Want a heads up when a new story drops? Subscribe here.
The Expert Panel was initially published at Forbes.
Our founder and managing partner, Terry Tateossian, gives her take on the subject as well. You could read her opinion under number 12. Tailor To Long-Term Clients
Here comes the full article:
Customer experience (CX) is a hot topic in business-to-consumer marketing, but it’s been overlooked in the business-to-business community. Personalized experiences have become a core element of many B2C marketing strategies. However, in the case of B2B marketers, it’s not that large a concern.
The disconnect comes mostly from the fact that B2B marketing doesn’t deal with an individual. As a result, marketers in these situations consider the personalization of the customer experience less valid. However, thinking this way might be holding the company back.
Fifteen experts from Forbes Agency Council explore how B2B marketers can aim to provide a better customer experience for their clients, to further increase the success of their marketing strategies.
1. Listen And Be Nimble
At the end of the day, an agency’s job is to make their clients’ lives easier and deliver an amazing product. Listening to clients and understanding their pain points will help improve the customer experience. These pain points change over time with corporate politics, personal lives and a ton of other variables. Remember you’re dealing with people and it’s important to build relationships. – Marc Becker, The Tangent Agency
2. Align Goals With Those Of Your Customers
Establishing clear goals that align with problems that customers identify with is a good recipe for a great CX foundation. Listening to feedback and being transparent about the overall objectives before establishing your goals will help your customers connect with your efforts. This will lead to a better personalization strategy, and in turn, an increase in customer satisfaction and advocacy. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
3. Remember The Human Element
When it comes to business-to-business and business-to-consumer, one thing that is really being missed is the human element. This is because there needs to be a sync that is happening between the account and the account manager. All clients, no matter how big or small, need to have someone on the inside who is going to help them with the process of being able to create something beautiful and meaningful. – Jon James, Ignited Results
4. Focus On The ‘Why’
Don’t spam with product info — make sure they see content with their personal preferences fully addressed, such as, “I see you’re worried about a solution being turnkey, here’s how we accomplish that.” Bonus points if you can carry this over into personal interactions. Imagine being at a trade show and having someone already prepared to talk about your concerns instead of fishing for them. Refreshing! – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR
5. Close The Feedback Loop
Ask for feedback. It is easy in the B2B world to forget your clients and partners are customers, and so some of the usual tools are left on the table. Getting client feedback on your job at the close of a project or milestone can better your relationship with that client and improve your process going forward. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
6. Provide Depersonalized Personalization
This is a strategy that is taking over B2C, but can also be quite useful in creating a seamless CX in B2B environments. Starbucks mobile ordering is a great example of a highly personalized experience without the one-on-one interaction. Apply this tactic for something like conference registration and watch how pleased your audience is to walk freely into your event center, avoiding the long lines. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing
7. Resolve Issues Proactively
B2B companies that routinely provide the best customer experience are those who are able to pinpoint their clients’ potential problems and pain points before they arise, such as restocking a popular item prior to it selling out. Proactively identifying and rectifying issues before a customer complaint occurs helps to keep your clientele happy while giving your business a great reputation. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media
8. Create More Meaningful Experiences
Categorizing marketing efforts as B2B/B2C is an outdated way of looking at your experience strategy. For us, it’s all about B2P (business-to-people), which encompasses how everyone experiences your event. After all, B2B events need to inspire the same emotional connections and leave people walking away with the intent of spreading the story you wanted to share, even when that story is sales-based. – Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic
9. Send Automated, Handwritten Notes
Yes, some may consider it “old school,” but no one is doing it. Why not send out an automated handwritten note in the mail? There are several companies out there that do this, where you can sync it directly into your CRM, pulling from the data you have. We like sending them out to our new clients after the first month together, thanking them for being a valued partner. – Dustin DeTorres, B2B Sumo
10. Create Specific Landing Pages
For any targeted B2B campaign, you can have specific landing pages. At the very least you can have verticals or market segments you serve (e.g. healthcare, legal, hospitality, retail). But you may even be able to segment further into a specific niche, or maybe even create a specific landing page for the client itself you are targeting. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
11. Start A Podcast
Podcasts are growing in popularity and are an excellent way to increase your brand awareness among your target audience. They can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field without sounding promotional or trying too hard. – Ashar Jamil, Digitally Up
When we begin working with B2B clients, our first job is to speak with their top salespeople to better understand their relationships with their long-term clients. Loyalty seeks the value and trust of long-term relationships, so the marketing message should tailor to their target clients as best as it can. That always makes for a kind of airtight CX that customers can’t ignore. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media
13. Move Away From Funnel-Think
Moving away from simple funnel-think to understanding your customer’s decision-making journey is still a first step for many B2B companies. Your CX needs to facilitate this burgeoning relationship at every stage of the journey, especially the critical post-sale stage. We live in a self-service culture — your CX must enable customers to take charge of their own journey, but get help at every step. – Robert Finlayson, Zeno Group
14. Use Behavioral Segmentation To Increase Engagement
Use data from page views, email clicks and other engagements to build behavioral lists, then send them personalized content based on these actions. For instance, if you have a group of customers that expressed interest in a certain topic or product, you can send them more content that dives deeper into it without worrying about bothering your entire list! – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
15. Leverage Customer Journey Mapping
CX and personalization is about understanding how people connect to products. B2B businesses often undercook their customer journey maps, putting front ends up that work for themselves and not potential clients. We all get annoyed when we can’t find that exact thing we are looking for on someone else’s website fast. So change your menu and add big site buttons so they can find things easily. – Michael Simonetti, Andmine.com