The B2B buying process is complex and time-consuming with various buyer groups, detailed ROI analysis, and multiple vendors for choice. 90% of B2B buyers do not follow a straightforward customer journey. Customers are always on the lookout for the best in terms of price, quality, and service. Data is critical for delivering a consistent and positive customer experience.
To understand the role of data and analytics in B2B customer experience and sales, we invited Samuel Pritchett, Head of Channel Strategy and Analytics at Atlassian to our latest webinar session, hosted by our Head of AI labs, Shashank Shekhar. This article summarizes the key insights from the session on how B2B companies can leverage analytics to engage customers, manage partner networks, and grow sales.
Understanding the B2B customer journey
Unlike a B2C customer journey where just one individual makes the buying decision, a B2B customer journey involves multiple stakeholders from a company. There are several buying group members and group dynamics is involved. The customers, the partners, and the vendors invest a lot of time into the B2B buying process. B2B buyers are also well-informed about the products that they are interested in.
Given the level of digitization and exposure to online resources, B2B customers, today have access to more information than ever before. Most first-time searches happen on mobile devices and various digital channels like LinkedIn, media websites, etc. As per Forrester’s report, 82% of B2B buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from a vendor before making a purchase. The buyer or a buyer group analyzes ROIs, gathers information, checks out trial versions before finalizing a vendor.
AI-based algorithms can help in stage-based anomaly detection in the B2B sales cycle to identify anomalies and find the root cause of the detected outliers. This helps in identifying problem areas that need attention.
The role of channel partners in the B2B ecosystem
In the B2B ecosystem, growing the sales network and engaging with partners is critical. B2B partners help vendors or manufacturers of products to reach more customers. Channel partners play an important role in making the B2B customer experience smoother. For instance, if a vendor has some legacy business process that requires manual intervention or paperwork, the reseller can shield the customer from these processes to deliver a better brand experience.
Artificial intelligence for connected insights
For a successful B2B sales ecosystem, you need to understand your partner’s business and customer’s requirement. To meet customer expectations, partners focus on onboarding vendors who deliver products that match their customer requirements. To drive sales, vendors must appropriately respond to these customer preferences.
AI and analytics help in gaining connected insights to understand the B2B partners and their customers better. For instance, picture a typical car sale scenario that involves the car manufacturer, the reseller, and the customer. With better feedback and data sharing, the reseller can get insights on what customers are looking for in a car and the car manufacturers can get information on user preference for the product. Like this B2C use case, resellers and vendors in the B2B space will also be able to apply advanced analytics and data sharing technology to get real-time insights on customer preference for products.
Analytics for managing B2B channel partners
When it comes to channel partners, vendors are essentially trusting the partner to represent them or their business. It is crucial to get it right. Analytics gives greater visibility into sales partner opportunities and helps vendors in understanding the training requirement for partners. For example, partners that work in one geography may not be the right fit in another location. By identifying partners who need support in terms of training, companies can provide adequate support to channel partners for delivering more value to customers.
Data science for highly targeted marketing campaigns
People today are interacting less with traditional communication channels and drawn more towards digital communication channels. Personalization is the key to driving engagement on digital channels. The more tailor-made and relevant your content and offering is, the more likely the user is to try your service or product. AI can drive highly targeted and effective marketing campaigns for B2B companies. Enterprises can also leverage AI-based technology such as smart chatbots in customer service function for addressing rudimentary and commonly sought customer queries.
With artificial intelligence and analytics, B2B enterprises can thus get real-time visibility and actionable insights to manage their partner network and deliver a superior customer experience. A great customer experience is the key to growth in the B2B world.
Watch Webinar: Turning B2B data into actionable insights