B2B businesses currently find themselves in a very unique and sometimes, precarious position. B2B clients are beginning to look more and more like B2C clients. B2B clients love the ease of shopping and researching in the digital world but they also want a personal touch. In the same way that B2C customers want a personalized message and the assurance that they can pick up the phone and speak with someone in customer service, B2B customers are now demanding the same thing. But as a B2B company, how do you provide all of this? In this blog we’ll be exploring what B2B customers want and how to deliver it to them.
What Do B2B Clients Want?
The New York based firm, Accenture Interactive, released a study in 2019 of more than 2,000 B2B buyers and sellers which showed that 80% of frequent B2B buyers have changed suppliers at least once in the previous 24 months. The main reason B2B businesses gave for this switch was the lack of attention to their needs and a ‘failure to connect digital strategies with the human side of the buyer supplier relationship”. When polled, price remained the most important factor (27%) while coming in a close second was the importance for a wide range of products (25%) and customer service coming in a close third (22%). Simply put, B2B clients are looking more and more like B2C customers. So, how can B2B companies capitalize on this?
How to Satisfy B2B Clients
Technology is at its best when it is utilized to make brands more human. Not just in their messaging but in the accessibility. By analyzing your potential and target clients you can begin to craft a marketing message that speaks directly to them and their unique needs. There are no doubt unique pain points and uncertainties in whatever industry(s) you’re targeting. Use this data to answer the question, ‘what roadblocks do decision makers have in front of them?” Whatever that may be, begin to craft a message and a story around that. The most important thing to remember about B2B customers is that you must create content that speaks to actual humans, not companies or titles.
Authenticity goes a long way in a world filled with marketing hype. Modern customers see right through the tried and tired, ‘we’ve been doing this for 30 years,’ kind of messaging. As a brand, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Don’t get in the habit of self-censoring. This will lead to marketing campaigns and messaging that are stale, dull and lacking in the humanity that customers want. Speak honestly about your business or industry. That doesn’t mean you have to be self-denigrating, but being honest about your industry as well as the struggles you share with your target audience will go a long way in connecting with them on a deeper level.
It takes more than just marketing and messaging to make your B2B brand more accessible. You actually have to BE more accessible. Social media, chat pop-ups, prominently displayed contact info and links are also a great way to make your brand more accessible to customers directly on your eCommerce site.
You also must have an actual human behind these digital tools to field these messages and notifications and reply to them. B2B customers want to know that they can get in touch with an actual person if they end up becoming a customer or client of yours and the first step is having people and processes in place to receive and respond to their initial messages. Human interaction and digital tools need to work hand-in-hand if B2B companies want to excel in the modern marketplace. Being available and being human are what B2B customers are looking for.
With the needs and behaviors of the B2B customer shifting, it is up to B2B companies to evolve their processes, messaging and capabilities to meet these needs. Otherwise they will be defeated in the marketplace by B2B companies that can meet those needs. If you’re interested in improving your B2B eCommerce business and website, then contact us today.