5 items tagged "B2B"

  • B2B and B2C: Challenging the traditional paradigm

    We often - and quite rightly - talk about the very real distinctions between B2B and B2C markets, buyers and decisions. However, the traditional paradigm of ‘B2B as rational’ and ‘B2C as emotional’ is being challenged by an increasingly strong undercurrent of discussion about the thoughts, feelings and emotions of B2B buyers and decision makers as individuals – not just as representatives of the corporations they work for.

    A B2B buyer is not solely an agent of the business they work for, and they do not exist in a vacuum. They are a human being with emotions, preferences, and a life that exists outside of their workplace. And, outside of work, they are a consumer. It is inevitable that our expectations as B2B buyers are shaped, to some degree, by our experiences as consumers in the B2C world. Therefore, in addition to the space that is being carved out for the ‘human’ in B2B decision making, much can be gained by recognising the ‘consumer’ as an additional influence.

    The consumer, as I’m sure we can all recognise, is faced with an overwhelming choice of products and services; able to order for next day delivery, at the click of a button; familiar with the ‘personalities’ of our favourite brands through prolific social media presence. These three elements of the consumer experience – access to a wider than ever range of options, ability to quickly and easily acquire products, and exposure to a strong social media presence – are all relatively recent phenomena, but have become so prevalent that many of us can’t imagine our daily lives and purchasing experiences in any other way. As the bar has been continually raised by B2C companies in terms of the choice, access and exposure they offer – so too have our expectations as consumers risen exponentially. For many of us, these high expectations will be translated into our lives at work, influencing our expectations as buyers in a B2B context.

    In her article ‘Too Much Choice’, Eva Krockow uses the example of a coffee shop to illustrate the overwhelming amount of choice available to consumers – Starbucks, she says, offers a choice of 80,000 different drinks combinations. Disadvantages of such abundant options aside (decision paralysis, disappointment or self blame) freedom of choice and maximum product variety is still very much expected by consumers, due to the liberal belief that making our own decisions will lead to increased happiness and wellbeing. Taking into account the aforementioned importance of emotions in B2B buying, it makes sense that the same underlying motivation and desire for variety also applies here – particularly when buyers are used to this desire being met when they are operating as consumers, outside of work.

    Furthermore, in the consumer sphere, potential stress caused by an overload of choice is partially tackled through the use of numerous comparison and review services – usually websites – to aid the consumer in making a choice. These decision making aids are not always so readily available in B2B markets – mostly because, by definition, the target audience for products and services is much smaller. One particular area where we have noticed this in our own research is in the utilities sector. While it is very easy for consumers to compare a range of utilities offers from different suppliers on one web page, this is not always an option that is widely available to businesses. The utilities being sold are the same as in the consumer space, the suppliers are often the same, and B2B buyers are used to quick and easy comparison in their lives as consumers – it can therefore be disappointing when the expectations they have built up as consumers are not lived up to in their work interactions. The disconnect between the B2C experience and the B2B experience is apparent.

    Convenience – including next day, or even same day, delivery – may be the most important reason behind the rise in online sales. While experts tend to believe that physical shops will continue, the decline of the high street is difficult to ignore – in the first nine months of 2018, 1,000 retail businesses went into administration and 85,000 retail jobs disappeared from Britain’s high streets.

    B2B online sales are also on the rise, and are predicted to reach over $6.6 trillion globally by 2020. However, many B2B companies remain at least ten years behind where they should be in terms of digital transformation. While it’s true that running a B2B ecommerce channel is often more complex than for B2C – due to B2B’s higher value sales, wider range of payment methods, and complicated catalogues – B2B customers increasingly expect to be able to buy the products they need through multiple online channels, and for those products to be delivered more quickly than they ever have been before – just as they do in their lives as consumers. However, websites of B2B companies are often digital catalogues, containing product information but lacking the ability to actually make the purchase online. Features of successful B2B ecommerce websites include showing prices to signed-in customers who have individually negotiated terms, inclusion of a 24/7 online chat feature, and the ability for customers to save a custom order in order to easily repurchase it. Features like this allow the B2B buyer to replicate their quick and easy consumer experience when purchasing for their business, while the additional needs and challenges of B2B ecommerce are still accommodated.

