Vital Customer Experience Lessons B2B Can Learn From B2C

Jennifer Schulze

While B2B companies and B2C companies both aim to convert potential customers into paying ones, the way they handle their customers is often quite different. There are many reasons to account for the differences in the B2B and B2C marketing and sales processes; according to Hubspot, some of the most crucial are the length of the buying cycle, ultimate desire of the consumer, closeness of the buyer-seller relationship, and length of the chain of command.

However, just because the two processes have many differences doesn’t mean that B2B businesses should completely disregard the B2C customer conversion experience. In fact, there are many important lessons B2B companies can learn from B2C companies in regards to delivering a great customer experience to people who buy.

Because of the boom in mobile technology, you’re most likely running an omni-channel business. This means that your potential customers should be able to encounter your business and find information about it in many places, including email newsletters, banner ads, social media posts, and blog posts. In order to see what is working for your company – as well as what is not – it is important to gather data from across your customer journey to see which touch points are encouraging your potential customers to move forward and which are causing them to abandon ship.

In fact, according to a study by eConsultancy, customer-journey analysis is now the most effective and valuable conversion-rate optimization tactic. Looking at analytics can help you improve the customer experience in places where it seems to be malfunctioning, ensuring that there are no weak points in your marketing and selling process.

Attempt to cross sell

Cross-selling – or selling a different product to an existing customer – is a very popular tactic with B2C businesses. However, B2B companies attempt it much less frequently. Rather than simply allowing your B2B customers to purchase an item and then leave, offer a complementary or other useful product to them at the point of sale. You can boost business and show your customers that you’re interested in building a deeper relationship.

Remember the people you are selling to are people

One common mistake B2B companies make when interacting with business customers is that they keep interactions strictly professional and numbers-based. This is different from B2C companies, which approach potential consumers as people and attempt to build trust and relationships, often through emotion. If you interact with customers at a B2B business, you shouldn’t forget that those customers are people, too. Try to treat B2B customers like you would B2C customers, and you may end up building strong relationships that pay off time and time again.

Going digital will help

In the B2C world, much of the customer journey is digitized. Companies have apps that allow customers to do things like buy, track, and communicate with the simple tap of a smartphone button. However, B2B companies often lag behind in the digitization process, and most B2B companies don’t offer technological solutions to making the buying journey easier and more convenient. B2B companies should consider offering things like online tracking, so customers can see where they are in the buying process, or an app that allows them to give instant feedback rather than having to make a phone call or wait for an email response.

While the B2B and B2C customer journeys are certainly different, that doesn’t mean that the customers’ experiences also have to be. By looking at the way that B2C companies treat and market to their customers, B2B companies may be able to make smarter and more effective selling decisions, which would ultimately be a win for both the businesses selling and the businesses buying.

For more insight on omnichannel processes that work, see Customer Experience: OmniChannel. OmniNow. OmniWow.

About Jennifer Schulze

Jennifer Schulze is Vice President of marketing for SAP. In her role, she manages customer marketing as part of the office of the COO. She has over 15 years of technology marketing and management experience and is a small business owner in the San Francisco Bay area.