4 essential tips to bring B2B brands digital success
Business-to-consumer (B2C) shopping experiences have set a standard for customer experiences online, and left many business-to-business (B2B) brands to play catch-up. A large number of B2B companies are either new to selling online or still deciding how to proceed, as customer expectations continue to rise.
These digitization trends are having a massive impact on sales and marketing roles in the B2B world. As customer behaviors continue to change and expectations for digital experiences shift, B2B brands must adapt their sales and marketing operations to a new market environment: they have to embrace digital.
Digital can be a catalyst for new avenues of growth
Sales and marketing teams can use digital to draw new customers in and retain current ones better. Paired with an engaging and user-friendly website, digital marketing tactics like search engine marketing can bring more website traffic in and help you reach your target audience more effectively. The key is to, first and foremost, make sure you’re present where potential customers are searching for services.
There is also an enormous amount of untapped opportunities for growth in the data you capture from your existing customers. You can create value from this data to improve your product and service offerings to attract new customers, or to grow your business on existing accounts.
Without a robust online sales and marketing strategy and digital marketing plan for success, you are likely to be left in the dust. Here are our four best tips for creating a strong digital B2B channel:
1. Don’t panic: digitization doesn't happen overnight
First things first, it's important to plan ahead. Understand your customer needs and business requirements before starting the implementation process. Then take the time to share your digitization plan within your sales and marketing departments, and get everyone on board.
Often, this is when the real work starts; you will need to remind people to use the digital tools that you have and give them the proper training to do so. Afterwards, you can embed the new tools into your processes. And don’t forget to keep your stakeholders and employees in the loop about these changes - they’ll need time to adapt as well.
2. Make sure your website provides everything a customer is looking for
Your website is the beating heart of your customer experience (CX), and one of the most important customer touch points. Having an engaging website with rich content will increase your conversion rates.
Customers want to see detailed product information, your company history, where you do business, and reviews or testimonials that endorse your company. They expect the content they're researching to be available on-demand, optimized for any device, interactive, and highly visual.
Always remember that their search for your product or service does not start on your website (unless you’re Google.) You use performance marketing services like Google ads and search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your online findability.
3. Post-purchase services and support are essential to ensuring customer loyalty
A lot of companies are so focused on generating sales that they neglect their post-purchase strategy. But post-purchase experiences are what secures customer loyalty. Customers want to feel that they are important especially after they have handed over their money.
Digital portals are one example of a tool that can both facilitate purchases and help you efficiently meet your customers’ needs. They can make re-ordering easier, help customers track their orders, and keep them up to date. These small things can drastically improve your overall CX.
That's what happened with Orange Business Services’ portal. We developed a collaborative digital tool called “Touchpoint”, an upgraded version of a customized bid app we developed years ago. Touchpoint is a B2B portal that enables Orange Business Services to create an innovative initial touch point for new prospects when answering their RFP's.
Touchpoint gives new clients a URL, login credentials, and sets them up with a practical and personalized customer journey when logged-in. The portal gives all accounts access to real-time information and is extremely functional and easily customizable with pre-designed templates. The portal resulted in increased client and team satisfaction, and has now been implemented as a global initiative throughout the entire company.
4. Remember, there is no “one size fits all” approach to digitization
Always take the time to figure out what works best for you. Sometimes, it’s better to start small, with well-chosen initiatives that have clear targets and are focused on customer needs. You can always branch out later, after you’ve already convinced your internal stakeholders, and they start to see the results.
Make your digitization a success
The biggest hurdle in any transformation is embedding change within your sales and marketing teams. That’s why digitizations often fail: because an organization is simply not ready to adjust. Long-term thinking will be incredibly valuable as you embark on this journey, so don’t rush - you should take your time to think out your strategy.
Start by defining what a digital sales and marketing transformation means for you. Sometimes when you have an idea of digitization in your head, you can make it more complicated than it really is. Once you have an end goal in mind, you can determine where to start, what to prioritize, and create a plan tailored to your needs.
Digital marketing and sales strategies hold the key to B2B brand’s growth. They are too critical to leave to chance or wishful thinking. And while B2B players have recognized the changing tides, they still have some catching up to do with their digitization.
If you want to stay relevant and grow, you must embrace digital as a part of your core process. So take your time, make a plan, provide your customers with necessary information, and stick with them even after they’ve made a purchase. It’s time to get to work!