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Are you creating genuine interaction with your customers, B2B marketer?

B2B marketing frequently gets compared to B2C marketing. Some argue that the differences are not that huge in the end, as there are always real people behind the decision-making processes. However, I would say that this generalization is highly dependent on the industry, business type, and the nature and level of communication the company can carry out with their customers. In a B2B context where sales cycles are long, products or services are mainly a one-off purchase or at least infrequently bought; there are numerous possibilities to enhance customer experience and boost sales that some B2C companies can only dream of.

The advantages of owning your sales channels or sales data

Probably the most intriguing advantage of B2B companies owning their sales channels and sales data is their ability to create genuine interaction with customers. This interaction optimally takes place both before and after the purchase. What if you could predict the timing of your customer’s next purchase or the typical additional services that other customers with similar buying patterns and needs invest in? Or, imagine how beneficial it could be to spot the exact phase of your customer’s buying process and tailor communication based on what the customer still doesn’t know instead of spamming about this and that?

Another type of B2B company that possesses the advantage of creating an interactive dialogue with their customers is the one that has a genuine reason to get potential customers on their website. Once there is an organic need (or perhaps just a creative content initiative?) for your potential customers to end up learning more about you, the best practices you offer to your industry, or just a bunch of helpful guidance that anybody can benefit from, there is an excellent chance that you will get them to provide their email addresses in return.

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How should you proceed to enable the benefits?

If you can combine your sales data, CRM data, and website data, you are pretty well off in having the ability to create interaction with your customers. Sometimes this advantage is, however, downplayed due to the absence or lazy utilization of CRM, an unwillingness to invest in getting the customer data together (yes, the ride is not always smooth), or lack of adequate technology that can automate the interaction based on customer triggers.

There are seldom shortcuts on a data adventure, but you might as well start now instead of struggling with a manually collected analysis that takes a lot of time to put together. Once your data is stored in something called data storage or a customer database, you should invest in somebody or something to draw conclusions from it and offer input to your team that eagerly waits for insight to create spot-on interaction.

What should you do next if you are already on the right track?

Suppose you are lucky enough and identify that this type of systematically planned and executed transformation agenda has been on your company’s roadmap for some years already. In that case, you might wonder what comes next? My recommendation is to glance over the interaction you create for your customers throughout their entire life cycle and various sales processes. What if you leave all the one-off campaigns, newsletters, and advertising out? What is left? How often do you communicate with your customers in a way that provides them valuable information and enhances their experience? Does your customer response determine what will be sent afterward? Are your communication initiatives truly client-benefiting actions that reveal where your customer is in their decision-making process? Are you equally efficient in finding new leads, converting them into buyers, guiding them on what they can expect from you as your new customers, asking them if there is anything you can help them with, or combating customer churn?

You should align your sales and marketing despite the business type , B2B and B2C marketer

It is worth mentioning that B2B companies are not the only ones benefiting from personalized customer communication. There are several B2C companies out there with similar tremendous possibilities to nurture their customers through an interactive dialogue. These companies should be equally eager to align their sales with their marketing and start building a friendship that will last a lifetime. After all, it is the way how all the needed changes are planned, managed, and carried out that will ensure the success of more customer-driven marketing. In which ways is your company investing in a better customer experience? Can you spot the concrete actions?

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Emma Lehtovaara
June 3, 2021