Marketing trends are constantly changing but the importance of customer engagement is an aspect that remains very constant.
There's also a profound difference in the way B2C and B2B companies engage with their audience.
When selling directly to a customer, you have to appeal to their emotions to prompt a purchase.
For B2B companies, the target market is entirely different.
Businesses work hard to streamline their processes and operations to cut down on costs. So most purchasing decisions are based on logic. With this in mind, as a B2B company, how can you increase your customer engagement?
Since customer engagement can mean something slightly different to everyone based on their industry and business goals, let's use a stong definition. The one we prefer to use is that of Paul Greenberg from HubSpot.
"Customer engagement is the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer."
Customer engagement is about more than just customer service and satisfaction. It's a crucial business tool that generates new leads, helps reconnect with existing consumers, and increases profits.
Having a good customer engagement strategy can increase revenues significantly. This discovery has caused businesses to make engagement a priority.
To understand if your efforts are turning into business, you will need to measure and track the engagement you generate. There are a few methods you can employ to track your engagement effectively to know where to focus your time and money.
This is not as simple as just tracking the number of visitors and sessions you have on your website, that is just the beginning. To get a full understanding you will need to look into the individual pages that are racking up those sessions.
Identify which pages are providing your customers with the most engaging content, which pages are converting the best and which sources are bringing in that traffic form the basis of tracking your website engagement.
You could be sending thousands of emails a month but if those emails are going out to the wrong people at the wrong time without personalised and relevant content, you are wasting your time. But how do you know if that’s what’s happening?
Begin with your lists that you are sending too, ensure they are segmented correctly with the right personas in the right stages of their buyers’ journey. Then looking at your open rates you will see if the emails you are sending is meeting their requirements.
You will then need to look at click rates to see which content in your emails is generating the most clicks. You will begin to see which content your audience is finding the most engaging and what you should be focusing on.
The basic measurements of likes, comments and follows all indicate which content your audience is finding useful and helps you further identify which customers/ leads are in which stage of their journey.
If your customers keep coming back for more, you’ve got to be doing something right. This information can also help you hone in on the services that your customers actually want and what your business should be focussing on.
Through the Net Promoter Score, you can identify how likely your customers are to recommend your services. This will help you improve your services and customer experience.
Predictive analysis equips you with the relevant information to fulfil all your customer's needs. Based on research from the Aberdeen Group, organisations that focus on predicting customer behaviour have twice the customer lifetime value. The passive data of your customers contains information such as their history, expectations, wants, etc. which can then be used to create marketing strategies that address all their needs.
Most B2B companies focus on their sales strategies and forget to show their customers how much they mean to them. In fact, more than 65% of businesses lose their customers because they are indifferent and lack apathy.
Personalised customer support is a reflection of how much a company values their clients. It is also as easy as installing a live feature on your site and having one of your support staff attend to queries on a real-time basis. The live chat feature will also increase conversions considerably, as you will be providing solutions to your clients at the exact time they need it.
Before companies make a purchasing decision, it is preceded by extensive research, which is why landing pages are important. However, having a landing page is not enough; you need to include a call to action.
Which action do you wish your clients to make? Do you want them to ask for a quote or call you? For increased engagement, a 'call us' button won't work. You have to provide the customer with value and offering free trials is one effective way of doing that. Let them try your solution first and then upsell it.
You could also offer free reports or a free demo for your service.
Did you know that approximately half of B2B buyers rely on testimonials and referrals?
Direct referrals are critical when it comes to B2B sales. Customers are likely to trust a recommendation from a trusted source than they will your sales team. Increase customer engagement by asking your past clients for referrals and recorded testimonials.
It's vital that your target market has confidence in your products or services and having your customers advocate for your brand is extremely effective.
You may be dealing with other businesses but the fact is that you will be selling to people. As such you will have to create connections with the decision-makers by creating a story around your brand. People don't buy products or services, they buy stories. Use storytelling to create lasting connections with your target audience.
Create videos demonstrating the lengths you go to create solutions for your customers. Show some behind the scenes photos and highlight your employees on social media. By humanizing your brand, customers will find it more approachable.
Everyone has questions and is eager to learn something new to solve the problem they or their customers face. If you can identify that potential problem and know of a solution, share it.
There is no need to be afraid of giving away too much information, if your potential customer knows they can turn to your company for answers, they are that much closer to converting.
Much like B2C, B2B audiences expect a prompt response to their queries. Especially when querying about costing or signing up as they may be in the decision phase and deciding on which business they will best provide for them.
Time in this case really is money. Set guidelines and dedicated personal/ teams to handle these queries timeously.
Your customers probably have the same challenges, issues and victories, therefore they can relate to each other in some way. You will also find it beneficial for your customers to share their successes and the solutions you provide with that community.
This community can attract new potential customers seeking a solution to a similar problem they are facing. Having your community share that solution builds trust in your brand and inspire advocacy and loyalty.
Your community will need your active participation and inspiration to work effectively. Moderators should confirm the solutions provided and jump in when none is put forward.
Sometimes you will need to be strategic in your effort to generate engagement. This can be achieved by rewarding customers for said engagement. This should be done with intent and the customer at heart. The most successful rewards come from a win-win mindset.
You could set up rewards along the customers’ entire engagement journey, from offering certificates for training, sharing your customer success stories to hosting a customer awards event.
These rewards should be in line with your business and customers goals. If you aren’t sure what to offer, ask your customers.
Building an effective nurture campaign will position your business in front of your customers at the right time with the information they need most. This begins with mapping out your customer journey. This journey identifies all important touchpoints, bottlenecks, and challenges your customers may meet.
Knowing your customer, where they are at and where they are going is essential for converting and upselling. This will aid in your personalisation of content and conversion rates.
An effective nurturing campaign can be as simple as a pop-up on your site to a returning customer offering relevant content, to providing free trials and upgrades.
B2B buyers engage more with live content as opposed to blogs and emails. Go live on your socials and give your client a chance to ask you questions and interact with your company.
There you have it. The above tips will win you more clients while helping you retain your current ones. Please feel free to contact me to learn more on B2B customer engagement.
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