B2B Customers Need Lovin’ Too
Connects Marketing Group, Aug. 6, 2013
One of the most vital components of any successful marketing strategy is customer feedback. Or, more to the point, finding out what is NOT working for your customers.That’s right, leads that are qualified OUT are just as important as leads that are qualified IN and pushed along through the nurturing pipeline. Great companies always want to know how they can improve.
Backing up just a bit..
Just a few short years ago, most B2B companies were still completely averse to the customer-centric philosophies that their B2C peers have long since embraced. Today, however, the B2B world is firmly seated on the customer service bandwagon.The problem remains, however, that most B2B marketers are still missing the mark when deciding where and when to focus their budgets.
To right that train, B2B organizations need to develop a much deeper understanding of the modern Customer Decision Journey (CDJ). Where the old sales funnel assumed a linear purchasing path – customers take in information; narrow down their choices; kick the tires, and submit the purchase order – the CDJ moves away from the “funnel” way of doing things. It recognizes that the decision process, in fact, is anything but linear. (Forbes)
The B2B Customer Decision Journey
It’s not enough to identify the decision makers in an organization. For marketing and sales activities to be effective, companies need to focus on those points in the decision journey where they can be most successful in influencing those decision makers. For some that might be procurement or finance. For others, it might be the CMO or even the end user. And for others still they might be a specific set of segments. (McKinsey & Company)
If you want to read more about the Customer Decision Journey, there is an outstanding article here from The Harvard Business Review.
Beyond the CDJ
What marketers need to remember, however, is that just because the way in which we look at the B2B buying and decision-making journey has changed, our customers’ feelings have not. An unhappy customer is an unhappy customer, no matter what our fancy marketing charts and tactics may entail.
These are still facts that any good marketer should be able to deliver to his or her CEO:
- What do our customers think about us?
- What is it about our company that disappoints our customers?
- What can we do to improve?
- Are our customers happy with our customer service?
- What isn’t working?
You may be asking yourself, “Can’t I find that out with some sort of customer survey?” Well sure you can, but a good quality survey takes time and money and usually only happens once per calendar year. “OK,” you say, “but that’s what my sales engineers should be telling me.” In a perfect world, yes, but let’s be honest- do your sales engineers have the resources and time to make that happen?
The Connects Component
With Connects, you get instant customer feedback through daily reporting. This feedback is infinitely invaluable to a CEO and can help companies immediately put more dollars on the top line.
- What products work in certain industries and not in others?
- Are there product features that need to be adjusted?
- Are there business practices that need to be improved or changed?
- Are you happy with your level of service and support?
- Which marketing tactics work and which don’t?
- Should you invest in that industry event or not?
- Do you customers find your e-tools helpful?
- Are there functionalities that would change that opinion?
Markets change so quickly. Your competitors change their products and product positioning so frequently that it can be difficult to keep track.There are too many things in terms of technology and methodologies impacting the market today, and economic struggles impacting your customers as well, to not invest in a daily customer feedback mechanism.
Salespeople usually aren’t frank enough to give you this kind of information. They tend to blame lost opportunities on products, be it price or features, while this may or may not be the case. The truth is that most sales engineers aren’t trained to ask the right questions and actively listen to get this information from people.
Due to time constraints, most sales engineers unfortunately drop the ball when it comes to service and support after a deal is closed. Customer service is so, so important, and Connects does this for you.
Failure is a strong word. It brings on visions of loss and defeat. In business, failure is just as important as success. Companies lose and gain market share all the times. It’s a constant battle to be the best or have the best product. That’s a good thing, competition means everyone has to be working hard to succeed. But for every winner, there are many losers. Failure is important because it helps companies and individuals to identify their weaknesses.
(Source: Mike Fisher, examiner.com)
The bottom line:
No matter how you look at your customers’ decision-making journeys, always remember to find out your customers’ pain points.