Killer strategies for your B2B customer relationship marketing

When you think about your favorite brands and organizations, what is it that stands out?  Usually, it’s more than just the product they sell that puts them at the top.  The experience we have and the journey we go on as a customer is a pivotal factor in our decision to buy.  And, it’s only becoming more and more crucial.  According to Salesforce, 67% of consumers and 74% of business buyers will pay more for a better experience.  And, not only will they spend more — according to Temkin, loyal customers are also 7 times more to be repeat buyers, and 4 times more likely to refer.  From improving customer interaction to offering a high-quality loyalty scheme, customer marketing puts your customers at the center of your marketing plan.  Let’s explore what customer relationship marketing is, how it can help your business and why you should embrace it as a key part of your strategy.

What is customer relationship marketing?

“We elect and buy from people we like.  Likability is number one.  We also need to believe they are honest and have our best interests at heart.” — George Farris

Relationship marketing puts customers at the heart of your brand strategy, and in the core of your marketing mix.  Your customers are your most important business asset — so they need to be treated as such!  All of your marketing efforts; everything you do, say, create or get involved with as a brand will need to consider your customers first.  This could include:

  • Lots of quality communication — from social media output to email marketing.
  • Being responsive — reply quickly, be helpful and don’t ignore complaints
  • Positioning yourselves as experts — create content that your customers will find useful
  • Rewarding loyalty — show your most loyal customers how valuable they are with schemes, rewards, and personalized content or product recommendations

To build effective customer relationships, it is crucial to include it as a part of your strategy from the outset.  Building a great brand reputation can take years — but a simple bad review or displeased customer can make it all come crashing down.  According to Zendesk, 95% of customers tell others about negative experiences, while just 87% share positive ones.  And it has to be consistent — 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience, according to Kampyle.  Recognizing its importance from the start is your first step.

Why should you include it as part of your marketing strategy

“To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.” — Patricia Fripp, Speaker and presentation skills expert

Temkin found that 65% of customers find a good experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising.  So, if great advertising is one of your marketing strategies, but improving customer experience isn’t, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.  Including a focus on customer relationship within your wider marketing strategy will ensure that everything you do as a business keeps the customers’ wants and needs in mind.  It’s not just good for your reputation either — building relationships can improve customer retention and increase opportunities to upsell and cross-sell.  It’s important to remember that it is about more than just good customer service through your online marketing mediums.  While ensuring your social media and customer-facing teams know what they’re doing is crucial, you may have to dig deeper into the business strategy to ensure you’re functioning like a well-oiled machine.

How to implement customer relationship marketing into your marketing strategy

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” — Seth Godin, Author and business executive

The best place to start is at the beginning.  Outline your marketing objectives and then devise a marketing strategy plan to help you get there.  Each objective should work to improve your existing customer relationships and create a strong reputation among prospects — and not just focus on customer acquisition.  Think about defining your audiences through market segmentation and establishing your target market.  This way, you can create a personalized marketing approach, bearing each segment in mind when devising marketing strategies.  The more personalized the marketing communications, the more valuable the experience, and the more likely your customer is to convert.  Use SMART objectives to make sure your goals can be met, and ensure you have the resources and budget in place to reach them.  Develop key messages, select your marketing channels carefully, and monitor your success.  Request customer feedback, ensure there is a two-way communication channel, and prioritize responding, reaching out and building relationships where you can. Don’t be afraid to make changes along the way!  No strategy is perfect, so be ready to adapt if things don’t go perfectly first time.

The importance of a personal approach for your customer journey

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” — Peter Drucker, founder of Drucker Institute

Personalization can work wonders for your business.  According to Epsilon, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand providing personalized experiences.  And, according to Smarter HQ, 72% of consumers will only engage with marketing messages tailored specifically to their interests.  Personalization works.  But personalized marketing materials and promotional offers are just a small part of personalized B2B marketing.  Once a prospect lands on your website, their personalized experience shouldn’t end there.  Website personalization takes customer experience to the next level by giving your website visitors an entirely unique experience.

Webeo has access to the global leading IP address database, so each user’s experiences is tailored based on the IP address they visit from.  Eliminating the need for cookies and ensuring even first-time visitors will receive an unforgettable experience, this is revolutionary for B2B organizations.  Greet brands by name, present personalized content and imagery that meets their needs.  For the ultimate in customer experience, discover Webeo today. Book your demonstration to see the power of personalization for yourself!

