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Providing quality service and products at a reasonable price is a basic component of operating a B2B company, according to analysts at Gallup, a research organization. Customer engagement is characterized by an emotional connection based on confidence, integrity, pride and passion, Gallup says.
Fully engaged customers deliver a 23 percent premium over average customers in share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth, Gallup research shows. Gallup says fully engaged custoomers are strongly emotionally attached and attitudinally loyal.
To make sure that your company is as engaged with its customers as it is with its employees, you need to create an internal culture of engagement that doesn't view employee engagement and customer engagement as separate activities, he said. Creating a successful customer engagement strategy entails knowing the customer's business, bringing the customer new ideas and making them work for the customer by tailoring them to their marketplace and workplace.
You need to create a customer feedback loop that provides a 360-degree view of the entire relationship.
Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Welcome to 1to1 Media — a multimedia resourcefor CRM and Customer Experience Professionals.
A few years ago while attending Dreamforce, I had a few meetings with executives from marketing automation companies who shared different approaches to engaging with B2B customers and prospects. Recently, I had a chance to learn first-hand how one company, HCMWorks is using Gagein's Gagein for Salesforce (G4SF) tool to gather actionable intelligence about its customers and prospects.
HCMWorks, a provider of procurement management tools and advisory services, is able to use G4SF to set triggers on news about its clients and prospects.This provides HCMWorks' sales teams with a number of benefits, says Mathew Berenbaum, a senior sales executive for the company. For instance, a news alert about a bank that HCMWorks might be targeting for engagement can provide a sales person with information about a particular contact at the bank to reach out to.
In addition to reducing amount of time needed to research, identify, and connect with the right contact, the G4SF tool has also helped HCMWorks to reduce the time to close by enabling its salespeople to have relevant interactions with the right contacts versus cold calling and sending a prospect a set of materials to review and consider in the hopes that it may capture their interest. We can notify you via email of any additional comments to this post by entering your email below. I look to 1to1 Media and its partners as a trusted source of information on integrated marketing trends.
1to1 Media is a proponent of Extreme Trusta€”proactively acting in customersa€™ best interests.
While B2B organizations have embraced the idea of customer-centricity, many have yet to adapt to the reality of customer behavior. Figure 1 shows a sample B2B customer journey (read more about customer journeys here); there are many stages where a customer or prospect interacts with you online. One of the greatest features of personalisation technology is ability to track what a customer views online and pass it back to your CRM system.
This is where technology becomes really powerful, where you can move from simple interactions to tailored conversations with your customers. About the AuthorBenjamin TreshamBen Tresham is a Director of Customer Attuned and heads up their Digital Services division.
He is passionate about building great client relationships, not only for himself but for his clients as well. A sales executive from a national technology firm client once reported that he achieved his sales quota yet the business had zero growth. The lack of connection between pre-sales campaigns and post-sale delivery is a growing problem for a number of reasons, starting with the obvious: most companies don’t have a plan in place to manage the customer relationship AFTER the sale. Sensei’s customer experience strategists analyze and measure the touch-points your brand has with its customers post sale to determine their level of satisfaction with the purchase decision and if the product and business have met the expectation set in the pre-purchase sales process. When completed, the end result is self-sustaining customer ecosystem that reduces the costs of acquiring and retaining customer and improving customer lifetime value. But if your company is not engaged with its customers as well as its employees, you may be leaving money on the table and putting your sustainability and growth in jeopardy, new research shows. But B2B organizations that see this as their only job are risking irrelevancy and potentially setting themselves for replacement. And that involves expanding the metrics you use to gauge the relationship and inaugurating a two-way dialogue with your customer at all the relationship touch points.

Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. These included tools aimed at gathering and acting on social information that might generated by a target customer or an active account (e.g. Plus, by arming the sales person with recent and relevant news about the bank, the sales person is better positioned to engage with the right contact at the bank instead of placing a cold call that may or may not reach the right person. Streamlining the process for B2B sales and marketing teams and using relevant information that's available about clients and prospects is a no-brainer. Any use of materials, except for social media sharing (Tweets, Facebook posts, etc.), without the prior written consent of 1to1 Media is strictly prohibited.
That's resulted in millions of marketing dollars being misspent and potential sales lost at a time when companies can ill afford it. Recent Gartner research states 80% of CMOs are not ready for the next big step in digital experience management. It never ceases to surprise me that many business processes fail at this point, the moment you move the conversation from on on-line to off-line one. Always remember that in many instances (ITT based procurement being an exception, among others) most of the buyers decision is done before they contact you. He is an expert when it comes to how organisations go about managing customer experiences digitally. Profitable customer relationships don’t stop at the sale, but build through the sale towards advocacy. Next, we measure and benchmark the customer experience to determine which customers are loyal and those who are true advocates. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. In fact, our work with more than 30 marquee B2B organizations around the world shows that half or more of all marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that do little to influence the purchasing decisions of top customers and providing little help to the sales people calling on them.To right that train, B2B organizations need to develop a much deeper understanding of the modern Customer Decision Journey (CDJ). There many steps in this customer journey where the right use of digital marketing and lead nurturing can be enhanced through online experiences e.g. The benefit for you is that your sales people will know what products people have looked at and be able to tailor their conversation with clients. By utilising personalisation technology effectively, giving the right data to sales you can increase your conversion rate. The sale is not the end point of the relationship but rather another equal stage in the customer life cycle. These insights and data points become part of the resources required by both our teams to drive more customers from satisfaction to advocacy, thus fueling the customer acquisition funnel.
Given the amount of emphasis that's placed on using data and automation to engage with B2C customers across the industry, I was instantly intrigued by the possibilities for B2B organizations. His client list includes, Sanofi Aventis, Imagination Technologies, Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic, The Cabinet Office, HMRC and DfE.
By personalising your customers’ digital journey you can achieve better conversion rates and more leads and sales. We've seen companies boost sales by an average of 5-10 percent and customer retention by an average of 30 percent. For marketing and sales activities to be effective, companies need to focus on those points in the decision journey where they can be most successful in influencing those decision makers. This article explores the key strategic steps you need to deliver relevant, personalised user journeys. And for others still they might be a specific set of segments.Understanding who those influencers are and what matters most to them in making their purchasing decisions gives marketing and sales leaders the insight needed to gauge where their efforts are likely to have the greatest impact. When organizations we've studied take the time to learn from their customers what parts of the buying process are most important to them, they are often surprised by the results. One chief marketing officer, for instance, learned from customer interviews that 70% of the marketing budget and 40% of the sales efforts were not spent in places that actually influenced the customer's purchase decision.
They were either over-investing in some areas or under-investing in others with the result that they were leaving money on the table and missing out on deals they might otherwise have won.Mapping the decision journeys of your target segments requires actively soliciting input from multiple sources but the approach depends on the landscape. If the B2B company is in a sector that may have a handful of big customers, like mining, shipping or the public sector, there's no substitute for actually getting out there and meeting with the end customers to understand how they really make decisions (as opposed to how the say they make decision).Large companies with thousands of customers might launch quantitative market research surveys to understand their customer segments.

