In the B2B space, customer experience is primarily thought of as a post-sale concern. Once a potential customer has converted, then it’s time to pull out all the stops and show that customer that they made the right choice. However, this traditional outlook on customer experience means marketers are missing out on a serious opportunity…. better lead qualification.
While prospects aren’t customers yet, the overarching goal is to convert as many of them into paying customers as possible. However, marketers first need to separate the good leads who show genuine interest in conversion from the leads that are either simply browsing, or have no intention of actually converting into a customer.
To do this, marketers need to understand their prospects. Specifically, marketers need to understand their unique questions, pain points, and interests in order to align marketing efforts toward accurate lead qualification and disqualification to help bring the right leads to sales.
With this in mind, focusing on providing better customer experience across every touchpoint can help deliver value while providing an opportunity to understand potential customers on a granular level. Ultimately, these insights allow marketers to qualify leads quickly and effectively.
There’s just one problem… many B2B organizations are falling short on delivering the customer experience prospects expect. A staggering 73 percent of B2B buyers indicate their standards for customer experience are higher than ever, yet 45 percent report that organizations are falling short of these expectations.
To illustrate the importance of CX in B2B marketing — and the impact it can have on business results — another study found 84 percent of organizations that focus on quality customer experience across the sales cycle report an increase in revenue .
In this post, we’re diving into a few concrete ideas to get you started on this customer-centric journey and help connect the dots between lead qualification and customer experience. Take a look:
1. Answer Questions
From the top of the funnel to the bottom, all B2B prospects have questions. Whether they’re specific questions about a product or service, or high-level questions about business enablement and overall benefits, one thing is certain: the organizations that can quickly answer prospect questions stand out.
There’s plenty of opportunity for B2B marketers to help their organization stand out, too. Given the fact that it now takes between six to eight touchpoints before a lead is ready to become sales qualified, marketers have a number of chances to answer questions that lead to better customer service.
Knowing this, marketers need to pay attention to the questions their prospective customers are asking across the sales cycle. Leveraging tools like interactive assessments or PDFs, marketers can quickly provide the relevant content and engagements that answer key questions. In doing so, potential customers will have an easier time navigating the buyer’s journey, and will be less likely to turn to a competitor for the answers they need.
2. Solve a Problem
If all prospects have questions, you can bet they also have problems. In fact, “solving a pain point” was the most important criteria for 81 percent of B2B buyers making purchase decisions last year.
While traditional customer experience aims to solve problems that are based on helping customers utilize the product or service they’ve purchased, potential customers have problems of their own.
This provides marketers with an opportunity to establish their business as a resource for its target audience by developing content that’s helpful and relevant to the needs of B2B buyers.
Across the sales cycle, potential customers are looking for services that can solve the problems unique to their organization. While a current customer is concerned with getting the most from a purchase, prospective customers have different problems – namely:
- Choosing the right product or service that matches their business need
- Getting enough information to take to key decision-makers
- Finding the right resources and content to help reach a buying decision
- Understanding the key differences between competing organizations
Simply put, marketers that can identify and solve these kinds of problems will provide a higher calibre customer experience than the marketers that can’t. Moreover, identifying and addressing these problems head-on help marketers understand which consumers are actively researching, and need more nurturing, from the leads that are ready to pick up the phone for a conversation with the sales team.
To help solve the unique problems that B2B buyers have before they convert, marketers need the ability to provide fluid, relevant engagements that connect prospects with answers.
In this effort, tools like interactive whitepapers and infographics help turn static resources into question-answering machines by providing unique engagements based on the particular needs of those engaging with them.
By instantly connecting possible customers with the answers they want, the moment they want them, marketers get a better understanding of their location within the sales funnel as well as their buying intentions.
3. Ask for Your Prospects’ Input
Across the B2B space, potential customers are spoiled for choice. There are scores of competing businesses offering similar products and services from which they can choose based on the unique needs their organization has. Yet, regardless of the organization a B2B buyer engages with, there is a common expectation: that the prospect is valued.
With this in mind, the input gathered from leads across the sales funnel helps provide two distinct customer experience benefits. One, it indicates that their experience, and moreover they themselves, are valued. Two, it helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of marketing efforts across the sales cycle.
By bringing prospective customers into the fold and asking them for their unique point of view, marketers are providing a tailored customer experience that lets them know they’re valued for more than the potential purchase they’re looking to make.
Additionally, prospect input is a great way to quickly and accurately gather insights that help qualify leads, which allow marketers and salespeople alike to better direct their efforts toward the right leads.
For example, if marketers notice a lead rapidly engaging with top-funnel content, then suddenly stopping, they can use interactive polls and surveys to understand what is working and where the organization can improve.
4. Make the Customer Experience Entertaining
Unlike its B2C counterpart, B2B marketing has a reputation for relatively dry and corporate marketing. For those engaging with B2B content, this translates to an all-too-similar customer experiences across the organizations. In other words, the engagements marketers provide customers can lack the human touch that can make someone choose a particular brand.
Considering the fact that 88 percent of B2B organizations leverage some form of content marketing, it can be easy to fall into the trap of consistent, flat content that leaves audiences less than wowed.
We know what you’re thinking: focusing on entertainment value doesn’t communicate the things B2B buyers need to know, or even care about. While this may be true for organizations focusing on entertaining prospects first and foremost, it certainly doesn’t have to be the case! B2B engagements can provide the relevant and useful information that moves leads down the sales funnel while still being fun and entertaining.
Take this informative version of “Candy Land,” aptly named “Content Land,” for example. Fun, simple, and completely different than traditional content, it provides audiences with a fresh way to learn about content marketing best practices that keeps the viewer engaging with branded content without getting bored.
With a creative lens, marketers can both inform and entertain, which is likely to increase engagement. More engagement = more opportunity to understand that potential customer and better nurture him or her toward conversion.
Customer experience in the B2B space continues to be a post-sale afterthought. However, across the sales cycle, marketers that provide quality customer experience stand to build better relationships with potential customers, and in doing so, unlock opportunities to for better lead qualification and ultimately,revenue growth.