How can you improve your customer experience with industry segmentation?

Let’s be honest ⁠— we’re all bothered by poor customer experience.  Even if we don’t say it, it will likely impact our opinion of the company at hand.  A great customer experience affects us in a similar way.  Can you remember a time you walked away smiling after getting great service?  And, because of that experience, have used the same company again?  Our digital experiences are the same.  With the power of online reviews, customer experience is more important than ever.  According to American Express, we tell an average of 15 people about a poor experience.  In contrast, we tell 11 about a good experience.

As a business, getting it right is imperative!  Your customer’s journey starts long before they buy from you.  Everything they have read, seen, or heard about your brand has led them to your site.  Once they land, it is important to make their experience as personal as you can.  That’s where industry segmentation plays a vital role.

Different ways of segmenting customer groups

There are various ways to segment customers.  As a b2b organization, it is beneficial to start with industry segmentation.  Marketers can use this in conjunction with other customer segmentation criteria, too.  Let’s look at what industry segmentation is and how it works.  It’s important to remember who you are selling to.  If your customers are businesses; it’s their decision makers.

Ask yourself: “Who is my audience?”

Let’s say you work with the automotive industry.  That’s a great start!  But, it’s only the first step.  ‘Automotive’ is a broad term and doesn’t help define much.  The same goes for industries like ‘finance’, ‘environment’, or even ‘fast-food’.  Within each of these industries is a multitude of industry segments.  Essentially, these are sub-groups that make up the wider industry.  Getting down to the specifics will help take your marketing strategy to the skies.

Sticking with the automotive example, let’s break it down further.  There are so many ‘sub-groups’ that make up this industry.  Eco-conscious; luxury; off-road vehicles; family run-arounds; sports cars — to name but a few.  These smaller segments of the industry are very different, and so will all have different wants and needs.  The products they want from you will vary.  And, you may even find some of these segments don’t apply to you anymore.

So, what does this have to do with customer experience?

The more personalized the experience, the better.  And that includes business clients too.  By personalizing marketing material, content and websites, customers feel valued.  The easier their experience, the happier they’ll be.  And, the demand for personalization is growing according to Instapage.  By 2020, 51% of us expect companies to make relevant suggestions before they make contact.

Now we understand how to segment by industry, let’s take it a step further.  How else can we split our audience to make their experience more positive?

Customer segmentation criteria

There are four primary ways marketers segment an audience.  They each have their own benefits.  You can find out more about the most popular segmentation approaches here.  Let’s take a brief look at each:

Behavioral segmentation

This sees audiences segmented based on their behavior throughout their buyer journey.  You can break this down by purchase behavior, loyalty, usage, timing or benefits.  We all behave in different ways before hitting ‘buy now’.  And business decision makers are no exception.  You can find out more about behavioral segmentation here.

Demographic segmentation

This divides markets based on groups that make up the population — like age, gender, income, etc.  For b2b organizations, this could include business age, revenue, and demographics of decision makers.  It works to an extent but it’s important to remember similar groups won’t always have the same needs.

Geographic segmentation

Segmenting by location looks at where a customer is based.  It considers time-zones, climate, social factors and competition in that area.  It is straight-forward, and the data is easy to find.  It is a good start but doesn’t offer a lot of insight.  So, it works best alongside another segmentation approach.

Psychographic segmentation

This delves into the minds of customers, and you can apply it to individuals and businesses.  Psychography looks at what your customers are like.  This includes values, beliefs and interests.  Modern-day consumers tend to be more eco-conscious, for example.

The advantages of market segmentation for customer experience

Market segmentation is a great way to improve customer experience.  The better the customer experience, the more likely they are to return.  Customer loyalty improves reputation, enhances CRO and increases ROI.  Acquiring a new customer costs 7 times more than maintaining one, according to Kapost.  There are so many benefits to using segmentation to enhance CX.  Here are some key advantages:

  • It’s a step towards personalization; which should be every marketer’s end goal.
  • It helps you get to know your audience.
  • Once you know your audience, you can give them exactly what they need.
  • You can make their experience positive, easy and more enjoyable.
  • Remember — people talk.  Good and bad experiences will usually find their way to online spaces.
  • Tailored communications keep audiences engaged — from marketing emails to product recommendations.
  • It saves marketers time, saves businesses money, and improves customer satisfaction.
  • Businesses that provide great CX reap the rewards.

