Over the past few years, traditional B2B marketing and sales processes have become less linear. Instead of the marketing team solely being responsible for quantifying readiness and fit, they have a greater role to play throughout the entire customer lifecycle. More and more, customers want dynamic, personalized experiences when interacting with brands, and this is having a profound impact on traditional B2B marketing and sales interactions.
Now, only 17% of B2B buyers’ time is spent meeting 1-on-1 with potential suppliers, while another 45% is consumed researching solutions independently, both online and offline. With so much information at consumers' fingertips, more people want to self-serve instead of dealing with potentially biased salespeople. As marketers, we must adapt and meet our customers where they're at. It’s becoming more critical to focus on polishing your customer experience and ensure your interactions throughout the sales cycle not only exceed their needs, but also lead them towards your desired outcomes.
Businesses who are able to transform their customer experience and campaigns in a way that encourages exploration and provides hyper-personalized offers will be better equipped to establish and strengthen stronger B2B relationships. In this article, we’ll discuss how B2B customer experiences are moving towards being “technology-led," and how your team can cultivate its own technology-led experiences that wow your audience.
What Are “Technology-Led” Experiences?
Behind every B2B deal are people just like you and me who are heavily influenced by their experiences as consumers. Just like in the B2C space, we’re seeing more companies vie for our time. They are encouraging us to buy into their ecosystem by providing intuitive, hyper-personalized customer experiences.
The streaming industry is an incredible example of this. Streaming services, such as Disney+ and Netflix, are constantly analyzing our data and behavior on their platforms to ensure that our eyes stay glued to their platform. Data such as:
- The specific content and genres you engage in
- The completion level for each of the series or films you watch
- Whether you fast-forward throughout certain parts of shows
- Your region’s top trends and most-watched content
- How much time you are spending on their platforms
These services then provide content recommendations across email, mobile notifications, and within their own platform to craft unique experiences for each user, encouraging them to find their next-favorite show or film. And due to how unique your behavior is compared to another user, no one’s experience will be exactly the same.
Social media platforms are very similar in this regard. They are actively monitoring how long you stay on certain posts and what topics you are most interested in to provide hyper-personalized content recommendations and advertisements. Consumers having these dynamic, personalized experiences at their fingertips has had two profound effects on marketing and sales:
1. Customers, now more than ever, have no patience for brands who don’t make them feel seen, heard, or valued. According to Salesforce’s 2022 State of the Marketing report, 73% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. And if you don’t, they will find someone who does, as 66% of them said that they’ve stopped buying from a company whose values didn’t align with theirs.
2. Authenticity is growing more critical throughout digital experiences. You can’t just rely on an in-person sales experience to speak to the customized products and services. Consumers want frictionless, personalized experiences when seeking solutions to their toughest challenges, and businesses who are able to expand beyond basic, catch-all messaging, will have a significant advantage in holding consumers’ attention.
Great experiences are crafted when moving from being technology-enabled to technology-led. As we discussed in the streaming services example, we’re beginning to see technology intelligently orchestrating our experiences in real- time, leveraging data and artificial intelligence (AI) to inform and automate across interoperable applications. These technology-led experiences require orchestrating technologies together that establish complex customer profiles and provide custom recommendations based on the context of the individual user. And those who don’t keep up may miss being able to wow B2B customers before their competitors.
How to Cultivate a “Wow” Factor in Your B2B Marketing and Sales Experience
When analyzing the businesses who are providing technology-led experiences, there are three aspects about their sales and marketing experiences that sets them apart from their competitors:
1. They’ve established comprehensive customer profiles that enable them to create hyper-personalized campaigns
2. They are making their audience feel valued through these personalized experiences
3. Their experience is frictionless and responsive, empowering them to solve their customers’ challenges before they even become a problem
In this next section, we’ll discuss how you can accomplish these feats to wow your own audience.
Establish Comprehensive Customer Profiles
To truly wow your audience, it’s critical to understand your customers’ behaviors, so you can communicate with them in a way that meets their needs and preferences while also encouraging them to accomplish your desired actions. Unfortunately, many teams have a great wealth of customer data that can help them develop stronger customer profiles, but they are stored in disparate sources, making it incredibly unlikely to be actionable.
Crafting more comprehensive customer profiles begins with establishing a data-driven approach to marketing, which is something we heavily discuss in our article, “What Does a Marketer’s Digital Transformation Looks Like.”
Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), such as Salesforce Data Cloud, can enable you to aggregate and harmonize your data across your disparate sources into a business-friendly interface. This empowers you to establish more comprehensive customer profiles that can be activated upon across various Salesforce products, and further personalize the customer experience.
Make Your Customers Feel Valued with Personalized Experiences
Designing more dynamic, personalized experiences involves intelligently orchestrating your strategy, technology, and marketing and customer data together throughout your operations. This empowers your team to curate experiences based on the context of any individual user who interacts with your brands.
To make your audience feel more valued with personalized experiences, there’s a few places you can start:
- Create nurturing campaigns for your major customer segments. Based on your prospects’ and customers' needs, behaviors, demographics, and any contextual information based on previous interactions, craft custom journeys that sends relevant resources based on where they are at in the sales pipeline.
- Deliver dynamic content or product recommendations on your website based on previous engagement and purchasing history. MarTech platforms often have capabilities, such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization, to link engagement data to returning visitor sessions. This enables you to implement triggers, based on previous interactions, that change content displayed on your website in real-time. That way, you can provide a unique experience whenever returning leads or customers interact with your brand.
- Experiment with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. AI and ML are rapidly introducing new use cases for marketers to further evolve their marketing experience. For example, Salesforce Einstein enables marketers to use AI and ML to score customers’ likelihood to engage with emails or convert on your website as well as A/B test personalized messaging in real-time with AI-powered performance reports and recommendations. And with generative AI being able to produce distinct images and competently written works, it’s becoming easier than ever to produce custom content for all segments.
Improve the Responsiveness and Speed of Your Customer Experience
Time is precious. People want answers quickly and will usually take the path of least resistance when it comes to purchasing their next solution. You want to ensure that your customer experience makes reaching out to your sales team as frictionless and as easy as possible. There’s a couple of strategies you could employ to do this effectively:
- Make your call-to-action clear, concise, and visual. Reaching out for further clarification or to learn more about your services shouldn’t be difficult. Ensure you have multiple places your audience can connect with you across web, social, and email.
- Embrace automated notifications and distributed marketing templates. When crafting new journeys, it’s critical to continue to A/B test what messaging resonates best with your audience. But it’s equally important to analyze when your sales team should reach out. At Lev, we’ve helped many teams implement distributed marketing tools, craft customized email templates, and analyze when it’s the most opportune for the sales team to send messages to leads. And through implementing tools, such as Salesforce Einstein, you can score customers based on their engagement with your brands to help further prioritize leads and improve sales enablement.
By making your marketing and sales experience as frictionless as possible, you break down the barrier of entry for interaction and increase conversion throughout the marketing and sales cycle.
Win In Your Industry with a Trusted Marketing Strategy and Operations Partner
Companies who can pivot from a disconnected MarTech stack to one that is intelligently orchestrates data and technology together in a way that delivers the right experience and the right message at the right time without compromise will be the ones who will win in their industry.
Discover how Lev can help you transform your customer experience from being technology-enabled to technology-led by reading our article, “Determining the Next Steps of Your Digital Transformation Journey.” You’ll gain further tactical insight on how you can remove technical and process-related roadblocks that are preventing you from accomplishing your objectives.