    There has been a significant amount of commentary about the use of social media in B2B marketing, with a growing consensus that these channels do have a place within the strategies of B2B brands. There are numerous examples of B2C brands with successful social media strategies – one being the baking brand Greggs which has become known for its humorous Twitter feed, most recently handling the backlash to its newly-introduced vegan sausage roll. But it can be difficult for B2B companies to see a place for themselves in this playful landscape. Outside of LinkedIn, which is focussed specifically on business, many B2B companies have a relatively low social media profile. However, and especially considering the increased importance given to establishing emotional connections with B2B buyers, social media is important as it offers a forum for B2B companies to connect more closely and authentically with their target market. Examples of successful B2B social media campaigns include MarketStar’s ‘The Evolution of the “Zombie” Lead’, which uses graphics and storytelling to engage its Twitter followers. Storytelling on social media is one strategy allowing B2B brands to maintain their professional image, while engaging followers with interesting content that reflects the brand’s personality. The use of engaging visual content, particularly on image-based channels like Instagram, can also be very effective for B2B brands.

    The differences between B2C and B2B markets will always be important, but there is much to be gained from considering the similarities. All B2B decision makers have a not-so-secret double life as a consumer, and it is inevitable that experiences enjoyed in the B2C world will shape expectations of what can be achieved in a B2B context.

    Author: Lorna Finlay

    Source: B2B international

  • Competitive Strategy – 6 Ways to Enhance Competitive Intelligence from the Salesforce

    Heard-On-The-StreetWe have been developing a new competitive intelligence process for a client. The B2B company wants to better collect, analyze, and disseminate valuable insights on competitive strategy.

    As with many competitive intelligence systems, especially in B2B settings, much of the most timely and otherwise unavailable intelligence will come from the salesforce. Similarly, the salesforce is in one of the best positions to take advantage of competitive intelligence to better position products, value propositions, and offers to customers to stymie competitive strategy. It is vital, however, to ensure the competitive intelligence process is not simply asking for competitive intelligence from salespeople, and then giving it back to them without adding sufficient value.

    6 Ways to Enhance Competitive Intelligence from the Salesforce:

    • To combat this possibility, here are six enhancements to competitive intelligence that originates with the salesforce to deliver new value:
    • Aggregate information from multiple people to provide a view no one individual has in order to see patterns or spot trends.
    • Perform additional and deeper analysis on the raw information to create new understanding.
    • Communicate information to senior leadership that salespeople feel intently, but that is typically lost in the corporate shuffle (i.e., a regional or niche competitor who is not big enough to get corporate-wide attention).
    • Disprove or verify early rumors salespeople have reported to address the word on the street.
    • Exploit the availability of non-sales sources to enhance the raw intelligence and deliver new information to them.
    • Make if more efficient for sales to gather and especially share competitive intelligence with a process that funnels competitive intelligence to them when they need it.

    Source: Brainzooming

  • Ruimte voor verbetering in B2B lead generatie in Nederland

    Ruimte voor verbetering in B2B lead generatie in Nederland

    B2B leadgeneratie laat nog veel te wensen over. Dat blijkt uit de nationale B2B leadgeneratie benchmark 2019 van Prospex. Hoewel meer dat de helft van de respondenten een omzetgroei noteerde van 5 procent, zijn nog veel wensen onvervuld.

    De grootste uitdagingen voor B2B Nederland zijn het in contact komen met de doelgroep (36%), het verkrijgen van een voorspelbaar aantal leads (38%) en het opzetten van succesvolle marktbewerkingscampagnes (31%).

    Om betere verkoopresultaten te behalen noemen de deelnemers de noodzaak van een onderscheidende waardepropositie, een duidelijke contentstrategie en een effectieve samenwerking tussen marketing & sales.

    Vergeleken met 2018 noemen directies nog vrijwel dezelfde top drie aan prioriteiten. Met stip bovenaan staat: groei, nieuwe klanten werven en betreden van nieuwe markten. Dit geldt voor maar liefst 74%van de deelnemers, gevolgd nieuwe productintroducties (36%) en een hogere productiviteit van mederwerkers (34%). Bij groei en het werven van nieuwe klanten speelt leadgeneratie een hoofdrol. Opvallend genoeg geeft men dit punt slechts een mager zesje als rapportcijfer.

