By Jonny Cowlin, Vice President Sales and Managing Director EMEA, Showpad
Social media platforms and other content marketing tools were once reserved for the consumer environment, yet they’ve become a game changer in B2B sales. With the number of active social media users expected to increase to more than 4 billion by 2025, B2B businesses must leverage these tools to meet customers where they are and provide the most convenient buying experience.
B2C marketing is often and traditionally more flexible and dynamic than B2B marketing, with organisations regularly testing new tactics, technologies, platforms, and ways of addressing customers. B2B businesses can learn from this – first observing developments in the B2C market and then applying proven strategies to their B2B marketing strategies. Here are the top B2C trends that B2B businesses should be leveraging to achieve greater success.
Omnichannel marketing gives customers more control
Our world has become increasingly hybrid, with many touch points on the buying journey now digitised. This shift has led to increased demands on the customer experience, as businesses are required to become progressively more flexible.
To meet these demands, many B2C brands are adopting an omnichannel approach, where a variety of channels – both online and offline – form part of the broader customer journey. Omnichannel marketing allows businesses to deliver relevant content to buyers across multiple channels, creating a seamless experience. Thanks to the variety of channels and information, buyers have a much higher degree of autonomy, and can decide for themselves when and how to engage with a product or service.
The omnichannel approach can also benefit B2B companies that often deal with complex products and services, which require further explanation for buyers to truly understand their benefits. Offering greater flexibility drives understanding and ultimately increases buyer satisfaction.
A seamless buyer experience is crucial
In the consumer world, buyers demand an intuitive digitised customer experience. It is crucial to address potential buyers’ questions and concerns via the right channels with personalised and relevant content. The best customer experience wins, and no company can afford to waste time on monotonous and unproductive interactions.
Live chat support, automated preference recognition, storytelling around products, and feedback options are all incredibly popular among consumer brands. B2B businesses still have time to implement these trends, as the right sales enablement strategy will unlock significant potential. Over three quarters (84%) of organisations have been forced to undergo digital transformation since the start of the pandemic – investing in transformation long term is crucial to driving a strong buyer experience.
These developments have a huge impact on B2B sales, as buyers want the same high-quality experience in both private and professional purchase decisions. As such, B2B brands should ensure that their buyer experience is as smooth as possible, leveraging the best digital technologies already in use in the consumer environment.
Emotions exist in B2B business
People make buying decisions based upon a variety of different factors, with having an emotional connection to their sales rep being one of the main drivers behind closing a sale. Consumers want to build an emotional connection with the brands they buy from, and this is no different when they are buying a business product.
Targeting specific buyer groups with relevant and informative storytelling allows sellers to build a real connection with their buyers, one that goes beyond the mere offer of a product or service. Today’s potential customers want to know exactly who they are buying from, so if they can learn about and identify with your company’s culture and values, it will always be easier to close a sale.
Gain important insights through social media
Especially in the B2B environment, potential customers are often faced with the challenge of having to solve complex problems. To find out the exact pain points of potential customers, companies need to listen. Social media channels provide a wealth of information about how customers are experiencing a product or market, which should in turn feed into sellers’ tactics.
In B2C, it is part of the standard repertoire of entire social media departments to observe, build on and guide customers’ interactions with the brand. Many B2B companies, however, still fail to prioritise social media within their overall business strategy. It’s worth remembering – the better you know your customers, the better you can sell to them.
The consumer sales world concentrates deeply on offering a smooth buyer experience with as much flexibility as possible. This experience is built upon the emotional bond between company and customer, which can be measured through social media, amongst other channels. B2B companies can benefit greatly from these strategies, which have already been proven effective for B2C over the past decade. Ultimately, for both B2C and B2B, the focus is on people and fulfilling their needs and expectations.
Jonny Cowlin is the VP of Sales and Managing Director of EMEA at revenue-enablement leader Showpad. He is dedicated to utilising 15+ years’ worth of expertise in developing international revenue-generating strategies, driving new business, and leading talented teams to exceed set targets within global technology services organisations, delivering short-term results while building a foundation for long-term, sustainable success.
Visit Jonny’s LinkedIn profile here