10th March 2020
Today’s customers are more discerning than ever before and providing excellent products or services at a competitive price is no longer enough to guarantee business success. B2B clients’ expectations have been redefined by B2C experiences that provide easy access to personalised content and seamless transactions with customer experience usurping brand loyalty as the top contributor to client retention. Now, businesses that have always focussed on promoting internal capabilities have no option but to convert to a client centric approach if they hope to maintain their place in the market.
What does being client centric actually mean for B2B businesses?
Client centricity is about putting yourself in your client’s shoes and anticipating their needs. It means mapping your services and capabilities to reflect their decision-making process and providing the right information at the right touch points and channels at point of need. The premise is that, if you understand your clients’ needs and wants, then you should be able to serve them better and, if you get it right, you’ll see an increase in satisfaction and life-time value – which means more money for your business.
How digital technology can help your B2B business become more client centric.
A client centric strategy has implications across your entire business from your culture to your processes and even the services you provide. Digital technology plays a key part in almost every aspect of this approach, but it’s especially important in augmenting traditionally face-to-face sales processes by providing relationship teams with the information that they need to close more deals. Here’s how:
1. Creating a single, coherent view of the prospecting journey
It’s simply not possible to implement a client centric strategy without gathering information about how they are interacting with you Digital tools like Google Analytics and your CRM platform can help you source data about specific channel activity, and preferences, but this information is often scattered across the organisation and needs to be consolidated to understand the journey from being an anonymous user, to a marketing and sales qualified lead and beyond. Only then can you start to create personalised customer content and experiences for different audience segments.
2. Creating engaging, easily discoverable content
Most B2B websites tend to be designed to provide information about the company or products they represent – typically under headings like “who we are,” “what we do” and “about us”. But this approach doesn’t always match up with how a prospect would look for a partner. Organising content by the challenges your target audience faces improves their perception of your business and makes it easier to find solutions that may be beneficial. B2B organisations can also attract valuable prospects to their website, and increase their brand affinity, by sharing blogs, thought leadership and opinion pieces on topics that decision-makers and influencers are interested in. However, first you need to identify what these topics are. That’s where keyword and social buzz analysis tools can help – by providing information about trending topics and competitive benchmarking that you can combine with your customer data to inform your content strategy.
3. Identifying the most valuable sales prospects
Once you’ve produced content that you’re confident your clients and prospects will love, you need to ensure it’s found by the right people at the right time. As well as making your content discoverable by posting it on your website and social channels and ensuring that it ranks well for SEO, B2B businesses should use marketing automation tools to serve up specific content based on customer data and behaviour. Information about how clients interact with this content can be fed back into your client record – with scores applied to different types of interactions so that your sales team can easily differentiate between casual visitors and hot leads based on type and level of engagement.
One of the biggest misconceptions about client centric strategies in a B2B business is that they’re designed to replace face-to-face interaction with clients, when their purpose is actually to enhance these meetings. Providing potential customers with a personalised experience and the ability to self-serve as a value-add choice, and arming sales teams with rich data about prospects is advantageous to both parties. Armed with the information they need about each other in advance, both prospect and salesperson can spend less time repeating administration or qualification tasks and more time finding out how best to work together.