All great brands have one thing in common: By reducing friction, they increase their customer’s velocity. And this is as true for B2B brands as it is for consumer brands. By now most B2B marketers recognize the importance of data. However, just collecting data is not enough. What’s important is using that data to understand and capitalize on users’ intent in a manner that galvanizes them to take action — that increases their velocity.
The goal for B2B marketers should be to understand (a) where their data comes from; (b) how this data can be parsed to identify, score, and predict buyer intent; and (c) how they can activate this data in a manner that enables customers to interact with a brand as seamlessly as possible.
Identify Where and How the Data is Generated
Once you know whether the source of the data is first-, second- or third party, you need to consider how it was sourced, and to weigh how you should put it to use.
Qualify Intent to Inform Customer Journey Mapping
A B2B customer’s destination is personal, so brands must know what each buyer wants at any given moment. Getting customers to the right destinations is only half the battle, though — B2B brands must then make it easy for them to complete their intended action.
Plan a Frictionless User Experience
Whether a customer is looking to download information, buy something, or request a Sales demo, it’s important to strip away all information that’s irrelevant to a customer’s desired action. Consumers don’t want to have to work to gain the privilege of interacting with your brand. Increasing the speed at which a consumer can not only learn about a product, but also test and buy it, can have a dramatic effect on a B2B brand’s overall Sales goals — and ultimately its valuation.
For example, for Cloud services, IT decision makers or developers may not even go through a traditional research phase—they may simply sign up for a free trial from the brand their friends use or that they recently heard of, run a quick test, and then buy it. That’s why on some leading websites, the sign-up process takes only a few minutes.
An important question to ask of your own website is, “How long does it take to sign up for a trial?”
Use Artificial Intelligence to Activate on Data
As the data market changes, thanks to the actions of major tech players and regulators, it is necessary to look at Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence as insurance hedges to future Marketing and Sales growth. Artificial Intelligence is great at inferring what a person is thinking. Take for instance the Google QuickDraw game. A user can scribble anything, and the AI will try to figure out what the user is drawing, similar to Pictionary. And with each drawing, Google’s ability to predict actions strengthens.
Once a B2B brand has created customer experience interaction benchmarks, sourced the data needed to identify, segment, and target unique audiences with resonant marketing, and eliminated friction from the buyer journey, the brand is ready to use AI to optimize a campaign in real time.
Read more: The Customer Experience Challenge