Why The B2B Customer Experience Matters More Than Ever
The B2B customer experience is nothing more complex than the experience B2B buyers and decision-makers have when they interact with sellers of goods and services – similar to the B2C customer experience. What’s eye-opening is that 80% of B2B buyers now want a similar experience to that of a B2C customer. But what is the B2C customer experience, exactly? It’s personalized, speedy, mainly autonomous, and with minimal contact with the brand.
What might be the outcome of investing in the B2B customer experience? A willingness to pay more and spend more, according to 86% of buyers. Let’s explore why the B2B customer experience matters now more than ever and how to meet buyer needs.
What Buyers Expect From B2B Brands
There are three key focus points that B2B buyers have become vocal about. High-quality data-driven information, a B2C shopping experience, and virtual or self-serve purchasing options. Let’s break that down.
High-Quality Data-Driven Information
High-quality, data-driven information facilitates a smooth sales cycle, which is something that has not always been promised for the B2B industry and plagues many buyers. Access to high-quality information is essential, considering 67% of the buyer’s journey is now digital, and buyers are typically 57% of the way towards a decision before contacting a seller.
Brands can meet the demand for data-driven information by creating excellent and informative content – something 46% of B2B brands is working to improve. Regular blog posts, LinkedIn posts, or even email newsletters are desirable ways of getting good content out online.
The B2C Shopping Experience
Numerous articles and statistics highlight the need to focus on the customer shopping experience – something that has perhaps been building up for some time, considering the average buying cycle is 12 weeks and full of complexities. What’s the B2C sales cycle? Minutes. Whilst the B2B sales cycle will never be as rapid, it can be full of automation and personalization. That might be autonomous sales, a personalized customer loyalty program to encourage loyalty and future sales, and personalized adverts to guide buyers towards the right products for them. They’re all examples of prominent features of the B2C sales cycle.
Virtual Or Self-Serve Purchasing Options
It was McKinsey & Company that really drew attention to the growing desire to have self-serve options. Their research found that 71% of buyers now want a self-service option, with only 29% preferring the more traditional in-person sales channels. That might be why 65% of B2B brands now offer an eCommerce sales channel, and other platforms like Amazon Business are thriving. A B2B eCommerce website is almost becoming a must to facilitate the self-serve needs of buyers.
The virtual side of B2B is also growing, with 39% of buyers wanting to contact and meet with sellers virtually. That is perhaps the easiest request to facilitate, with virtual meetings naturally suiting both buyer and seller who can communicate from anywhere, anytime, rather than somewhat restricted in-person meetings. Zoom is a simple platform to utilize for virtual meetings.
Why does the B2B customer experience matter more than ever? Because it’s changing. The highest profiting brands are finding new ways to adapt to the changing buyer needs, needs that are causing more businesses to be more digital and virtual than ever before. Following trends and facilitating customer needs will increase the likelihood of recurrent spending, loyalty, and referrals.