Business folks are real people, too.
There’s always a person or team behind the decision to sign a contract. And each individual has their particular demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and environmental attributes.
You’ve got to carefully consider all parties involved.
Each person has an educational background, a specific set of responsibilities, criteria they get evaluated and measured on each year, and places they turn to. People they already trust. In fact, 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision.
With every individual decision maker, there’s also a line of people to report to. But it’s still not that easy. Most B2B decisions are often multi-tiered, requiring buy-in and influence across numerous departments and levels from procurement to c-suite. Each link requires a targeted personal and human touch. As you can imagine, the typical sale takes a long time to close.
Unfortunately, B2B has a proven bad rap.
Its customer experience index ratings significantly lag behind those of B2C. B2C companies typically score 65–85%, while B2B companies get an average of less than 50%.
Instead of guessing, going with your gut, or relying solely on quantitative data, we dig. Like seriously dig.
This could mean conducting interviews and surveys with current and potential customers. Reading their annual reports and press releases. Checking out industry publications, newspapers, white papers, and websites. Gathering information from public bios and social media. Watching applicable TED Talks. Joining sales calls to learn their values and so much more.
That’s why personas are so important.
To customize content for the decision makers. What does your target audience struggle with on a daily basis in their role? What gives them inspiration and excitement? See how your product or service can meet those needs. Prep them for your solution by providing content pertaining to these three categories.
- Interest: helpful content to accomplish a specific goal
- Relationship: speak to their role
- Goals: guides, success stories, product news, etc.
And it pays off to cater to your target market.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, B2B customer experience leaders receive higher client and employee satisfaction scores, a 10–20% decrease in cost to serve, and a 10–15% increase in revenue. The report goes on to note “Even though B2B purchases are commonly assumed to stem from rational decisions, in our experience they hardly ever do.”
Clearly, Xerox understands this. Check out their Everybody’s Talkin’ at Me commercial, which speaks to the executive leader’s mindset.
Who knew? A major factor at play is producing content that spurs emotion.
Whether it’s awe, laughter, or amusement, just because someone works for, let’s say, a manufacturing company, doesn’t mean they don’t like to be entertained or humored. As humans, we’re always seeking those connections that make us feel part of a shared experience.
Besides Xerox, other companies like GE show there’s hope for us B2B’ers. Connections serve as the foundation of this compelling story. Notice how the spot barely talks about products or services, but rather fulfills a promise to enhance the outcome of a human experience and all who touch it.
The future is business to human.
I’ll leave you with these words from Larry Ellision while presenting at Oracle Cloud World:
“The future of the enterprise depends on humanizing the customer and employee experience. Human capital management and customer service are the foundation of a successful modern enterprise. That future is not ‘B2C’ or ‘B2B.’ It’s ‘B2H.’ Business to human.”