How to be a B2B Game Changer
I opened the B2B@Google event hosted at our London offices with over 100 of our B2B clients attending with a call to action to ‘be a game changer’. While B2B is often slow to adopt to digital, there's a need for B2B marketing leaders to embrace change by creating a culture of test and learn and surround themselves with people with the right entrepreneurial attitude, as sometimes incremental change is not enough. This will allow businesses to combat the unconscious decision-making bias that favours the old over the new and the simple over the complex.
According to recent research we conducted with the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), up to 70% of the B2B purchase cycle is complete before first contact with sales. The CEB also found that B2B buyers are often MORE emotionally connected than B2C around purchasing decisions and brands.
At the moment, emotional messages are being communicated particularly at the beginning and end of a buying process, while the middle of the purchase process is focused on business benefits which do not differentiate companies well enough. As a result, companies end up in an unhappy valley where the purchase likelihood decreases. Interestingly, companies that use emotionally charged tactics like social and video are able to maintain a higher purchase likelihood.
B2B buyers are also constantly connected with 65% using multiple devices in the purchase decision, with as much as 25% of searches (for B2B) coming from mobile devices depending on category. The more senior the decision maker, the more mobile they are having left the world of desktops behind in favour of tablets and mobiles. And while data is abundant for B2B, often it is in silos which prevents a single customer view to allow dynamic marketing and communications appropriate for different stages in the buying process.
Decisions made based on experience are often ‘irrational’, especially in new business or competitive environments. Companies that are digital leaders are 26% more profitable today than their slower counterparts in all industries according to Cap Gemini Digital Advantage report. Digital leaders are strong in leadership and fluid in their structure to drive digital transformation in their organisations and have integrated their resources and aligned their measurement to a single customer measurement to make the most of the digital opportunities. They reward trial & failure, allocate resources for testing and collaboration, and align KPIs appropriately. Digital leaders are moving from fixed percentage of revenue resource allocation to demand based resource allocation in order to maximise their growth. Metrics need to not only be transparent, but against measurable business impact rather than simply outcomes.
The first step is to recognise any ‘unconscious decision making bias’ that may be holding you and your organisation back, focus on your customers as people, not just companies and learn from the digital leaders that are showing the way to growth. If you'd like to evaluate the digital savviness of your organisation, please fill in the survey and we will benchmark your results against the rest of the B2B sector.
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