Data & Customer Experience Shifts Required for B2B Success


In recent years, most B2B organizations have invested more into consulting and technology, to the tune of $82 billion spent on operations consulting. Additionally,  26% of marketing budgets are spent on tech. But, 54% are still unsure of their MarTech ROI. In other words, more investment and more tech equals more problems. While many enterprise companies know how to market and understand the elements that make a successful growth strategy, they’re less adept at uncovering and addressing the invisible problems that continually threaten performance. 

What these organizations are finding is that achieving growth in a sustainable way requires more than simply making investments on the front end. It requires tackling invisible problems head-on and making actual paradigm shifts, like the two here. 

Shift #1 – From Process Design to Customer Experience Design 

Formerly, marketers would start by asking themselves the question: “How can we design this process based on our goals?” 

They were focusing on the process and themselves, which is really rather backward if you think about it. Instead, the new mindset that marketers must embrace demands we ask a completely different, better question: “How can we design the experience based on our customers’ goals?” This flips the focus to the customer, and keeps our own efforts pinpointed on CX. 

When you make this shift, you’ll probably need to rewind a bit. We call this “slowing down to speed up” because there’s a lot of foundational work to be done before you can make progress. You’ll need to dig into your customers’ goals and what they want their experience to be, so you can ultimately provide that through your technology and processes. 

Here’s an example of how this may look. Let’s say an organization has created a new prescription drug, but is facing market hesitation about its safety. Marketing should then go through each stage of the buyer journey (awareness, research & design and in-use & advocacy) to map out what its customers are thinking at each point. In the awareness phase, for instance, customers may be thinking, “How can I convince my patients this medicine is safe?” 

Knowing this, the drug manufacturer can consider the informational needs of the customer (which would be educating patients, likely through public relations and news outlet coverage). Then ultimately, they could zero in on the channels they can use to disseminate that (e.g. online forums and news outlets). This connects the dots by starting with the customer and the experience, not the organization.

Shift #2 – From Automating Tasks to Leveraging Rich Journey Data

When automation was introduced to marketing, it facilitated something new for marketers – the ability to create if/then statements to automate previously manual tasks. If someone submits a form, then send them a thank you email. If someone does not open that email, then send them another email. This helped marketers automate what had previously been painful manual tasks. 

Unfortunately, the advancement in the way buyers engage with brands means if/then logic is no longer adequate. In today’s complex buying journey, the best marketers leverage the full, complex and dynamic journey of the buyer to determine the next best action. Instead of if->then, this becomes if/if/if/if/if/if (to infinity)->then. 

They can start making this switch by reviewing data flows and identifying opportunities to optimize. Ultimately, the goal is to create a better experience and more relevant conversations with buyers, which is why simply automating a single task isn’t enough. Everything needs to work together to serve the buyer what they want when they want it. You can’t always predict every step in the journey, but trying to look forward to each moment along the journey and how to orchestrate it is where to start. 

For example, consider a technology company that sells SaaS software, rather than offering everyone who calls the same feature or upgrade, they could leverage their knowledge of the caller (for example, their industry, the company size and past purchase behavior) to  orchestrate an offer of the right next thing (i.e. an upgrade to enterprise software, more licenses, a small business offering, etc.) for that caller. By tailoring the recommendations, the customer experience is better and sales are more likely. 

These opportunities are certainly not limited to B2B. The opportunities in B2C are also endless. We recently worked with a travel agency that had been using their marketing automation toolkit to merely automate, instead of using it as an orchestration and insights tool. They instructed their agents to upsell customers at the end of each call, and offer prescribed add-ons (like a sunset booze cruise). The problem was, they weren’t taking into account each customer’s individuality and circumstances. If a mom called in who was taking her spouse and three young children on the trip, they’d offer her the same sunset cruise they’d just offered 21-year-old members of a bachelorette party. This kind of disconnect can limit revenue potential and alienate customers. 

So, we used behavioral and demographic data to create a “next best action” model for the company. By doing so, agents would be given more relevant offers to suggest to the customers when they called. Not only did this increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities, but it also got agents into the motion of taking time to make a recommendation. 

Technology and operational investments are important, but they’re only a part of the recipe for B2B success. To achieve more, marketers must identify and fix the invisible problems hindering their growth – and make paradigm shifts like the ones outlined here. Need support identifying what’s hindering the power of your automations? Talk to Shift Paradigm about your customer experience design, and let’s unlock that potential revenue.

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Data & Customer Experience Shifts Required for B2B Success

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