B2B buyers are consumers, too—and marketers are increasingly taking the steps needed to recognize that. Today’s B2C buyers are used to experiencing the digital fluidity of platforms like Amazon.com, where they can easily and immediately find anything they are looking for. However, today’s B2B buying experience rarely delivers this kind of digital sophistication—leaving buyers frustrated as they seek convenient, personalized, and seamless experiences. Here’s a closer look at how top brands and marketers are delivering the personalized B2B marketing experiences today’s buyers demand.
Leveraging personalized brand portals. Few B2B purchases are one-off events. Often, brands are going back to the same vendors time and again to purchase products and services and replenish their supplies. By leveraging personalized brand portals, it is easy to display customized product information, individual warrantees and brand manuals, and personalize pricing. When B2B buyers can visit a Web experience that has been created directly for their own use, they are more likely to keep coming back— and renew your contract when it’s time to evaluate your services.
Shifting buying online. Many B2B brands still conduct sales largely through their sales force. While there are transactions where buyers want to be able to contact a person who is knowledgeable about their brand and relationship, many purchases are fairly routine. For example, consider an office manager who wants to purchase a number of laptops for incoming hires. If all the computers being ordered fit the same specifications the company typically uses, digital reordering saves time and hassle. As a result, marketers are increasingly investing in their digital transaction engines and ensuring that B2B buyers have the flexibility to purchase online, over the phone or in person— as their preferences and unique brand needs determine.
Build a better analytics stack. With increasingly powerful analytics tools available, marketers are investing in them to understand the specific online activities of their B2B buyers. With the right analytics tools, it is possible to determine how your B2B customers interact with your brand—from what products or services they are looking at to how they consume content. It is also possible to personalize experiences for different stakeholders within brands. For example, a purchasing manager may look at a different set of criteria than a business unit leader or company executive. Personalization must occur at the individual buyer level, within your account management strategy, in order to be maximally effective.
While B2B on the whole has a reputation for lagging behind in terms of digital sophistication, companies are quickly getting up to speed. One of the factors driving this evolution is the fact that B2B buyers are coming to expect the same level of service and experience in their work life as they experience in their personal shopping. Take stock of today’s quickly changing landscape and make the investments needed to wow your customers with personalized, seamless, online experiences.