Customer experience should be a key part of your marketing strategy.  Inbound marketing is now favored over outbound, and personalization is the expectation.  Tailoring your marketing communications is a crucial first step towards this.  Website personalization is the future of customer experience.  Think Amazon.  It knows who you are, what you like, and makes recommendations based on previous behavior.  This makes your life easier and increases your chances of returning.  Personalized prompts, recommendations and marketing messages have likely increased what you spent, too.

Businesses should get the same level of service when it comes to online purchases.  Webeo is a global leader in website personalization and enables businesses to easily creates bespoke customer experiences.  The leading software tailors the appearance, language and content of a site to meet visitors’ needs.  From product recommendations to personalized messages, Webeo ensures the ultimate customer experience.  To find out more, and see the power of personalization for yourself, request a demonstration today!

7 ways to improve your customer experience

Customer experience is essential for every business, helping improve the client perception of your brand and to drive additional revenue, whilst sparking customer loyalty and advocacy.  Without working to maintain a positive CX, your business could lose a considerable amount of revenue from retention, up-sell and cross-sell.  You could miss out on future new business opportunities and halt the vital development of your products and services.  You need to master customer experience, and these seven top tips are a great place to start:

1) Work on being reachable

To offer an exceptional client experience you need to be ever-present. Reachability outlines how easy it is to discover your brand and reach your team.  Improved reachability boosts customer support and engagement leading to happy clients, so focus on building a dominant online brand presence.  Start by understanding what online channels your customers engage with regularly, and where they prefer to contact your brand; this may be via email, on your website, or even on social media platforms.  Don’t look to simply please a majority by focusing on mainstream channels, it’s crucial that your team are available to help clients whenever they need you, no matter how they approach your brand.

With this understanding, ensure you have a professional and clear presence across all these channels, so should clients search for your business, they can find what they need instantly.  Ensure social media profiles are properly aligned with your brand guidelines, appearing professional and useful to both clients and prospects alike.  If desired, go one step further to create client pages or hubs across various channels, making it even easier to pro-actively offer support and news.  Continue to review client preference, as their ideal methods of communication may flux and evolve, ensuring you can consistently remain fully reachable.

2) Audit and update your client data

Managing a successful customer experience strategy is challenging with incomplete data, and 80% of teams struggle to properly customize client messaging and communications due to a lack of complete or accurate data sets.  When looking to provide exceptional customer experience, understand what data you hold for each client, and audit data sets to assess missing elements.  This enables your team to gather any additional data required to complete client profiles, and check the accuracy of currently held information to ensure future communications reach the best people.
This boosts your customer experience in many ways.  Complete data enables your team to offer pro-active and relevantly personalized communications to increase customer engagement, whilst instilling a sense of trust and commitment in your clients.  They feel valued by your team’s keen desire to maintain strong client relations, better driving the benefits produced by outstanding customer experience.

3) Think long-term

Positive customer experience hinges upon many different factors, but ensuring your product delivers results is key.  Upon making a purchasing decision, clients will have outlined ideal goals they want to achieve with your product and services; it is paramount for CX success to ensure these goals are reached.  If your product doesn’t produce the results for which clients purchased it, they will undoubtedly feel negatively towards your brand and weaken your customer experience.

Always think long term, understanding from the start what clients look to achieve with their purchase, enabling you to encourage plans and strategies that will maximize your product to secure these results.  Your clients will want to achieve a positive ROI from your offering within six months of purchase, so work with every customer to establish what they need to do in order to see a positive return.

4) Gather customer feedback…

Your clients are a valuable source of information.  They use your products and services every day and therefore provide the most exceptional insight into how successfully it produces the desired results, and how easily it integrates into existing business pipelines.  Without this insight, your team will struggle to understand bugs that need fixing, and plan future improvements that continue to benefit clients. When looking to boost retention, you need to be sure products are appropriately developed, and don’t exclude additions many use regularly.

Understand what client insight is valuable to your team and find a solution to easily gathering this information.  Whether you email clients a questionnaire or set up a comments section on your website, ensure your team can easily tap into client intel and properly gather their responses.  Try offering clients an incentive to provide feedback, such as a free product benefit, an offer or enter them into a prize draw.  This way, you both benefit from feedback, and the customer-brand relationship strengthens.

