30-second summary:

  • You can’t deliver a solid CX that generates conversions without a thorough understanding of your audience. You need to know who they are and how to find and connect with them. B2B decision-makers are consumers, too.
  • Rather than reinventing the wheel, enterprises should find partners with knowledge and experience, and, when possible, leverage existing solutions that can help them execute memorable moments.
  • In addition to choosing the right platforms, also devise a plan for implementation and ongoing training to ensure your entire company is benefiting from your investment.
  • A CX team will establish the framework, determine what needs to happen internally to get the desired external results, set best practices and measure results. They also need to ensure communication throughout the organization so CX doesn’t become siloed, and oversee upskilling, as needed.
  • To get CX right, companies should start from the top-down, rather than focusing on a specific message, product or digital experience.

It takes more than a quality product or service, clever marketing or exceptional customer support to acquire and retain customers in today’s competitive market. B2B organizations need to craft memorable experiences across the entire customer journey. They need to prioritize their customers above all else and deliver value at every juncture. Enterprises that do this will earn the trust of discerning buyers, forging and strengthening customer relationships. Building trust has a measurable impact on the bottom line. Research shows businesses that invest in experiences grow revenue 1.4 times faster and increase customer lifetime value 1.6 times more than companies that don’t, according to Forrester. So, it is no surprise that B2B brands are focusing on customer experience (CX).

Knowing CX matters is one thing; getting it right is another. Many enterprises are still failing to execute a successful CX strategy. Here are five things B2B organizations are getting wrong when it comes to CX, and how to fix them.

1) Don’t skip the part where you get to know your audience

You can’t deliver a solid CX that generates conversions without a thorough understanding of your audience. You need to know who they are and how to find and connect with them. B2B decision-makers are consumers, too.

Their expectations have changed (like the rest of us) thanks to wildly successful user-focused companies like Amazon, Apple and Google raising the CX bar. So, B2B companies have to prioritize meeting these exceedingly high expectations.

With this in mind, you can build a CX framework to document optimal ways to engage with prospects and share it in a way that scales across your organization. You can also create a digital marketing plan that reflects nuanced audience and market knowledge, as well as marketing best practices to generate leads.

2) Custom isn’t always better

B2B selling cycles require multiple touchpoints across numerous stakeholders. Those processes are only getting more complicated.

In a survey by Demand Gen Report, 58% of respondents said the length of their purchase cycle has increased compared to a year earlier; 52% said their process involved significantly more stakeholders; 78% said buyers were spending more time researching purchases.

In my experience, those figures have only increased as buyers have gained access to more digital resources than ever before, and many B2B markets grow increasingly competitive and fragmented.

Since buying cycles are complicated, CX is complicated, too. Yes, you have to do the upfront research to understand your audience. But rather than reinventing the wheel, enterprises should find partners with knowledge and experience, and, when possible, leverage existing solutions that can help them execute memorable moments.

Not everyone is trying to do something that has never been done before. Following CX best practices is like following a map. Why spend the time and energy figuring out how to get somewhere if you could take a proven path? When you work with experienced partners, the onboarding process is typically shorter, speed to market increases, and quality improves because they have that “map” in hand.

3) Don’t overlook technology… or implementation

According to Salesforce, 75% of customers expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences. That means immersive event experiences, interactive site content, hands-on digital assets for sales enablement, and everything in between.

But too often, enterprises make the decision to use new technology at the corporate office and fail to adequately train employees on using the tools to advance their CX goals.

So, in addition to choosing the right platforms, also devise a plan for implementation and ongoing training to ensure your entire company is benefiting from your investment.

4) Don’t forget to assign stakeholders

CX is an overarching theme that touches every aspect of your business. But you still need to assemble a CX team—stakeholders who are responsible for CX strategy, implementation and evangelizing the concept internally.

A CX team will establish the framework, determine what needs to happen internally to get the desired external results, set best practices and measure results. They also need to ensure communication throughout the organization so CX doesn’t become siloed, and oversee upskilling, as needed.

For example, the CX team could realize that R&D needs a better understanding of your audience, or that Customer Service needs to be trained on product functionality or soft skills.

5) CX is a culture challenge

Often a client engages you for a specific CX task, such as improving their website. But CX is a broad-scale challenge which requires a cultural focus on putting customers first. So, in addition to taking on that specific CX task, we often end up helping the client evoke cultural change.

To get CX right, companies should start from the top-down, rather than focusing on a specific message, product or digital experience. They should also teach every employee, regardless of their division, to adapt a CX lens, and to think of customer-focus as a cultural pillar.

Declaring your enterprise cares about CX is an important first step, but without a strategy, framework, communication and consistent execution, you are not going to make meaningful changes for your business. It is time for B2B companies to take CX as seriously as consumer-facing brands do and get it right.

Greg Harbinson is the Group Strategy Director at Centerline Digital. Greg has always been an analyst. After starting his career as a copywriter, he quickly noticed a desire to define and refine the framework governing the words on paper. When presented with a problem, he relies on a formula of targeted observation and analysis to guide him towards the goal of providing valuable insights and recommendations. At Centerline, Greg focuses his time on helping companies create messaging and experiences to better communicate with their customers. His work included building messaging frameworks, defining the information architecture for websites, designing customer experience programs, and helping companies understand the best ways to solve communication problems.

The post Five tenets for getting B2B CX right appeared first on ClickZ.



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