The digital transformation poised the need for a complete campaign overhaul for business-to-business (B2B) marketers.
Digital tools and trends drastically changed the way B2B companies sold to their customers. Digitization introduced new customer touchpoints, the need for mobile strategies, and more customer-centric organization structures. Buyer behaviors shifted, as did the way B2Bs had to market.
Now, B2B marketers are gearing up for another significant revolution – possibly the greatest yet. Here’s what you need to know about the latest B2B sales changes.
Video Calls Are on the Rise
Video calls are quickly replacing face-to-face meetings in the B2B community. With advanced video conferencing equipment and software on the rise, video calls are becoming more lifelike.
Callers can now see each other’s faces in high definition with no video feed interruptions. They can see body movements and hand gestures, closing the gap between real life interactions and technical ones. With evolving technologies, video calls are also becoming more affordable for B2B companies and small businesses.
Consumer services such as Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, and Google’s Hangouts are making it easier than ever to jump onboard with video calls.
Virtual meeting rooms based in the cloud grant access to video calls to people around the world in real time, while unified communications applications make video conferencing possible across devices. Now brands can enjoy the benefits of video calls with minimal infrastructure investment.
Video calls eliminate travel costs for a B2B, saving thousands of dollars for many companies. It can also enhance employee interviews and training, cutting costs and the need to fly out potential candidates. Improved communication between remote and in-house team members can shorten project times and optimize productivity.
Finally, video calls can facilitate more efficient meetings, fostering stronger relationships with business contacts through non-verbal communication rather than just phone calls. Implement more video calls into your business plan this year, and see how it can improve your B2B.
Customer Experience Makes a Big Difference
As a B2B, your customers are savvy businesses who want to know how your product or service will help their bottom lines. In the current B2B sales revolution, customer experience takes the cake for the most important consideration by your marketing team. It is no longer enough to offer an outstanding product or service – you must optimize your UX.
At every touchpoint with customers, your brand must pull through with superb UX. This includes your website, mobile app, brick-and-mortar store, phone calls, and face-to-face communication. Cover all your bases to impress today’s business people.
Customer retention is crucial to the long-term success of your B2B. Boost brand loyalty and spread your word-of-mouth advertising by prioritizing customer experience. Marketers today must shift their focus from price to value in terms of what they offer customers.
B2Bs will benefit from a value-led approach that hinges on retaining customers – a mounting challenge for the B2B workplace. It is not enough to be the cheapest in your market. You must provide the best value.
To make customer experience a core objective at your company, focus on what makes your brand unique. This is the reason customers select you instead of your competition. Make this aspect a mainstay of your business strategy.
Show customers you recognize why they chose your company, and that you care about their experience with your B2B. Look at what your brand stands for, and push this mission at every possible opportunity. Optimize your website, outreach, and customer service with your mission in mind. Your customers will notice and thank you for concentrating on what makes you unique.
Productized Services will Take Over
Alex Berman, founder and CEO of Experiment 27, makes a prediction that in the next 20 years, B2B companies will migrate toward productized services. He uses the success of Amazon as an example. Amazon lets its B2B and B2C customers search for products they need, discover information, and make a purchase entirely online, without the need to talk to anyone.
This model is more convenient for today’s consumers, who are more Internet savvy and willing to get what they want without speaking to a representative.
Customers want to visit a website, quickly see what you offer, and sign up on the spot without saying a word. Get ahead of this by learning how to package your B2B services as productized services. This is possible by changing the way you manage your sales.
For example, say a business currently can’t see your prices or purchase a package for content writing without contacting your company. Consider instead a platform that offers content packages for set prices, available for immediate purchase. This makes the buying process simpler for your customers and can reduce click-aways.
Artificial Intelligence is Driving Advanced Analytics
The year of artificial intelligence, or AI, appears to be 2017. With several predictions regarding AI’s influences on business last year, it’s impossible to ignore this up-and-coming technology. Tech-forward businesses are already implementing AI to optimize marketing.
AI computing has the potential to create original content, dive deeper into data analytics, and give marketers the real-time information necessary to make an impact on campaign efforts.
AI and the Insights Revolution is showing B2B companies what marketing of tomorrow looks like.
Deep learning is arguably the most important benefit marketers can glean from AI. AI is a type of machine learning that uses highly advanced algorithms to understand user behaviors. In fact, the algorithms have become so advanced as to compare to the neural networks of the human brain.
Deep learning “teaches” computers to not just translate user queries, but to understand them. The computer can then use this knowledge to deliver more relevant solutions to the users’ needs. This is what marketers are calling the “Insights Revolution.”
Using AI for data analytics can enable B2Bs to gather and use more consumer information than ever before. In turn, this can allow brands to create a more personal experience for the target audience. B2Bs can content and services that are laser-focused on what they know customers want, based on gathered data.
AI takes what used to only be possible with the human brain and automates it, putting it in the hands of the masses. Deep learning is now easily possible on an enormous scale.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Gone are the days when a B2B could invite a potential client to the office, offer him or her free coffee and doughnuts, and close a sale based on looking good. Today’s businesses are much too savvy and competitive to fall for schmooze tactics.
Your B2B must instead deal in truth, transparency, and professional honesty. You need to be real with your clients, providing data-driven reasons why your company is the right choice.
The strategy of up selling is also over. Successful marketers will rely on data rather than sales intuition, using past successes instead of empty promises to motivate buyer decisions. B2Bs that are engaging customers in candid dialogue are already becoming more successful than their deceptive counterparts.
B2B sales of the future will be all about listening to the customer and offering helpful products and services. Customers value honesty. Give them what they want and they will reward you with their brand loyalty.
Stay on Top of Evolving Trends
It is more important for B2B marketers to stay on top of evolving sales, marketing, and business tech trends than ever before. Another sales revolution is on the horizon, and those who feel they’ve only just caught up with the digital transformation are in for a difficult year.
The only way to ensure your B2B will come out ahead of competitors is to constantly measure your business’s key performance indicators and make changes accordingly. Data analytics are driving the next revolution and can help you stay in control of your marketing success if you make self-reflection a priority.
In the future, take advantage of emerging technologies, optimize the customer experience, and engage in honest business practices to stay on top. These three mainstays will serve you well during the upcoming B2B sales revolution. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.