Get them Hooked. More and More B2B Companies are looking to create the same experience and brand loyalty as in the B2C World. How can they make it happen?
In the past year the ‘customer experience buzz’ has been diffusing from the B2C into the B2B world. Saas ad B2B marketers talk about their customer journeys from awareness to free trials, SQLs and conversions to paying customers.
Leading tech companies have already begun to incorporate journey analysis and optimization into their product, potentially overlooking the whole customer lifecycle. They master their touch points end to end, and have the statistics to prove how they’ve boosted their business results.
However, as oppose to the B2C world where you have customers cheering with delight over their experience with the brand, you still can’t find the same ratio of customers committed to their tech solutions. As in both industry types we are talking about people, why is the gap so big? Is the excuse that customers can’t fall in love with a project management app or data analytics platform as they would with a shirt or laundry gel still valid? How about for once, we assume we could.
So here’s a trick question for B2B marketers and customer success managers.
When analysing and optimizing your customers journey, are sure you are optimizing the right one?
In the B2C world it’s crystal clear:
I sell sneakers. I want my customer to know I have a new pair they just ‘gotta have’. I spread the word through earned, owned and paid media. My customer falls in love with the thought of these new cuties in their closet. They dream of the new look they’ll wear to ‘that place’. Three days later they walk down the street and oooops. That girl, whose name we don’t mention already has a pair.
So, my customer checks out the size, colors, and looks for some coupon online and bam! Done. Sold. Worst case scenario, we nudge them with a remarketing campaign or sales emails and bring this baby home. We make our customer shine inside out, and cash on their happiness.
B2B? the journeys I have heard marketers map are pretty much along these lines:
I have a very cool product.
I want my customer to know what pain and added value I bring to the table.
I create awareness campaigns through informative content to my email lists and social media.
Once I have our leads’ email address our company will knock on their door between every 7-14 days with some ‘did you know…’, ‘the 5 things that…’ and ‘see how Stacy made.’
In parallel, just like our sneakers brand we run some retargeting campaigns and sometimes even pick up the phone and call them, out of the blue.
Let’s assume for a moment that these campaigns paid off, we have a new trial or even paying customer. Did we just make them shine? Do they feel as happy as our lucky owner of a new pair of kick a@@ sneakers?
Hmmm… not sure they are. What does that mean to our business? That they aren’t here to stay.
Why? Because right behind us there is another solution with a bigger budget. How can we change that? Change our perspective.
In the B2B world the journey from awareness to usage and conversion to a paying customer starts with acknowledging our customers’ challenges, or better yet helping them gain clarity on what those challenges are. But that doesn’t always align with what will make them shine. Because that’s not the challenge we are focused on. Though we should.
Take the least ‘sexy’ product on the market and you could still make this fly. One of our customer sells storage. Well not quite – they sell the ability to better archive, preserve and access data. Storage… Their buyer personas are mainly IT managers who are overwhelmed with technical tasks and requirements from countless people in their company. In addition, they need to plan ahead, foresee the challenges to come and constantly adopt to the newest technology. Do they really need to learn the bits and bites of the archiving world? To them, shining is about being a ‘go to person’ with other issues that backups. They want to be one of the leaders just like the other seniors around. They also want to feel as if they are making a difference.
How about helping them come up with a 3 year upgrading plan, with all the necessary clauses and items. Build a budget plan that would show they don’t just think IT but have a business angle and broad operational view. Our customer created a new customer success program for IT managers and consultant with all the collateral they need to shine and move projects in their organizations. Guess who got a boost in awareness, recurring visits, and inquiries.
Take the extra step and create a customer success program that doesn’t focus on your product alone. Go wild and deal with the product in the 2nd or even 3rd phases of the program. Instead, hand hold your customer. Help them easily gain knowledge, and give them the tools to do their job and to show and tell about their success. Walk their journey, not your customer acquisitions journey – and create a successful, memorable and committing journey.
B2B and B2C worlds differ in many aspects. However, in both we sell to people. In both it’s up to us to make them shine. In both, customer journeys are about our customer’s journey to success.