No business will tell you flat out that they don’t care about their customers. Every business claims to love and care deeply about those they serve. But the cliched sentiment, “Actions speak louder than words,” holds up when you consider how many businesses ignore, neglect, and demonstrate a lack of interest in the customers they claim to care so much about.
We’ve written numerous posts about the importance of adopting a customer-centric approach in today’s Age of the Customer. For B2B companies, this is especially important as the barriers between the buyer and the seller are minimized through ecommerce platforms, better connected sales teams, and partner and vendor networks.
Perhaps your business is already evaluating existing processes for opportunities to become more efficient and customer friendly. Maybe you’ve started implementing new technologies that deliver a better overall customer and user experience.
Regardless of the steps you have (or have not) taken, it’s important to be strategic and identify who your customer is, what problems his or her business is looking solve, and determine how to deliver your solution in such a way that will build trust and loyalty with your buyer. In short, it’s all about customer context.
Transform into a Customer-Focused Organization
In a recent report by Forrester Research, analysts point to the importance of providing customers with contextually relevant experiences. But what does “contextually relevant” really mean in terms of B2B buying and selling experiences? In short, it means compiling and synthesizing customer data to gather valuable insights into buyer behaviors.
It also means implementing the technology to facilitate a more agile approach to meeting customers when, where, and how they wish to buy.
For a little more insight into how your business can gather better customer context, let’s take a look at some of the key factors Forrester notes in its report:
1. CX/UX is key.
Customers today want to see, touch, listen to, and engage with the products they plan to purchase. In the B2C space, sellers are finding innovative ways to deliver digital experiences to their customers through 3D visualizations, VR simulations, and more.
B2B has been quick to catch on as manufacturers in auto, aerospace, medical device products, and others are leveraging these emerging technologies to allow customers to build custom configurations while viewing modifications immediately on the screen.
2. Building a tech stack that can adapt with your customer.
For many B2B organizations, the tech ecosystem is a mismatched puzzle of disconnected systems ranging from CRM, ERP, CLM, eCommerce Platforms, CPQ applications, and numerous others. These solutions may be from major providers like SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce, while others are home-grown solutions that have been pieced together like Frankenstein.
The challenge is getting these tools to talk to one another, to streamline processes across the front, back, and middle offices, and ensure that valuable data that informs the customer engagement is made accessible across the organization. This likely means replacing outdated systems, bridging gaps, and implementing new technologies that can be good citizens of your ecosystem while complementing and extending your investments over the long term.
3. Focus on solving the customer’s problems.
This may sound like business 101, but many businesses fall into the mindset of trying to keep up rather than strategically planning and getting ahead. According to Forrester, to be successful, businesses “must understand customer behavior and orchestrate interactions based on customer context.”
This means putting in the time and effort to listen to the buyer, meet the buyer where, when, and how he or she prefers to engage, and continually iterate on improving the experience of interacting with your business. The time spent mapping to the buyer may lead businesses toward offering more products and services online, empowering direct sales with new tools to develop more personalized engagements, or connecting with indirect channels to ensure customers have consistent experiences when configuring, pricing, bundling, and buying.
Every Interaction is an Opportunity to Learn about the Buyer
For B2B organizations that fully embrace the process of accruing customer context, the benefits are endless. Not only do these companies have a better understanding of today’s buyers, but they’re equipped with the data to pull insights about where buyer behavior is trending, thus staying ahead of the curve rather than scrambling to keep up.
Whether your business has always put the customer first or you’re adopting a new approach to better map to modern buyers, FPX and our CPQ solution can help you deliver a better buying and selling experience across all channels - direct, indirect as well as ecommerce.
To learn more, we encourage you to reach out speak with us about your customer’s journey.