Attracting and retaining B2B customers is evolving.
Even pre-COVID-19, delivering high performing B2B digital experiences was at the forefront. That’s largely because at the end of the day you’re selling to individuals. These individuals are increasingly affected by their B2C experiences, which they carry into their B2B buying.
COVID-19 amplified the need for B2B digital personalization. Decision-makers across B2B verticals anticipate eCommerce transacting will account for over half their revenue in a few short years. Amazon has quickly entered the B2B space in the past year and will continue to expand.
“73% of millennials are now involved in B2B purchasing decisions.”
The fact is B2B personalization can be an offensive move to these known disruptions.
One of the clearest findings for the past several years is that personalized purchasing experiences improve the perception of your company and lead to better outcomes (buying more!). Furthermore, personalization, paired with testing and optimization, allow you to recognize and react to your customers in the market.
Moving forward, we know COVID-19 has changed the dynamic of the customer relationship. Being able to react efficiently and effectively at the moment creates a true competitive advantage.
More B2B buyers state that being able to get pricing and product information without having to speak with someone is the most important thing for them right now. Even more, Forrester reports buyers are 3x more likely to do business with a company that offers them a tailored experience, even if they are the most expensive option.
How do you respond to that? This points to the central tenant. You have to put your customer at the center of your experience. It’s more than just the customer is always right, but designing journeys for these individuals.
Take advantage of whatever insights you have in order to start crafting personalized customer journeys.
Pro-tip, you don't have to create something completely new. Generally, a lot of offline programs and processes are already in place for B2B. Retention and acquisition programs like direct mail and calls provide great intel. Take that existing information and turning it into the digital environment. Start by looking at programs that are not yet digitized.
Social channels provide a nice way to fill missing direct engagement. They give you better insight into the buyer. Also, B2B customers generally need to create an account first. Their accounts provide a great start, giving you access to information about that individual.
Next, decide how to segment this information and be mindful of the information collect. Align the data you are collecting to make it relevant to your brand needs (i.e. don’t collect the information you don’t intend to utilize!). Even with a broad segmentation you can cross-reference this information with your CRM and lead them down a relevant purchasing path. Each customer gets a simplified journey with the information they want.
Ultimately, a practice of establishing and expanding the direct relationship of knowing your customer will require technology. This technology will allow you to look and react to the information you are gathering.
As you develop more information you can keep refining the type of journey you put them on.
Becoming a more data-driven culture won’t happen overnight.
Start with obvious segments like the big boxes from mom and pop or manufacturer reps vs. distributors. The key is to test and validate, refining the segments ever more finely. 1:1 personalization is the ultimate goal, but don’t let that be a blocker to get you going. Broad segments are an excellent starting point and can get you started in a number of ways to personalize.
Your competition agrees this is a way to differentiate from you. Are you working towards the same?
The intersection of technology and people makes personalization possible. The point to understand is that this innovation is real and happening in the market. Personalization will quickly become a disruptor to your business if you ignore it now. Contact our experts at Echidna to discuss how B2B personalization can help your business grow in 2021.
Echidna is focused on eCommerce for B2B merchants. Our team provides you the ability to make it easier for your customers to do business with you and prepare for future growth. With eCommerce technology a core foundation to innovation and growth, we want to empower you to make the best use of your eCommerce platform. We have extensive global experience working with Oracle Commerce, Magento, and Kibo Commerce.