But what isn’t different, in terms of B2B marketing, is how people want to be treated by the brands they’re buying from. After all, those six to 10 buyers are still made of individual people, and those people’s expectations have been heavily influenced by B2C standards. But why is this?
With over half of all B2B buyers now millennials, current decision makers are from a generation of one-click purchases and silicon valley hoodies and sneakers. Buying doesn’t have to be complicated or formal – nor can it be if you want to appeal to this demographic. But the influences of direct-to-consumer models wouldn’t have had as much of a grip were it not for the eroding boundaries between home and work life. Even before this global crisis, this was already the case. The advent of personal devices such as pagers, laptops, and eventually smartphones, brought more and more of our work into our homes. And cyclically, this brought more informality to our offices.
Whereas price used to be the biggest factor when considering vendors, this is no longer the case. 80% of B2B buying decisions are now based on a buyer’s direct or indirect customer experience. This leaves only 20% based on the price or the actual offering. Personalized service, next-day delivery, and informal methods and tone of communication have made their way over to the camp of what our B2B buyers expect from us. First impressions matter more than ever too. Business buyers are already 57% down the path to purchase before they even get to your site. This means the tools you use to make a first impression and nurture your leads to conversion have never been more crucial. Businesses must be able to speak to their brands with the same level of sophistication that B2C brands use to personalize their touchpoints. Ready or not, business is about to get personal.
B2B marketing personalization
83% of business buyers say that being treated like a person, and not a number, is very important to winning their business. So, the biggest consideration for B2B models now is to focus on their data in order to offer personalized services.
There are many different ways to personalize experiences for your B2B buyers, and this will depend on the data you have captured as well as the data you are able to pull through in your communications with them. It’s context, after all, that allows us to form meaningful connections with our friends and family members. Knowing key information about them helps you to cater every conversation. You should cater your communications to your business buyers so that they speak directly to them.
Many omnichannel marketing platforms encounter the same problem: they are built with B2C models in mind, and often don’t have the right data schematics to accommodate B2B or hybrid models. For instance, being able to use data fields such as quote amounts and expiry dates, or special pricing for wholesale customers in your communications with B2B buyers is often essential. And yet, few platforms prioritize or allow syncs of these data fields at all. B2B brands may also want to segment campaigns based on company information such as the size of a business or the sector they are in. For B2B, these fields are no more complex than gender or location are for B2Cs. Making sure your omnichannel marketing platform can leverage them is crucial.
This is an excerpt from our best practice guide: ‘How to adopt valuable B2C strategies as a B2B company’, now available for download. To learn how to personalize as a B2B brand, and discover other strategies you can employ, click below.