    Zeker 18% van de deelnemende organisaties heeft naar eigen zeggen geen zicht op het aantal contactmomenten dat nodig is om met succes een verkoopdeal te sluiten. Ruim 60% van de bedrijven vindt daarbij dat de fase van suspect naar lead het minst succesvol is.

    En ook al is de nodige kennis over content marketing aanwezig, dan wordt deze nog te weinig effectief ingezet. Met name het maken van unieke en onderscheidende content die leidt tot conversie wordt hier als uitdaging genoemd.

    Het voeren van een actieve dialoog op sociale media, ook wel audience engagement genoemd, zorgt voor een waardevolle stroom aan nieuwe contacten. Slechts 30% van de respondenten is daar mee bezig. Veel bedrijven delen nog vooral product- of referentie materiaal. Relevant zijn op het juiste moment voor de juiste mensen blijkt voor veel bedrijven nog een uitdaging.

    Wel past ongeveer 40% social selling toe. De nieuwe generatie is opgegroeid met content en dit wordt steeds belangrijker. Veruit de belangrijkste uitdaging is om het een onderdeel te laten zijn van de dagelijkse routine van sales. Voor een deel komt dat ook omdat accountmanagers er nog onvoldoende de toegevoegde waarde van inzien en omdat het management het niet omarmt.

    De verwachting is dat social selling de komende jaren zijn plek zal veroveren tussen de andere traditionele manieren van verkoop in B2B als bellen, emailen en klantbezoek.

    Bron: Emerce

  • Why B2B marketers shouldn't neglect B2C data

    Why B2B marketers shouldn't neglect B2C data

    Companies don’t buy goods and services, people do. And people buy for emotional reasons first. So, understanding what motivates people to buy is at the heart of learning why and how they consume. If you are focusing solely on B2B data, then you’re missing a critical piece of the equation.

    In the “age of the customer” where customers are in control, B2B marketers need to understand their prospects in new, sophisticated ways. This requires utilizing data about your buyers at work, but also outside of work.

    Typically, B2B data focuses on role and firmographic information. While B2C data can reveal information providing clues to the emotional reasons and process your customers use when making buying decisions. By combining B2C and B2B data, marketers can develop more relevant content and experiences that meet individual buyer needs. This is proven to increase the ability to contact and engage B2B buyers.

    ‘Integrated’ customer journey

    Customers know when they are being targeted, and often they don’t like it. Let’s say you have an insect problem, and you mention it to a neighbor. Next day a pest control salesman shows up at your door. While it’s convenient that the product arrived right when you needed it, you are naturally skeptical. You feel targeted. Modern day targeting strategy must be natural and non-intrusive. And data-led insight and context is required to achieve that.

    Meeting B2B sales objectives requires thinking big picture, beyond the business, to consider what’s happening in your customer’s life. Real people shift personas and uniforms throughout their day. From 9-5, B2B buyers assume their work persona. From 5-9 they assume their home, friends, family, and general B2C persona. Despite these shifts they are all integrated. What motivates and inspires, but also what scares a customer is essentially the same across work and personal life personas.

    How and why someone buys a specific car, house, vacation or clothing brand is directly related to how a person will acquire a server, services, or consulting.

    Let’s say your customer is passionate about a certain sports car brand. This could indicate that they have a more adventurous and aggressive attitude, which often translates to the same attitude at work. These insights can help B2B marketers craft messaging and offers that connect with these attitudes and leverage them toward their product.

    Cybersecurity for example may not seem like an exciting topic, but marketing it in a clever way can show the more adventurous consumers (who also make B2B decisions) that it’s worthwhile. HP’s campaign of movie shorts parodying the TV show Mr. Robot starred Christian Slater educating people about the importance of cybersecurity. It was a bold move that brought a lot of attention.

    Combining B2B and B2C data attributes are key to understanding the emotional and philosophical nature of your customers. When this is accomplished, messaging and creative and entices buyers to act can be created.