5) …and make sure you use it!

It’s all very well to gather this customer feedback, but make sure you actually use it to drive your product future!  Though your team may have very specific development ideas, or totally new products to build, if your clients are asking for a particular addition or integration, it’s key that you honour their ask, even if it sets your other development plans back a few months.  Work with your team to establish a system of converting client feedback into action plans, understanding what changes will be made, and how long they will take.  This way, you can be sure to continuously offer a relevant and useful product, whilst helping clients feel their needs are being met.

Client feedback is vital, but so is team innovation, so you do need to strike a harmonious balance between the wants of your team and business, alongside those of your clients and their everyday processes.  Ignoring one and indulging the other is dangerous, and may cause your products to stray from their core functionality.  Discover ways to embrace ideas and suggestions from both sources, combining them to create the ultimate business offering for increased customer experience success.

6) Get experimental

Like any key business process, customer experience requires continued review and measurement.  Without it, you’ll likely struggle to understand how clients feel towards your brand and whether client services are properly optimized to increase brand loyalty.

This continued measurement becomes even more essential as the world evolves and new technologies develop.  The preferences and needs of your clients will change to match the wider world, so your strategy needs to be prepared, and able to bend accordingly.  Combining ideas from your team and clients, get experimental and discover new ways to offer customer service and support.  Short-list some ideas and approach a small group of loyal clients, asking if they’d be willing to help you trial some new customer experience strategies.  This way, you can gain client feedback before launching any large changes, and find the most effective solutions to meeting the ever-changing demand of your customers.

7) Offer a customized website experience

A key way to boost your customer experience strategy is to revolutionize your client’s online experience.  94% of buyer journeys start online, and when clients seek to renew your services or invest in additional features, your website is their first port of call.  To optimize customer experience and instantly discover new client lead opportunities, offer them a personalized website experience.  By delivering a bespoke online service, providing relevant and branded content specific to their industry or product purchases, you’ll increase client engagement and produce a seamlessly high-end experience.

With Webeo, you can achieve highly advanced customizations, producing thousands of individual online experiences through one innovative software.  Those using Webeo have seen a 150% increase in sales opportunities and an additional client revenue return of almost 50%.  Your website holds the key to customer experience success.

Strategies to boost online customer experience

Though many businesses measure success based on the number of sales closed and the volume of revenue from new opportunities, it’s important to remember that client retention is just as vital to business growth – if not more so.  Your organization will not expand if you need to constantly close sales to make up for customers lapsing and moving away from your brand to engage with competitor products.  Therefore, customer experience is key; it is the linchpin of business success, consistently ensuring clients have a positive perception of your brand.

What customer experience means for businesses

The customer experience (or CX) outlines how clients perceive your brand and is influenced by a number of factors.  Improving how you interact with clients, the services you offer and the products you provide all help your team to establish a successful CX.  Securing a positive customer experience is vital, keeping every client happily engaged with your business and loyal to your products and services.  This isn’t just beneficial for team and client morale; maintaining an increasingly positive customer experience offers many business benefits.  From improving revenue through retention, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, to boosting sales activity and product relevance; customer experience for many businesses is the secret unlocking future expansion.

Strategies for CX success

As you may imagine, juggling a number of different business processes to maintain strong customer experience can be a challenge.  Client perception is delicately balanced, and the smallest hiccup can set you back to square one.  Your team need to build sturdy customer experience foundations for the best chance of success, and these strategies are a great place to start.

Improve website usability

This may seem simple – too simple to affect such a vital business process. But you’d be surprised at what an integral service your website offers, remaining an online hub for both clients and prospects alike.  As 94% of B2B buyer journeys start online, it’s easy to understand what a vital piece of customer service equipment your website really is. But if your website experience is clunky and difficult to navigate, clients will get frustrated when looking for contact details or product support information.  This causes disgruntled clients to contact your team directly, lowering their morale and hindering their chance of offering exceptional customer service.

