This post is the second in a series of articles about effectively connecting with customers. To read Part I: B2C, click here.
Similar to the B2C space, B2B shoppers are increasingly turning to online solutions for their business purchasing needs, but at the same time their expectations for offline experiences are very high (Source: Hybris).
Some would argue that delivering to these expectations—including exceptional customer service and building a relationship—is even more critical in the B2B space, since the buyer is typically investing a lot more than the average B2C buyer, both in terms of time and money (Source: Forbes). So, how are companies succeeding? Individual personalization, delivering value and establishing trust. And, doing so with a holistic strategy for each in both their online and offline channels.
B2B companies are spending a great deal of their budget and brain power figuring out how to crack the code on the data they are collecting in order to not only better understand their customers but to also deliver products and services that make them indispensable.
Delivering value in terms of making it easy for the business buyer to understand the value you provide, and by providing relevant, educational information that will help them advance professionally. Content marketing has grown steadily as a key marketing channel to deliver this value. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2B marketers are implementing content marketing strategies, and 70% are creating more content this year (Source: CMI).
Trust is built based on the overall experience with a company, but there is no replacement for meeting face-to-face to establish trust. In fact, events are the offline culmination of everything a company works to accomplish through every channel. Not surprisingly, according to a study from Forrester, in-person tradeshows, conferences, and events occupy the largest share of B2B Marketing budgets in 2015.
From established events like Salesforce’s annual tech conference Dreamforce—the conference is so popular that the company hired a cruise ship for its 2015 event this September to help accommodate the heightened number of visitors to the city—to regional events and customer-specific digital days, events can offer the ultimate opportunity to make that connection with customers.
B2B customers crave what we all crave as humans: connection. Meeting expectations, delivering an exceptional and individualized experience, providing value and establishing trust are cornerstones of any relationship. These qualities don’t make a company simply a great company. They make the people within the company great, too. People other people want to do business with.