In the Business to Consumer (B2C) world, there is significant focus on customer experience, however it is just as important in the Business to Business (B2B) world. With B2B customers becoming more digitally astute, organisations need to start concentrating on digital transformation in order to ensure that consumers have high quality experiences.
In order to do this, these businesses will need to move from product-focused to customer-focused. There is no doubt that digital technology has changed consumer habits. The introduction of mobile, social media, apps etc. allows consumers to get products/services whenever they need them. As a result of these technologies there has been a shift in consumer expectations which has resulted in a new type of ‘modern buyer’.
When going about establishing a transformational customer experience journey, B2B organisations need to try and think from the point of view of their customers in order to figure out if they are getting complete solutions that meets their requirements or if the companies offerings are no longer relevant. In a digital transformation, it is imperative that the customer experience is customised and in real-time. This will involve changing as required and using the right customer persona. Modern consumers expect their B2C experiences to be customised, their B2B interactions should be no different. They want the same convenience when researching, comparing and buying products in the B2B world as they get when making consumer purchases at home. A survey carried out with 300 global B2B organisations by ITProPortal, found that 75% of respondents stated that their customers demand to buy online, with nearly 75% of those stating ‘ease of purchasing’ as the reason for this. Furthermore 87% of respondents said that B2B E-commerce solutions that replicate the B2C customer experience is the way to meet B2B buyer needs today.
These new approaches to the B2B customer experience in theory are simple, however putting them into practice can be extremely difficult. First executives need to identify the reason for the transformation, this could be for example to establish market share or to drive revenue. Knowing the reason behind the transformation can aid in driving strategy. Once the company understands the need for change, they should start looking at what their current customers want. For most companies, digital transformation is more than just updating a couple of processes, it is a total overhaul of they way they deal with service and customer experience. If you make a small change, the results you get will be small. If a business wants to make a significant change, executives need to look at things objectively in order to see if customers are being reached and goals achieved. Both the underlying technology structure and the data strategy have a significant impact on the customer experience.
It is also important to note the significance of content marketing. B2B marketers need to use content marketing to both engage and educate potential buyers. A number of reports have found that up to at least two thirds of the customers journey up to the moment they purchase happens online, this all happens before there is any sort of interaction with the sales team. This lack of interaction with the sales team can be a problem for businesses as buyers are relying on digital resources such as reviews, blogs and social media for their research. This is why companies themselves need to regularly publish useful and engaging content. For the first half of their journey, buyers don’t actually want to talk to a member of the sales team, they prefer to read and watch videos and use social media to ask their peers questions. This means B2B companies need to be up to speed with all things digital and reach customers where they are.
In the digital world of today, B2B organisations have no choice but to undertake a digital transformation. Embracing digital will help these businesses to remain both relevant and competitive. By placing an emphasis on ecommerce solutions as well as content marketing, data and team structures your organisation can keep up with customer expectation. For more information on how we can help you with your digital transformation email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.rfc.ie
Morgan, B. (2019) Digital Transformation For B2B Customer Experiences [online] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/01/13/digital-transformation-for-b2b-customer-experiences/#7fbc57f32944
WBR Insights (2019) Transforming Digitally to Meet the Needs of Today’s B2B Customer [online] https://b2bmarketingeast.wbresearch.com/transforming-digital-strategy-to-meet-the-needs-of-b2b-customer-ty-u
Schipperus, M. (2018) Why should e-commerce sit at the heart of a business’ digital transformation? [online] https://www.itproportal.com/features/why-should-e-commerce-sit-at-the-heart-of-a-business-digital-transformation/