By making small improvements to your website usability, you can improve user navigation (UN) and user experience (UX), which both benefit your team enormously.  For example, if you were to set up a “client” tab on your website, allowing quick and seamless access to customer information and account management contact details, you would immediately benefit your customer experience, as clients know precisely where they can access the desired information.  Of course, you could embrace website personalization to take this to the next level, but more on that later…

Embrace behavioural targeting

Behavioural targeting combines website user information with previously gathered knowledge surrounding online behaviour and client preferences to improve the channels and methods of communication.  Whether by email or social media, through your website or an online advert, sending communications tailored to individual client needs and reflecting recent purchases improves the customer experience, helping each client feel properly catered for.  This strategy additionally aims to combat one of the largest challenges hindering customer experience experts – finding a solution to contacting clients on the appropriate or favoured channel, at the opportune moment.

To master this strategy, you’ll need to discover how to gather the desired data needed. 80% of B2B organizations struggle to conduct campaigns driven by behavioural targeting due to incomplete data sets.  Ensure you know the metrics you need to measure for useful behavioural insights, and which software solutions you can use to gather this essential data.  Understand also what contact data you may need from your clients to effectively conduct behavioural targeting – do you have up-to-date email addresses and LinkedIn profile connections?  Though behavioural targeting takes a little time to plan, it offers your clients a higher-quality brand journey for improved CX, and strengthens your teams understanding of client identity, allowing them to offer a heightened level of service.

Focus on customer support

Customer support and customer experience are not the same, though one heavily influences the other.  Without offering your clients attentive and useful customer support, with an optimistic and pro-active outlook, you are not likely to achieve the customer experience you desire.  The processes used to learn about client problems and difficulties, combined with how you solve their problems to ensure they are not repeated, all feed into valuable customer support.  Focusing your time and efforts on improving these processes, so your service is second to none is key to achieving the ultimate customer experience results.

Though this strategy also outlines another key challenge for many businesses – how can you offer support that is genuinely continuous and universally beneficial?  If you offer several different products, to a vast array of clients across multiple countries and time zones, answering this question is very difficult.  Start by understanding what support you currently provide and find practical ways to streamline these systems.  Do your clients regularly call your headquarters and need to be transferred?  If so, can you set up a direct client line, or encourage fewer calls by offering additional self-service options?

Try recording the questions most frequently asked, and the challenges your clients and team tackle daily.  From here, find out how to best update your product so these problems don’t happen, and how you can offer the required support without directly needing personal contact from your team.  This keeps them free to offer more detailed support for large, pressing problems, and helps your clients access the support they want with ease, at any time, from anywhere.

Create client content

Whilst many businesses create plenty of content for prospects and sales leads, building product value and sharing expertise to encourage purchasing interest, it’s important to remember clients enjoy content too! Especially when it can help them see an additional return from their investment.

When making a purchasing decision surrounding your solution, every client had a goal they wanted to use your product or service to achieve.  It’s important your team know about this goal (or goals) and work with clients to ensure they achieve it as soon as possible.  This is where content can come in handy.  Let’s say, for example, you invest in a new email service provider or a system offering email marketing analytics; it’s safe to assume you’d like to improve your email marketing!  Wouldn’t it be useful to have some free, best practice guides around writing great email copy for increased conversion and conducting cost-effective campaigns?  Wouldn’t this content ensure a more successful first campaign, helping you see the best results from your new investment?

Creating a library of resources especially for clients vastly improves customer experience, as customers can instantly maximize on their new purchases, gaining the results they want.  They will see a revenue return sooner than before and as your content continues to fuel them with new ideas and additional information on product features, they’ll be experts in no time!

Discover website personalization

We’ve already mentioned how key your website is to customer experience success, and a great way to offer an exceptional, stand-out online journey is with website personalization.  This process allows you to dynamically change website content to meet the needs, preferences and requirements of visiting businesses.  Much like how Amazon suggests products akin to those already purchased, you can revolutionize your website experience to welcome customers back by name and offer them content tailored to their specific needs.  Whether it’s product user manuals, new feature announcements or industry-specific collateral, fuelling your homepage with client-centric information revolutionizes the customer experience.  Not only does every client feel individual and special, but they also gain instant service and continually understand the value your product offers their business.

You may be concerned that offering these bespoke website experiences is complicated, and needs an amount of complicated coding and technical genius – but we can assure you it’s actually very simple!  With Webeo, you can quickly and easily create endless different website personalizations, through one simple software solution.  With A/B testing features and additional reporting services, Webeo lets your team offer exceptional website personalizations to make a great impression on every visit.