As companies become more customer centric, knowing and managing customer expectations is key to propelling your company forward amongst the ever-growing competition that surrounds it.
Customers have become more aware of what they want and how they want it. Every customer has different requirements and providing them with a personalised experience is vital to ensuring customer loyalty, thereby increasing sales.
B2C businesses have leverage over B2B, in that they know their customers well and interact with them directly. Due to the customized service provided by B2Cs, customers expect the same from B2Bs as well. But as these B2B manufacturers sell through redistributors, they are not completely aware of their customers’ needs. This leads to an expectation gap and ultimately losing a hold of their customers. Here are what B2Bs can take away from B2Cs and make the most out of their marketing/sales efforts:
Service-Centric vs Product-Centric
Most B2B manufacturers are product oriented. When selling or marketing, they emphasize on the product features more than the actual end-user experience. Let’s look at an example – a person usually buys a Porsche for the experience and feelings of accomplishment and confidence rather than the features listed on the tag. Keeping this example in mind, a B2B marketer should focus on conveying how their product can make their customers’ lives better and how it can provide their customers the unique experience they are looking for (more details).
A Touch of Creativity
There is more to marketing than just sending out standard lead emails and posting blogs about your products. Visual stimulation attracts buyers. B2B manufacturers should try making creative infographics about company statistics or memes promoting their products. Another great idea would be starting a podcast series and sharing your success stories. These approaches are definitely much more appealing than some white paper about your product features posted on your website. Reach out to your customers; they need to know why your product is their best choice and who better than you to tell them that?
B2Cs are coming up with new strategies for marketing where they are focused on giving their customers a personalised experience. Consider how Netflix and Imdb suggest movies based on the ones you previously watched or liked, thereby increasing the chances of more content being streamed through their servers.
Starbucks writes your name on your coffee. They also have “free birthday beverage” offers for customers signing up for Starbucks rewards cards. Not only does this help them capture more customer information for further targeted marketing, they also make their customers feel special. (more details)
B2Bs need to understand the importance of this personalised service and incorporate the same in their lead nurture campaigns. To provide this experience, B2Bs can send emails about current offers based on the products a customer looked up or put in their wishlist on the company’s website.
Not every marketing effort needs to generate a lead or convert into a sale. Creating brand awareness is equally important. Ben and Jerry’s has a “free cone day” every year when they give away their delicious scoops for free. Who doesn’t want free ice cream?! This provides potential customers the opportunity to experience their product and personally understand why it is one of the top brands in the market today. B2B manufacturers should try and conduct webinars, sponsorship events, outdoor advertisements, etc., thus making customers aware of their brand. Buyers who already know about your brand will be less hesitant to committing to it.
Potential Solution for B2B Manufacturers
Salesforce Pardot is an excellent marketing automation tool provided by Salesforce itself. Pardot’s targeted email campaigns and highly personalised lead nurture campaigns will help B2B manufacturers deliver the customized experience their customers are looking for.
Salesforce Communities lets B2B manufacturers create their own social communities where they can personally connect with their customers. It provides a social media experience to its buyers while capturing personalised business data in the back-end. Also, Communities is mobile friendly and can be accessed from anywhere.