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How can B2B companies adapt to the new normal and create an effective B2B customer experience to win in the post-COVID era? Here are 10 powerful strategies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the B2B customer experience. We are already seeing the outpouring of orders, commotion in the supply chain, changes in customer behavior, store closures, and more.
“Living in the pandemic” has become a new normal, and customers are also rapidly changing their preferences. In such an environment, all the industry experts have opinionated that we might never go back to the old “tried and tested” ways.
Due to this “new normal” in the B2B environment, the focus now is more on interactions with social distancing and reliance on technology.
So, now the real deal is, “Do B2B organizations have it in them to change their strategies in the post-COVID world?” The question is quite simple. But for the answer, you need to contemplate hard on different strategies that help you create a winning B2B customer experience in the post-COVID-19 era.
In the past, B2B companies have been guilty of being laggards when adopting new technologies, especially in reshaping their approaches towards sales, marketing, and customer experience. But the COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially sped up the implementation of transformational tools, processes, and approaches.
But the profound changes that we are observing in the B2B customer experience management will only make B2B organizations toughen up. It is both a problem as well as an opportunity. And, technology has become a big game-changer as well as a differentiator.
Taking these things into account, let me provide you with some must-try strategies that will go a long way in helping you create a winning B2B customer experience in the post-COVID-19 era.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that empathy and concentration on fostering connections will never become an outdated practice. As a customer success manager, your job is to assist salespeople in this particular space by providing an emotional touch while interacting with the customers. This is where authentic marketing comes into the picture.
Being more humane towards customers and showing compassion towards their goals is one of the objectives you should practice as a customer success manager. Today, B2B decision-makers are looking for more humane, personalized, and helpful customer experiences. This will aid in reducing the complexity and save them time. Over here, your role is to make your customers anticipate their requirements beyond the “You liked that, now try this” formula.
Now, achieving this is not all about providing an excellent customer experience. Rather, you need to devote quality time to build valuable relationships. You can do this with the help of data, tools, and automation in combination with intelligence that you gather with each interaction with your customers.
The key here is to provide valuable thought leadership content while building relationships with key individuals. This is much more effective than spending your invaluable dollars in paid advertising or other traditional marketing methods in today’s time.
COVID-19 has forced a lot of companies to come with a stronger inbound marketing strategy. This is especially the case when we talk about those B2B organizations heavily dependent upon lead generation events post-COVID-19.
Winning in the digital space will ultimately boil down to a strong brand presence fueled with the ability to create quality content. As a B2B marketer, your role is to put across multi-format content that educates the customers and provides value to them.
In the post-COVID-19 era, we will not see people spending a lot of time reading a blog by sitting in one place. Of course, with the forced lockdown period across the globe, this was the practice in the past year or so. But, instead, they will probably love listening to a podcast on a walk outside. And, over here, I am not talking about long podcasts but mini podcasts to give useful insights to the customers on the go.
So, it would be the right time to try out all the formats and build audiences across multiple channels. The most successful B2B marketers post-COVID will try new and innovative things during the pandemic. The reason being, they will have gained the upper hand in quickly learning and iterating different content formats before the real picture starts!
For years, B2B customer experience management was about selecting a particular niche and targeting a single platform with riffle-like precision. However, with the pandemic today, those B2B businesses will prosper that are most adaptable. As a marketer, you need to let go of your riffle mentality. It is time to do the market research and spot unique omnichannel opportunities to enhance your B2B customer journey.
Today, we have transformed from a more local “homebody economy” where a local neighborhood and home have become a hub of activities for most families. As a B2B marketer, you need to re-evaluate your media mix in a holistic way across platforms.
Most B2B marketers find it tough to consider using video conferencing, augmented and virtual reality, voice AI systems, and even video games to target their customers. But, the real question is, why not?
The modern-day B2B marketers need to challenge being in the safety zone with respect to the marketing models they use and engage with interfaces across the home. It is time for you to seamlessly deliver your messages through phones, TV screens, voice AI systems, and tablets that are on simultaneously.
You need to “up the ante” as far as your marketing game is concerned and transform it into hyper-local targeting. One way to do this is by tapping into local community pages and networks.
