73 Percent of B2B Executives Want A More Personalized Solution. Accenture Strategy’s MD, Advanced Customer Strategy, Jason Angelos, Holds Forth on How to Better CX.
According to findings from a new report by Accenture Strategy, B2B customers are increasingly looking for a Customer Experience similar to those offered by B2C companies. In their B2B Customer Experience 2017 report, based on a survey of 1,350 sales and customer service executives from B2B organizations around the world, key findings reveal insights into how marketers can customize the experience to better suit their increasingly discerning audience.
Based on a survey of 1,350 sales and customer service executives from B2B organizations around the world, the report found:
- While 97% of B2B sales and customer service execs say that channel partners are critical to their business, just 21% have total control over their organization’s sales networks and overall customer experience.
- 84% do not have visibility into sales partner opportunity pipelines.
- 71% say customers increasingly want B2C-like experiences – faster response times and 24/7 availability – but nearly half (49%) say they’re failing to deliver the personalized experiences their customers crave.
- Companies with integrated partner lead generation and coaching are 63% more likely to exceed their indirect channel revenue goals.
The report mentions that B2B customers are 57% through the buying process before the first meeting with a company representative. How do you foresee this growing self-reliance changing the way B2B marketers approach customers?
Jason: B2B customers are increasingly turning to self-service channels, digital, and social networks for product research and education. Customer education on product or solution features used to be a staple of the initial sales call. B2B marketers now need to seek new approaches to actively engage their customers earlier in the cycle.
As with other dimensions of customer experience, B2B marketers are following the B2C trends. However, a clear distinction in B2B continues to be the complex nature of outcome-based solutions. B2B customers may choose to self-serve for their research, but they need to interact directly with providers to shape the solution and value case.
Digital trust and customer access are critical in B2B marketing. Innovative marketers will pursue opportunities to actively engage in business social forums (e.g. LinkedIn) and select third-party marketplaces directly (including virtual storefronts of channel partners) and, wherever possible, in conjunction with their existing customers and select partners. B2B customer experience masters will put customer and partner loyalty and advocacy to work for them to access customers and drive leads.
Have B2B and B2C marketing tools used today becoming increasingly similar? How do you see B2B marketers differentiating the way they use these tools?
Jason: The tools are becoming increasingly similar and B2B marketers are looking for opportunities to provide immersive experiences for customers and prospects. Key differences in the B2B marketing approach are the focus on customer experience and business outcomes over brand, and targeted teaming with partners to help extend their reach and improve access.
According to the report, customers have migrated from responding to direct customer contact to using social media. How do marketers react to this change?
Jason: B2B customers continue to embrace interaction from known and trusted sources. B2B marketers will look to build digital trust and gain access through advocacy from the ecosystem of their own loyal customers and select channel partners.
What do you feel is the difference between adopting a traditional partner management and orchestrating an ecosystem?
Jason: Ecosystem orchestration is a more targeted, active, and integrated approach to marketing and sales management and execution. Partners pivot from a distinctly separate channel to an integrated part of a connected growth strategy. Ecosystem orchestration redefines the trust equation between B2B solution providers and partners with a foundation of connected customer insights and shared customer experiences.