In the B2B world, customer centricity is a particular challenge. Marc Bohnes, Product Management Director of Episerver (soon to be Optimizely) explains the current state of affairs and shows possible solutions. It is not just since the corona crisis that new contacts between companies and their customers are increasingly being made over the Internet. Every successful manager knows that digital channels are essential for contact between companies and their target groups across all industries. This trend has been observed for many years. Nevertheless, according to the, there are still a lot of difficulties with the implementation. 71 percent of under the current B2B digital experience report Decision-makers surveyed by Episerver (Optimizely) say they are still unable to offer a digital experience that fully meets the needs and expectations of their customers.
The customer in focus: digital channels are becoming increasingly important, also in the B2B environment
The digital customer experience and customer focus also play an increasingly important role in the B2B area. And not just against the backdrop of the pandemic. Only 14 percent of those surveyed state that they prefer visiting a traditional trade fair to a digital channel when it comes to finding out more about a B2B company. 60 percent of those surveyed prefer to get information on a company’s website. This is followed by contact by email (47 percent) and a good old phone call (42 percent). The website of a B2B company therefore plays a central role in establishing contact with potential customers.
In this context, companies face several challenges: They have to determine on the basis of data who exactly their customers and target groups are. Then they have to find out what each and every customer expects from them. In addition, they ultimately have to put themselves in the position of realizing a correspondingly personalized customer experience. What you need for this is the technological infrastructure to collect and evaluate the required data and effective content management. What sounds relatively simple in theory can be difficult in practice for a variety of reasons.
Openness and the courage to change as a basis for success
The respondents from Episerver (Optimizely) name several factors in this context that often lead to the failure of corresponding digitization projects. The problem often begins with the corporate culture and the lack of will to change. Not every decision maker believes that continuous development and adaptation is necessary for the survival of a company. But even where there is the will to digitize, projects can prove to be a dead end. This can be due, for example, to the fact that the desired results cannot be achieved with the software used or that employees in key positions leave the company and the project cannot be continued or only with great difficulty. Last but not least, in some cases there is simply a lack of the necessary budget or the time capacity to tackle digitization projects.
These obstacles lead to the realization of what is necessary for a successful digital transformation: openness and courage to change on the part of management, motivated and reliable project managers as well as the right technology. If these prerequisites are met, digitization projects almost always succeed. The B2B digital experience report shows that across industries, 82 percent of those surveyed have gone through a digital transformation project with their company. 97 percent of these projects were successful.
Customer focus in the B2B environment – more focus on individual customer needs
The key to customer centricity is personalization. In the B2B environment, too, potential customers expect companies to offer them an optimized and individually tailored customer experience. Against this background, it is not surprising that 60 percent of the decision-makers surveyed by Episerver plan to invest in technologies that enable personalized customer communication by 2022. 93 percent state that personalized content on their website has already increased the company’s sales.
The results of the report leave no doubt that most decision-makers are aware of the importance of digital channels for a contemporary customer experience. Many have already gone through successful digitization projects. In terms of customer focus, however, what is often still missing is a precise insight into the structure of target groups and their individual expectations and needs – and the ability to react to them. What is primarily needed for this are future-oriented management and openness to the implementation of suitable technologies.
Also read: Customer Journey Touchpoints – the right touchpoints just-in-time.
As Product Management Director, Marc Bohnes is responsible for products that deal with personalization (of products and content), customer data and AI within the customer-centric Digital Experience Platform from Episerver (Optimizely).