It is often said that content that tries to speak to everyone ends up speaking to no one. Most marketers would agree that the best way to generate demand is to appeal to buyers in a direct, relevant, and engaging way. But is this approach actually suitable to the B2B space?
B2B marketing is all about selling to a high-level decision-maker — or a group of decision-makers — who have complex priorities and obligations. Typically, a buying committee consists of six to eight buying members. The Sales Representative or Account Lead can only talk to one or two at most, while the rest of the committee buyers are looking at your website to gather more information – and make unilateral decisions. One of the most critical challenges for B2B marketers is how to capture the audiences you aren’t speaking to directly – by optimizing and taking full control of your inbound marketing.
Decoding web traffic
There are often multiple individuals involved in the B2B buying process, and each one takes a unique customer journey. They can be touched upon through email, webinar, direct mail, paid search, event and field marketing, and so on. You therefore end up with multiple touchpoints, with multiple contacts, impressed upon by multiple campaigns and in multiple channels.
It can be especially difficult to navigate when B2B sales are considered to involve cold, calculated and careful buying decisions, devoid of emotions. Therefore, the buying process has to be secure and informed, with standout customer service in the shortest time period possible. Although converting a B2B customer takes longer, this arduous process can result in a repeat client with substantial orders over a large duration. Industry figures indicate the following:
It is therefore of utmost importance to appeal to many potential buyers by providing the information businesses need from the get-go, anticipating their questions and initial reservations, and building trust — all at the speed they choose, through their medium of choice.
Welcoming the unknown – a high-level marketing solution
Effective personalization starts with leveraging what you know about your customers. This information can come through past and current interactions, or by building a customer profile through CRM tools. This helps create customer segments or personas that enable you to drive relevant interactions.
But the statistics listed above would indicate that there are customers we certainly do not know – that we have no information about, with no personas created for them. They should not be disregarded! Marketers should have two different strategies for:
Creating customer-centric experiences (for every customer)
Whether visitors are known or unknown, there are some common ground rules for making experiences more customer-centric in the B2B world:
Regardless of whether your audiences are known or unknown, increasing engagement will drive interactions and provide data that will help deliver increasingly relevant content – and attempts at personalization result in stickiness and sustained relationships. In our next article, we will discuss action items for B2B personalization for both unknown and known customers. Stay tuned!
Sumanta Basu - Solution Head, Connected Customer Experience
Sumanta helps organizations transform experiences throughout their customer journeys – across marketing, sales and service. His expertise is backed by over 20 years of IT experience in consulting and the implementation of large-scale digital transformation projects.
Namit Bhargava - Digital Transformation & Head of Digital Sales
As a digital strategist and consultant, Namit has honed his expertise on all things “connected” – leveraging IoT to enable connected workers, assets, plants, supply chain, and commerce (B2C and B2B). A true believer in execution, he leads organizations in innovation and transformation initiatives and has a knack for tackling strategic blind spots.