These findings are then paired with knowledge gleaned from sales, logistics, product marketing and other parts of the organization to develop a hypothesis on how different variables — such as price, delivery times, or feature sets — affect purchase decisions. Those models can help identify valuable customer segments and develop actions that target them specifically.Average customer retention increase by using CDJOne high-tech OEM, for instance, counted both large corporate buyers and small operators among its customer base. Corporate buyers, usually led by finance chiefs, viewed the products as a way to improve cost and operational efficiency so paid special attention to the RFP process.
Small operators, by contrast, were often owned and managed by individuals with technology backgrounds who followed the latest developments with interest and were active researchers.
Knowing who was holding the strings within those segments clarified what stages of the CDJ to zero in on. To cater to its small operators, for example, sales teams spent a great deal of time up front in the research stage, inviting business owners to beta test new versions and hosting events that previewed the latest products. To appeal to corporate finance leaders, by contrast, the manufacturer revamped its RFP process, expanded the number of financing options, highlighted cost efficiency, and created pricing calculators and other aids that made it easier for buyers to determine which product was right for them.Channel resources and spend where and when it mattersUnderstanding what drives customer decisions means that marketers can make smarter, more informed decisions about where to allocate resources. For instance, prior to using CDJ methods, the sales and marketing team at a large materials company did what it did best, nurtured long-standing key accounts and kept tabs on new opportunities within two of its biggest verticals, the government sector and commercial real estate developers. It was a sales forward approach focused on generating and qualifying the lead, making the pitch and closing the deal. Still revenue growth remained lackluster.The decision process is anything but linear, and the post-purchase period is often as, or more, important than other steps along the waySo their commercial leaders analyzed their customer base, interviewed key players, and came away with a better idea of where to focus its resources along the CDJ. If it was going to win the public sector, for instance, the company realized it had to broaden its appeal and court relationships not just with public works officials, but to local distributors as well since interviews had shown most facilities managers turned to them for recommendations and advice during the research stage of the CDJ. This insight told sellers not only where and when to redouble their relationship-building efforts, it also told marketing where to pull back, such as in trade show spend, which research showed had little influence on the buying outcome.
They used those funds instead to develop on-site distributor demos that proved very effective for increasing conversion from the research to the consideration stage. To do that, marketing created online rate comparison tools and equipped sales with custom pricing guidelines. They also shortened average contract lengths to win over buyers wary of long-term commitments.
That gave sales greater flexibility in the field and made it easier for the company to stand out as a low-cost partner.
By developing a common understanding of the CDJ and those battlegrounds where they needed to compete for customers, marketing and sales can communicate more clearly and focus more effectively on activities that win customers.Some B2B marketing organizations, for instance, are using technical solutions that link customer insights directly into sales activities. At one company marketers developed an iPad application that allows sales people to enter their book of business and receive detailed profiles that flag key customer bottlenecks in the CDJ, such as overly technical product descriptions that make it hard to compare features, and provide tips on what sales can do to break through them. At another company, CDJ analysis revealed that digital communications, such as emails, were far more effective when preceded by a personal telephone call or direct mail.
This insight that marketing provided helped sellers make a small change in approach that delivered better conversion rates.Such partnership can also allow organizations to take preemptive action to lock the sale in earlier in the process and forestall customers from shopping around. For example, one global industrial company saw that aggressive competitor discounting was beginning to cut into sales.
Marketing examined its customer metrics and learned that their high value segments put a premium on ease-of-ordering and fulfillment speed.
That insight made them wonder if there was a clever way to beat back their competitor without engaging in a price war. They shared that information with sales and together brainstormed a way to simplify the ordering process to a click of a button.
In addition, sales began sending reminder notices two weeks before a part was due to expire and marketing helped install self-service counters at their best customers with purchasing cards that allowed employees to help themselves to parts as needed, charging them as they went.Without understanding your customer's decision journey, it doesn't matter how "customer-centric" you are. Building your organization and programs around the CDJ model means more effective marketing and more successful sales.

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