As B2B content marketing has evolved from simply telling buyers what brands want them to know to creating more useful content, there’s been a shift in perspective. Rather than egocentrically pushing out information, smart B2B brands are empathizing with buyers and focusing more on the experiences that marketing can create.
Let’s face it, B2B buyers expect more from the brands they buy from and to meet those expectations, business marketers must embrace a more customer-centric approach to all things B2B marketing.
At the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Dina Otero, VP of Demand Generation at Mission Cloud gave a presentation, Embracing Customer Centricity: The New Rules of Marketing that showcased the importance of a customer-centric approach and how ABX (Account Based Experience) plays a role in delivering the kinds of customer experiences that help build brand loyalty, foster positive word-of-mouth, and increase customer lifetime value. Happy customers = more revenue.
There’s a lot to be said on this topic and Dina did a great job of sharing her insights. For those readers who prefer to scan content, here’s a TLDR of this post:
- Customer centricity is understanding customers’ situations, perceptions and expectations. It demands that the customer is the focal point of all decisions to create satisfaction and loyalty.
- Customer-centric marketing helps build brand loyalty, fosters positive word-of-mouth and increases customer lifetime value.
- To become customer-centric, listen to customers, understand their needs, personalize their experience and measure satisfaction.
- Ensure every employee lives the customer experience. Build it into your mission and values.
- Improve the quality of data and make it consistent and available. Use technology to connect with customers.
- Track NPS (Net Promoter Score), capture feedback and make it easy.
- Think long term with heartfelt thanks, relational vs transactional approach and increase customer lifetime value.
- Account-Based Experience orchestrates relevant actions throughout the customer lifecycle. It results in higher close rates, post sale expansion and better customer experience.
- To implement customer centricity: inspire the whole company, build the right team, think sustainable tactics, build content for every stage and implement ABX beyond new logos.
Dina gave her presentation in the context of her work at Mission Cloud, which is a company that provides cloud computing services focused on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and offers solutions including cloud strategy, migration, optimization, and managed services.
What is Customer Centricity?
“Customer centricity is the ability of people in an organization to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. Customer centricity demands that the customer is the focal point of all decisions related to delivering products, services and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” – Gartner
Dina opened with a famous story about my pal Peter Shankman who once tweeted a request to Morton’s Steakhouse that he would like a porterhouse waiting when he landed at Newark airport. And they delivered the steak. Of course this story went viral and served as a great customer “delight” experience.
What can B2B brands learn from that example? Working towards being more customer-centric can create B2B customer delight opportunities as well.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” Simon Sinek
Dina advised that for B2B brands to become more customer-centric, they should listen to customers, understand their needs, personalize their experience, and measure their satisfaction. She also shared several best practices:
Build a customer-centric culture – Ensure that every employee, from the CEO to the front-line worker, understands the importance of prioritizing customer needs. Incorporate customer-centric values and vision into the company’s mission.
Improve your data – Enhance the quality of your data to gain better insights into your customers. Make sure the data is consistent and easily accessible to everyone in the organization. Utilize technology to connect with customers and collect relevant data.
Capture customer feedback – Actively seek feedback from your customers through methods like Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer surveys, and customer advisory boards. Use this feedback to understand their preferences, pain points, and expectations.
Think long term – Adopt a long-term perspective when engaging with customers. Focus on building relationships rather than just completing transactions. Show gratitude for customer loyalty, provide sneak peeks of upcoming features or products, and engage customers through social media to gather feedback and thoughts.
The Value of ABX in Customer Centric Marketing
Account-Based Experience is a go-to-market strategy that uses data and insights to orchestrate relevant, trusted marketing and sales actions throughout the B2B customer lifecycle. According to research from the ITSMA, 58% of marketers said that ABM plays a major role in making their entire company more customer-centric.
The benefits of an account-based go-to-market approach are clear and well documented:
Zero waste: ABM eliminates the scattergun approach by focusing on high-value target accounts. It ensures that marketing and sales efforts are directed towards the most promising opportunities, reducing wasteful spending.
Bigger wins: By targeting specific accounts, ABM increases the chances of securing larger deals. It allows for a more personalized and tailored approach, addressing the unique needs and challenges of each account.
Better close rates: ABM strategies typically result in higher close rates. By nurturing relationships with key stakeholders throughout the account, ABM helps build trust, credibility, and alignment, increasing the likelihood of successful conversions.
Drive post-sale expansion: ABM doesn’t end with the initial sale. It continues to focus on nurturing and expanding existing customer accounts. By providing ongoing value and personalized experiences, ABM helps drive post-sale up-sells, cross-sells, and renewals.
Better customer experience: ABM puts the customer at the center of marketing and sales efforts. By delivering relevant and personalized interactions, ABM enhances the overall customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Align marketing and sales: ABM encourages closer collaboration between marketing and sales teams. By aligning their efforts around target accounts, ABM breaks down silos, improves communication, and ensures a coordinated approach to driving revenue.
Dina finished her presentation with these takeaways on B2B brands becoming more customer-centric through ABX:
- Inspire the whole company to think about the customer first
- Build the right team
- Think personalized but sustainable tactics
- Build content for every stage of the lifecycle
- Implement ABX beyond new logos
- Thank big, but start small
To drill down even deeper into the topic of a more customer centric approach to B2B marketing, check out these top posts:
To learn more about how B2B content, influencer, search and social media marketing can help your B2B brand deliver better customer experiences and impact revenue, check out our solutions page and case studies.
Lee Odden has been recognized as a top B2B Marketing professional by Forbes, The Economist and the Wall Street Journal. For over 20 years he’s worked with his team at TopRank Marketing to help elevate the B2B marketing industry through creative marketing programs that deliver more authentic, experiential and inclusive content for brands like LinkedIn, Dell and Adobe. Lee is the author of Optimize and has published over 1.4 million words on his agency’s B2B marketing blog. As a trusted marketing thought leader, he has given nearly 300 presentations in 20 different countries on B2B content, search and influencer marketing. When not marketing, Lee is probably running, cooking or traveling.