As we get used to the new normal, contactless processes will take over our personal lives. Virtual experiences will become a norm in the post-COVID era. B2B Companies that provide virtual experiences will become a huge hit amongst their customers.
For example, we are seeing a growing number of eCommerce stores providing the option to their customers to see their favorite clothing and even try them with the choice of their color before purchasing it online. This type of virtual experience will become one of the biggest B2B customer experience trends in the post-COVID-19 era.
Data-driven storytelling has become the favorite buzzword of the B2B marketers in the COVID-19 era. Today, with the advancement of technology, companies have a wide array of data that can be used as a data-driven storytelling formula.
You can do this with the help of social listening and other data to comprehend the target customers’ needs. Then you can draft meaningful content that is meaningful to your B2B media and influencers.
Once you catch the attention of B2B media and influencers, your task will become that much easier to draw in customer engagement and sales.
COVID has changed the way B2B companies train their workforce. Pre-COVID, businesses were already drifting towards shifting to online courses and training programs to upskill their employees. One of the major effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was that it accelerated the move towards remote learning.
Although many might think it is a temporary thing, the success of both remote working and remote learning have encouraged B2B businesses to invest heavily in online courses and training to expand their investment. The learning that the remote workers get can be used to enhance the B2B customer experience.
Today, B2BFor businesses can ill-afford to ignore online courses and training. Remote learning has become a trend and will continue to evolve post-COVID too. This is imperative for those businesses that wish to upskill their remote workforce.
As a B2B marketer, you need to understand that every action you take needs to achieve your customers’ objectives. This is where you need to dig in deep and understand what exactly they want. Understand until your customers achieve success, you will not get the desired results.
Understand that the story of your brand is not about your product but your customers.
Try to answer some questions like:
Communicating to your market that your customers are the real heroes of your story will help set the right foot forward in the post-COVID era as a B2B business entity.
Due to restrictions and confinements in the era of COVID-19, people have started to spend most of their time online for entertainment purposes. Social networks like Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok have seen a drastic increase in users. This is where B2B companies can take advantage of this trend and enhance B2B digital experience.
B2B marketers have started to demand more features for marketing and advertising on these types of digital platforms. Just think about the growth of digital networks for entertainment in the COVID era and the new challenge for B2B marketers to increase their presence on these platforms.
There is a huge potential opportunity to attract new users and ultimately create your brand image on these networks.
Events and conferences have seen a drastic change in the COVID era. With the restrictions over the gatherings of large groups, it becomes impossible to gather thousands of people in the same space for events.
If your B2B business depends upon events and conventions, it would be the right time for you to explore online options. Several conferences held traditionally have transitioned to some form of the digital event format. The only thing you will need is to spend some money on a good camera and recording equipment, lighting, or anything else to ensure the success of your virtual event.
This is a blessing in disguise for B2B companies to embrace the change and experiment with different ways to conduct digital events. On top of this, you can leverage social media, email, and other channels to establish and nurture the relationship with your customers.
Due to the restriction laid down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, B2B marketers find it difficult to build connections with prospective customers. To ensure efficient B2B customer experience management, it becomes imperative for B2B marketers to contemplate adding webinars and training courses as a means to build their list of prospective customers.
Each crisis pushes us to retrospect or even reconsider the way we function. 2020 was one such year where we were forced to give up on our comfort zones. As the world of eCommerce platforms witnessed a massive shift, the kind of impact it had on shopping behavior cannot be adjudged.
With the COVID-19 pandemic not going anytime soon, it is time for us to revisit these powerful strategies I have provided to create a winning B2B customer experience. When you apply these strategies, it will help your B2B business get aligned and meet your customers’ expectations.44
Are there any other strategies that come to your mind for creating a winning B2B customer experience in the post-COVID-era? If yes, please post your comment below and share your thoughts with us! We are eagerly waiting for your inputs.
Dattatraya Shetty is an IT Professional with 2 Decades of experience in areas of Product Development, Implementation & Service Delivery Management. As the Head of Implementations and SOC Compliance in Smartkarrot he is on a mission to provide relishing customer experience.
Published September 24, 2021, Updated February 28, 2023
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