B2B ecommerce is in the middle of a digital transformation. But B2B firms can’t be satisfied with a simple pivoting to digital channels, they need to recreate the personal connections that have been lost when in-person meetings and events aren’t there with data-driven personalization across the B2B buyer journey. And once meetings start happening again, they must incorporate these more relevant digital tactics with omnichannel insights that unite every touchpoint. Through the use of a unified commerce platform with integrated personalization capabilities, B2B firms can then ensure that the digital experience across channels remains seamless for buyers, and provides the control and flexibility needed to respond to new consumer behaviors.
Below are the five key elements necessary to deliver on the promise of consistently relevant cross-channel relationships.
Personalization And B2B Ecommerce White Paper
Written in conjunction with Brian Beck, one of the world’s leading authorities in B2B Ecommerce, this white paper covers the critical nature of delivering hyper-relevant experiences, particularly after COVID.Download
Understand Your Customer’s Journey
Digital transformation has changed your B2B buyer journey, and it’s important to understand it from an end-to-end standpoint. Gartner reports that 77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was very difficult or complex, as they had to compare many different types of technology and compromise with six or more decision-makers in their company. Knowing the ins and out of this complexity can help you create more relevant communications and understand better what lies between your prospect and a sale.
With online taking up a larger share of their research and their communication, B2B marketers must be more sophisticated with targeted messaging, personalized communications, and customized content. On the product findability and navigation side, B2B companies must ensure that buyers can find their preferred products on their choice channels (and that your tech stack is aware if the adequate inventory exists to meet a purchase order in real time). And on the post-purchase ends of things, B2B firms can tap personalization to ensure that complex order routing rules aren’t just executed properly, but that the proper information is shared with the business user at the right stage of the journey.
B2B companies that start with a complete understanding of the journey map, including for different types of customers, have the ability to align channels and deliver the right products and information at every step of the journey, both before and after the purchase.
Align Your Channels
The buyer journey might be complex, but it must also be cohesive. At a high level, this means that messaging and content must be consistent across channels (such as through the sales force, the warehouse, the call center). But, just as important, marketers must break down internal silos (technical and operational) to share insights and create a single view of the customer, this way, content can also be consistently personalized and products.
Non-aligned channels that present inconsistent or inaccurate data are a primary way to quickly deteriorate customer
loyalty. The most advanced B2B sellers are working to carefully coordinate a digital experience across every touch point.
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence technology provided by the Kibo Unified Commerce Platform, MSC uses data gathered from its customers’ web site behaviors (including purchases) to provide its call center reps with real-time product recommendations they can suggest to customers during service calls. This provides a cross-channel view of the customer’s preferences, and helps the rep be more effective during the interaction.
Get the Customers to the Right Channels—Quickly!
With the right insights, it becomes possible to understand the new buyer journey in more detail. Knowing what channel will be most effective is a combination of individual preference and more general patterns that can be accommodated with proper targeting and segmentation. For example, you might learn that brand new prospects benefit most from seeing an explainer video, and so other channels like search and email can be used to nudge early stage prospects to that channel. Similarly, customers ready to buy might be reluctant to pick up the phone, and so personalized commerce enabled on the site can be a powerful way to still capture a sale.
Present the Right Content, At the Right Time
Just as important as the right channel is great timing. B2B buyers may have been on pause in March or April, but many are still mid-funnel and will be coming back to life in 2021.
Here, too, gathering data and sharing it across channels can be incredibly valuable. Too often, valuable information that occurs in the ABM department never gets shared with the sales team, or interactions with marketing content are not used as triggers for additional touches in other channels. It’s important to add to the customer profile with every single touchpoint to start to gain a better understanding of their “purchase velocity.”
Presenting the right message can answer important questions, encourage customers to adopt the use of ecommerce, communicate fulfillment information, and extend the physical relationship into a digital experience. Your B2B buyer wants to be recognized, even online, and unified commerce is the recognized way to ensure max of cross-channel identification of your clients.
Additionally, delight your buyers with self-service account management post-purchase, making it easy to download copies of invoices, check the status of an order, and manage multiple payment and shipping options.
Let the Data Guide You
Gathering insights is useful for more than personalization and optimization, it can help adjust your entire understanding of your buyer and their digital experience needs. The digital world offers rich data about customers that can be mined to understand customer preferences. And by leveraging a unified platform for testing and analytics, B2B companies can create a holistic, 360-degree view of customers’ needs, and address these wants and desires across selling channels.