Anantha Ramachandran - Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Dynamics 365 Marketing
The selling landscape is undergoing fundamental changes, many of them driven by the effects of B2B customers’ experience as everyday consumers. Many retailers have created personalized, nearly immersive, online experiences for each customer. Consumers shopping for goods and services continually experience fresh and delightful interactions, from highly customized offers and recommendations to frictionless channels to 24/7 interactions.
The impact of B2C on B2B
Today’s B2B buyers have high expectations, and those expectations will not be met if B2B buyers are accustomed to sophisticated consumer interactions in their personal lives. Executive B2B buyers are not impressed by marketing driven by large, relatively impersonal data analysis that leads to inconsistent and conflicting interactions or sales outreach that doesn’t cater specifically to their needs at the right time.
The source of the problem may be largely invisible to the companies perpetuating this issue. Many organizations believe themselves to be customer-centric, while their buyers may not agree. That’s a significant disconnect. Clearly, B2B has much to learn from B2C companies.
Customer experience – the rewards for getting it right
Many B2C organizations have strategically embraced modern technologies like customer data platforms (CDP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to gain a 360-degree view of their customers and follow through on those insights to optimize customer engagement.
The rewards for getting this engagement right are substantial. Many buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. In terms of the potential benefits a great experience can have on sales success, a McKinsey study reported that organizations can expect:
- 10-15 percent lower customer churn
- 20-40 percent increase in the win rate of offers
- Up to 50 percent lower service costs
Take a new approach
B2B companies must move away from their legacy approaches based on large, relatively impersonal data analysis and move to solutions that unify relationship data across the full customer lifecycle. That way, they can gain insights that help build credibility and trust with buyers. They can run multi-channel campaigns to increase sales-ready leads, create personal experiences, and use guided process and AI to anticipate and respond faster to customer needs. They can build the ongoing, high-quality relationships that are necessary for long-term success.
Four principal goals
Turning prospects into engaged customers is a process. In order to achieve these goals, organizations must focus on 4 key priorities:
- Nurture more demand
- Personalize buyer experiences
- Build relationships at scale
- Make insight-driven decisions
Each of these drives results by using deep reservoirs of data in making technology feel more human.
Nurture more demand
Relying only on conventional, basic email marketing as the primary source of leads is simply not effective enough. In fact, the more focused and demanding the customer universe is, the more essential it is to gain deep insights into what those customers expect. Northrop & Johnson, a leading global yacht brokerage, competes for multi-million dollar customers using technology its industry has been slow to adopt. Using Dynamics 365 for Marketing has created a decided competitive advantage: Vital insights into their customer base have helped to drive a 70 percent increase in charter sales.
In any industry, companies need to generate leads across multiple channels, nurture large numbers of leads while prioritizing each one, and use data-driven insights to deliver leads that are sales-ready. Nurturing more demand is critical to growth.
Personalize buyer experiences
It’s time to end friction, inconsistencies, and the “do you know who I am?” part of the customer experience. Companies can acquire a holistic view of buyers, predict buyer intent, and orchestrate a connected, personalized journey for customers.
In an era where guests have more choices than ever for leisure and entertainment, Tivoli delights its guests by using Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to stay one step ahead of expectations and transform the guest experience. With its deeper understanding of guests, it can add new chapters to its long tradition of imagination and innovation.
Build relationships at scale
Mutually beneficial relationships don’t simply happen with more data. Companies need to build credibility to establish and grow relationships with customers.
As HP approached its 80th anniversary, the global technology innovator decided to embrace new capabilities that would help it create the sales workforce of the future. HP already has one of the world’s largest implementations of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. For the next step in its journey, HP decided to use Microsoft Relationship Sales, which combines Dynamics 365 for Sales with LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Within just four months of rolling out the training program, HP noticed it was generating significantly more leads through relationship selling.
Together, Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn enable the company to have increased information about, and impact on the sales relationships that are added to its sales pipeline, even as that pipeline experiences exponential growth month over month.
Make insight-driven decisions
Here’s where sales and marketing can truly align: utilizing data to uncover insights that lead to better-informed decisions throughout the sales process. This can improve performance, empower employees, and enable the company to gain increasingly effective strategic insights.
With more than 1,500 pubs serving guests throughout the UK, Marston’s launched a business transition by bringing together guest data that was scattered across multiple systems into Dynamics 365. With their locations’ guest data now unified, Marston’s will gain a complete view of guests, which can be harnessed to generate customer satisfaction and strategic insights. This approach helps drive improved performance throughout the company, including the opportunity to empower employees – an often-overlooked aspect of a company’s success.
Aligning sales and marketing: The intelligent way to succeed
It’s possible to create exceptional experiences, drive more qualified leads, and increase revenue if an organization has the vision, process, and technology to harness all the data available. This requires high-level technology with well-defined business goals and sales and marketing applications fueled by keen intelligence. We have a compelling offering to accomplish just that with Microsoft Dynamics 365.