CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
What should organisations know about how B2B buyer journeys have changed post-pandemic, and how can they better support buyers’ preferences?
We know that three quarters of buyers today prefer remote engagement because it’s easier to find information, to place orders and arrange services. We are in an era of integrating brand, storytelling, purpose and growth. That means using innovation to adapt and evolve and recognising that customers today aren’t loyal.
B2B companies need to incorporate personalisation and customisation at every stage of the customer journey.
We’ve got great innovation across all channels. We’ve got AI, GPT4, live chat, avatars and automated buying processes. Use them, test them, evaluate them. It’s okay to fail, just make sure you learn and improve. These new tools and technologies enable marketplace and product/service differentiation, but the priority is to make it easier for prospects and customers to say yes.
That also means reducing complexity, perhaps by asking fewer questions during the onboarding process, so you are not driving prospects and customers to go to your competitor.
How important is it for your organisation to track buyers’ intent in a digital sales environment?
It is particularly beneficial throughout the sales funnel when you leverage these actionable insights at pre-opportunity and open-opportunity stages to drive better performance, while you leverage account-based marketing best practices. It can increase prospects, improve the conversion of high-quality leads and help identify cross-sell opportunities. Intent data also improves business health by identifying customers who demonstrate churn signals, and generally improves higher customer retention and lifetime value.
HubSpot is a phenomenal platform for tracking intent. We use ICPs (ideal customer profiles) to track users on the website and leverage lead magnets at different trigger points where a potential customer moves down the funnel. We also need to understand commonalities – what content are people engaging with and downloading? What assets are they most interested in looking at, in what part of their journey?
The power of intent data and analysing it through AI-driven tools such as predictive analytics, means that companies can gain valuable insights into the interests and preferences of potential customers.
In a digital landscape where organisations adopt a digital mindset based on innovation, a process of test, iterate, learn means it’s okay to fail because you can learn and improve very quickly.
In a digital-first world, what channels should B2B organisations be focused on?
Digital is a great channel for inbound marketing, to target people with a propensity to buy, who are actively looking for information. Outbound marketing can be more complex, when we’re talking to people who might need our product, but don’t know it yet, or who aren’t aware of our brand. We need to understand who our customers are, and map how they use different channels to understand which will be more effective.
Organisations should consider mapping the digital customer journey to understand which channels work well versus those that don’t, or how channels can be optimised to support prospects and customers. I would also invest time in understanding how social media, influencer and digital marketplaces play into that mix, in terms of brand building, loyalty and credibility. Potentially, it’s all relevant, but you need to map that customer journey, understand how each channel performs, and what impact that ultimately has on revenue.
Keep things as simple and relevant as possible, and improve efficiencies, to ensure you reduce the 'noise and effort' that will take your focus away from impact and revenue. Also consider the impact of channel performance against KPIs and ROI across marketing, sales and broader business performance.
Claire is a highly experienced CMO and business leader focusing on transformational and impact marketing, leading transformation growth across start-ups to global organisations. Born out of a customer-first approach, she specialises in differentiating brands and is centred on team collaboration and operational efficiencies to accelerate business impact and growth. Claire has a passion for brand stories, customer learning and engagement, and innovation. She is currently working as CMO for a global technology company based in the UK.