The New B2B Customer Experience: Table Stakes for the Enterprise

Buried in your mountain of customer transaction data, may lie the key to delivering a vastly better customer experience.  In our latest eBook -- The New Customer Experience: Using Data and Analytics to Drive Digital Transformation -- we talk about how B2B firms that are looking to stay competitive, need to make the transition from a “transaction-based” mindset to one based on deeper customer knowledge driven by data. Data that you already have!  This “data-led digital transformation,” is essential for creating better customer experiences that lead to greater customer trust, loyalty and ultimately profitability.  

Transaction-based Mindset

Organizations that operate with a transaction-based analytics mindset have two primary characteristics: 1. they tend to focus on “what happened”—reporting on historical data, and 2. they are company rather than customer oriented.  What’s lacking with traditional dashboards and reports consumed at the management level, is the understanding of why things happened. Sales have fallen for the last three quarters, customer attrition is growing but management often just sees these events in the aggregate, effecting a monolithic group called customers, without a deeper understanding of what is happening in different customer segments that may disproportionately impact results. The other challenge with a focus on past results is that you have no ability to alter the outcomes, that drop in sales already happened, you can’t go back it time. The easy way to determine whether you are operating in transaction mode is the degree to which you understand and can differentiate your customers. Customer segmentation is where every data-led digital transformation begins.  

Transaction mindset is about managers using data to make decisions after the fact, while digital transformation is about sales reps and customer using analytics making decisions in real-time. This transformation is essential to delivering the new B2B customer experience, and it has now become competitive table stakes for enterprises across industries.

Data-led Digital Transformation

The new B2B customer experience is about helping buyers make smarter, faster decisions by being “context-aware” during every phase of the customer lifecycle. Context is most easily understood as the buyer’s current situation or circumstances. Are they a new customer or repeat? What type of customer (size, location, industry sub-segment, etc.)? What are their specific needs/requirements?  Which products are the best fit? When do they need it? What is their price point? What are comparative offerings?  What is their level of knowledge/experience with the product? What other value-added offerings are appropriate?

B2B companies have thrived in the past by having a deep understanding of their customers’ needs and providing excellent personal service. They delivered this high-touch service through direct customer contact with field and service reps. The new B2B customer experience builds on this notion of personal service but augments the personal touch with a digital en­abler: data and advanced analytics that deliver deeper knowledge of customer needs and buying behaviors.  The new B2B cus­tomer experience means anticipating the information they will need to make informed buying decisions, and predicting when, how and what type of support they will need in the future.

Getting Started

To help you jumpstart your efforts, in the eBook, we drill down deeper on the key enablers of your digital transformation journey:

  • Key elements of the new B2B customer experience
  • Four common barriers to digital transformation using data
  • Your essential B2B analytics toolset

In the final chapter, we spell out the best practices for accelerating your analytics initiatives without taking on too much cost or risk. We hope that you find this insightful and informative.