    Data-driven marketing

    Modern customers interacting with a company through different channels (store, website, social media, app) want it to be personal. Marketers who accomplish this across platforms will increase loyalty and trust.

    Data about your costumers must inform what you do. It’s not about applying B2C techniques to B2B marketing. It’s about using more data to become a better, more relevant marketer.

    Combining predictive analytics and machine-learning models with the millions of B2B and B2C data attributes we can collect about prospects nowadays provides the tools to connect 1:1 on a human level. Even better, we can use this data to increase B2B marketer’s ability to expand their reach.

    Connecting with customers is more complicated than ever and reaching them in a modern omni-channel world can be challenging. If you’re a B2B marketer, the first step is to use data to create a 360 degree view of your customer. When you manage to do so, you can reach more buyers with more relevant content and messaging in more mediums.

    Steve Jobs was probably right with this quote: “You’ve got to start with customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” Incorporating B2C data attributes in B2B marketing gets to the heart of understanding your customer, creating tailored customer experiences and reaching them in more relevant media. And that’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind as you strive to improve ROI.

    Author: Collin Dayley

    Source: Insidebigdata

  • Why do B2B companies struggle to find customized Market Intelligence?

    Why do B2B companies struggle to find customized Market Intelligence?

    As a company operating in a B2C environment, life is easy.

    More explicitly, acquiring the right market information is easy. Countless reports filled with rich consumer insights are available at your fingertips. These reports, which cover topics like market size, consumer profiles, competitors, and trends, are easily accessible through sales and marketing professionals. With the right approach, available information can also be directly translated into clear insights on a strategic level. In the boardroom, market intelligence serves as a reliable sparring partner, setting the direction for strategic actions.

    Unfortunately, the opposite is the case for B2B companies.

    Their markets can often feel like a massive black box filled with blind spots. Also, the majority of leading market research companies focus on producing market reports for B2C companies, because the required data is significantly more convenient to obtain and more widely available. Besides, B2C companies are more willing to invest in market intelligence reports, due to the better overall quality of the data and insights.

    However, possessing the right intelligence is also vital for B2B players, especially in the fast changing and dynamic business environment they are operating in. Having access to information about market size, competitors, and industry trends can make the difference between staying on top of your league or to be disrupted.

    Existing market reports for B2B companies are difficult to put to direct action, as they are extremely standardized and frequently based on extrapolations of historical figures. Aside from the inaccuracies, these reports, in general, only provide you with insights about the past, whereas trustworthy market intelligence also helps you to be proactive instead of reactive, with respect to the near future.

    Another issue with these reports is the phenomena of ‘information overload’. Decision makers drown in huge market research reports filled with endless pie charts and tables. By the time they reach page 299, any actionable insight is definitely lost, and the reader is left behind frustrated.

    Sounds familiar?

    Luckily, there are several methods through which professionals in a B2B environment can start creating their own customized market intelligence.

    Today’s world offers one enormous advantage; the availability of rich and infinite open-source intelligence: OSINT. Endless bits and pieces of information are available on the open web; hidden in databases, social media content, trade journals and news articles. Connecting all the pieces of the puzzle in a smart way leads to a better understanding of your market.

    Another method of creating tailor-made market intelligence is through (predictive) modelling. Key factor is defining which variables affect the topic you want to clarify. Take for example market sizing. Some variables might be less obvious than others. Illustrative for B2B companies is that they often act as a shackle in the middle of a value chain. Also, business-to-business products and their applications are more multifaceted compared with their business-to-consumer counterparts. It can be necessary to count back from end volumes of a product and combine this with market characteristics to estimate the market size of a specific commodity.

    The illustrations mentioned above are just two plain examples of techniques that can be valuable. Obviously, many more methods and tools are available. The trick is in finding the right combination of methods and tools. As well as in-depth understanding of how to determine validity.

    However, the bottom line remains unchanged: by combining outcomes of different techniques proper market intelligence can be gathered, even in a B2B environment. Aside, it is important to periodically update your data and insights with new figures and trends. Check and double check your data model with industry experts and internal sources.

    By building market intelligence in a systematic and continuous way, insight in your market keeps increasing and the black B2B box can be whitened step-by-step.

    Author: Kees Kuiper

    Source: Hammer Intel

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