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:
- 85% of site traffic is not from target accounts
- 80% of web visitors do not engage on web site
- 97% of visitors do not turn into sales opportunity
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:
- Unknown Visitors (approximately 90% of site visitors)
- Known Visitors (approximately 10% of site visitors)
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:
- Create and provide insightful, relevant information about the products through specification sheets, demo videos, eBooks, whitepapers etc.
- Provide repeat functionality, as most B2B customers arrive at the website knowing what they want, and usually, it is the same items that they ordered last time. This feature streamlines and fast-forwards the repeat purchases.
- Enable support for corporate accounts, with multiple-user role functionality, as B2B buying sees a team of decision-makers involved in the buying process.
- Build an efficient checkout process, where the shopping carts can be easily viewed and shared amongst teams, as well as reviewed by another customer role in the system.
- B2B customers expect a website to have a landing page with a call-to-action, loyalty offers and promotions, and a SEO engine with different navigation details.
- B2B e-commerce sites should offer product recommendations based on buying and search history to drive further sales, for cross-selling or upselling opportunities, with a consistent experience across multiple devices.
- Deliver personalized marketing content with information gathered from customers such as their click activities, personal interests, geographic location, buying and browsing history. This enables you to recapture their attention with specific incentives.
- Offer loyalty points to personalize the experience and reward frequent shopping. While not traditionally seen as applicable to B2B selling, this report by Forrester demonstrates its importance for B2B marketers.
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!