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The trend towards insights-driven marketing has empowered businesses to make bold, nontraditional choices to reach their target audiences. For example, SMS marketing solutions aren’t what you’d typically consider when selling to businesses rather than individual consumers. But the truth is, text messaging can be an effective medium even for B2B transactions. This is especially true when it forms part of a carefully-crafted omnichannel campaign.
The Value of Omnichannel Marketing to B2B Companies
Advances in technology, along with changes in buyer behavior have challenged what used to be considered as proven-and-tested B2B sales and marketing strategies. According to a study led by Accenture Interactive, one of two B2B businesses now consider providing an omnichannel experience as their top priority.
But why is that? What exactly has changed?
For one, there are now more alternatives available for most goods and services. That has made buyers savvier in finding solutions for their companies. Because of that, they demand more information that they can access whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for them. That typically involves several online and offline touchpoints, which makes an omnichannel strategy ideal.
Additionally, the millennial cohort is quickly dominating the buying committees of B2B companies. According to Microsoft’s Global Customer Service Report, 74% of millennials value social media responsiveness while 79% favor brands that can offer support over mobile platforms. This has further made a transformation to omnichannel marketing critical to B2Bs.
Lastly, there is an emphasis on customer experience now more than ever before. Apart from an expectation of greater personalization in the buying process, buyers favor companies that offer seamless processes for accessing information as well as for procuring goods and services. Data-driven marketing combined with omnichannel strategies has allowed B2B businesses to address this change.
How to Implement a B2B Omnichannel Campaign
Unfortunately, transitioning to an omnichannel strategy isn’t just about making your business available on multiple channels. It involves taking a closer look at your customers’ behaviors, gathering insights on their needs and preferences, and reconstructing your business from the ground up.
The best way to implement a B2B omnichannel strategy will depend on the specific nature of your business and the profile of your buyers. Nevertheless, these are the general steps you need to take:
Step 1: Pinpoint your most valuable segments.
Examine your data and determine which companies generate the most revenue for you. Learn everything you can about them, including their communication preferences and engagement patterns. What is the nature of their business and how do they make purchase decisions? At what point in their journey do they start talking to a sales rep? What information is valuable to them and how do they access that information? You need to prospect your leads because they are in different stages of the sales funnel.
Based on the insights you gather, you can divide your most valuable buyers into even smaller segments. The more precise your segments are, the better. This allows you to provide more personalized experiences to each of your customers – inevitably leading to better engagement and deeper relationships that bring in even more value to your company.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have enough data yet, you can use detailed assumptions about your target audience. Then you can collect data and adjust your strategies as you go.
Step 2: Overhaul your customer experience.
Design your customer experience based on a thorough examination and segmentation of your most valuable buyers. Every step in the buying process should be consistent with what you know of your customers. That involves everything from the streamlining of processes to the availability of additional channels. Depending on the channels you need, you might need to consider adopting new technology to make way for social media, email, and SMS marketing solutions.
Additionally, overhauling your customer experience might also mean providing several types of customer experience to address the varying needs of every segment with more precision. To manage this more easily, consider applications that allow you to set up automated workflows.
Step 3: Restructure your business
A customer-centric approach is the only way to shift to an omnichannel strategy successfully. That’s why it’s crucial to design your customer experience even before you start reconstructing your business. But why is restructuring even necessary?
For an omnichannel strategy to work, you need to make sure every area of your business is on board. Remember that a truly omnichannel business is able to provide seamless customer experiences across all channels. The most crucial part of making that happen is restructuring the way in which your company collects, processes, and accesses customer data.
In 2018, a survey led by Microsoft revealed that 76% of customers expect service representatives to have access to their data, most especially their purchase history. But, unfortunately, only 10% of customers say that the representatives they’ve encountered almost always had access to that information. Because this is a key differentiator, it’s essential that you structure your data accordingly.
Data needs to be centralized rather than isolated by channel. Every one of your customer-facing team members has access to the same data, and so you’re able to provide consistent experiences at every interaction.
After restructuring your business to provide the best customer experiences to each of your segments, you’ve fully transitioned to an omnichannel strategy. Unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to constantly examine your data, test your campaigns, and engage your customers for feedback. All that will be necessary to continue providing consistently delightful experiences and, consequently, achieving the highest conversions.
At the onset, transitioning to an omnichannel strategy might seem too tedious and costly. However, it is a change that is undeniably crucial to the success of B2B companies. Thankfully, technology has also evolved to support this shift in buying behavior.
Today’s omnichannel management software doesn’t just allow you to manage social media, web, email, and SMS marketing solutions. They also have powerful targeting and segmentation features to boost personalization, even in the B2B context. By using such platforms to provide data-driven, personalized, and omnichannel experiences, B2B companies don’t just gather sales but also nurture long-lasting relationships with their buyers.
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