the long term by nurturing and supporting customers on their journey.
Ensuring stellar customer service on all channels is a vital part in building your brand experience as a whole, and it’s instrumental in improving customer happiness over the long term. Meeting your customers on their preferred support channels is a big part of quality customer service, but you also need to create a self-help centre on your website.
Consider introducing an AI-driven chatbot to expedite problem-solving for customers and alleviate the pressure off your support staff.
Collecting and collating key B2B data
Finally, always make sure to keep collecting relevant B2B data that you can transform into actionable and detailed reports. You should use a centralised reporting dashboard with visualisation to help you understand your key data points better and how they relate to your short, mid, and long-term CX efforts.
Along with your typical metrics like your burn rate, deal rate, CAC and CRC, you want to gather data that focuses on sentiment, demand, aspirations, but also customer success vs customer experience, as well as pain points and goals. This data will allow you to analyse your current CX strategy and take concrete steps to improve it based on detailed insights, not your gut feeling or instincts.
CX demands continuous improvement and optimisation
Stellar CX doesn’t come from an amazing product offering or great branding - it is a combination of numerous methods and tactics you use to better understand your buyers, their values, needs and aspirations.
Combining all the data and research we talked about today and putting it in the right context will allow you to make data-driven decisions and changes to your marketing, sales, and support processes. In turn, this will generate a better customer experience that will boost retention and satisfaction, open new up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and help you retain a trustworthy brand image.
About the author:
Nikola Sekulic is a seasoned brand developer, writer, and storyteller. Over the last decade, he’s worked on various marketing, branding, and copywriting projects – crafting plans and strategies, writing creative online and offline content, and making ideas happen. When he is not working for clients around the world, he is exploring new topics and developing fresh ideas to turn into engaging stories for the online community.