How has B2B brand engagement changed, and is that for the better, would you say?
I think there are two things to consider when discussing engagement – communication channels and communication style.
After spending a matter of years in lockdown and now working remotely for probably c.50% of your week, it’s no surprise that we’re witnessing an increased appetite for human and real-time engagement.
We’re seeing the more ‘human’ channels drive the most success – events are back on the table, we’re doing better on the phones, and our live chat on the website has awakened.
Has it changed for the better? I’m not sure, but it’s good to see a shift. For a while, PPC, email and webinars were front-runners but it’s part of the natural marketing cycle for channels to exhaust and prospects to get bored. So, it’s good to mix it up every so often.
This year, we’ve been testing our Tone of Voice to see what resonates. The findings: humorous, direct, and emotive language hits the spot, despite selling to enterprise businesses. This shift of tone has been happening in B2B for a while, but some companies have struggled to feel comfortable humanising language at the risk of it sounding ‘unprofessional’.
But in today’s world, where life and work are more blended than they have ever been before, I think it’s OK to cut the corporate jargon and be more humanly authentic in your communications. At the risk of sounding cliché, they do say “people buy from people”.
What about the increased scope for tracking customer intent that comes with increased use of digital channels?
It’s not rocket science; you're going to drive higher conversion rates when contacting prospects who have shown intent to buy. And there’s a plethora of amazing tools out there to help you nail down your intent data. But the key is to strike at the right time as prospects will want to carry out their own investigations before they're ready to talk to someone. It’s crucial that you understand the customer journey and serve the right content at the right time. This is particularly important with intent data as whilst there’s potentially high reward, there’s high risk too – if you make a wrong move - by sending one too many salesy Linkedin messages for example - you’re giving this company who is in-market for your services to your less aggressive competitors. And intent data is no longer a secret weapon – everyone’s signing up for it, so you need to make sure your approach to handling intent data is better.
Intent data is not always sales-ready, it needs the marketing treatment first. Treat your intent data as your VIPs – Very Important Prospects – and ensure when sales reach out, it’s hyper-personalised and on the money. A quick win to ensuring success for us is having full visibility of the lead journey and having close alignment and shared goals between the sales and marketing teams.
Intent data is not always sales-ready, it needs the marketing treatment first. Treat your intent data as your VIPs – Very Important Prospects – and ensure when sales reach out, it’s hyper-personalised and on the money.
AI is faster but lacks personality, and it can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. And I think having a unique personality and bringing a new perspective to the table are two of the surest ways to stand out in a sea of content and competition.
Where do humans add the most value in today’s digital-first world, would you say?
So, the buzz word of 2023 – Chat GPT. It’s an impressive AI engine, and I’ve enjoyed using it for content creation. It’ll get you the facts quicker and deliver an output in seconds. It’s faster but lacks personality, and it can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. And I think having a unique personality and bringing a new perspective to the table are two of the surest ways to stand out in a sea of content and competition.
So, in summary - digital can get the ball rolling but I strongly feel you should leave the finessing to the humans.
Positioned as the world's first Accounts Payable control center, Xelix provides AI-powered software that sits alongside companies’ existing finance systems, acting as an intelligence layer to automate processes, spot payment risks and more.