Building customer relationships starts with creating an exceptional experience across all touch points of the customer journey. But what does a successful customer experience look like for B2B organizations and how are marketers working to improve their strategies?

To help you answer this question, Ascend2 and Insightly fielded the Building Better Customer Experiences Survey. This report, titled Building Better B2B Customer Experiences, represents the opinions of the 111 marketing professionals responding to the survey who operate exclusively in the business-to-business (B2B) space.

Peek inside: The customer experience has become a key differentiator for B2Bs and when executed successfully, gives organizations a strong competitive advantage. In fact, 100% of the B2B marketers surveyed agree that delivering an exceptional customer experience is important. 83% of B2B marketers that it is extremely important to success while another 17% of those surveyed say it is somewhat important.

Budgeting for improved customer experience may show up in additional heads on the customer service team or in a training resource across the whole company. However it also may show up in the tech stack as an investment in a chat bot or even a customer survey tool. As such, planning for it involves multiple teams and a variety of resources. This is why it can feel complex.

Methodology: Survey respondents were 51% owner/partner/C-level, 35% Vice President/Director/Manager, and 14% non-management professional. Company size ranged from more than 500 (14%), 50-500 (22%) to fewer than 50 (64%). It includes eight insightful data points to help you and your organization in your quest to build better customer experiences. This research has been produced for your use. Put it to work in your own marketing strategy. Clip the charts and write about them in your blog or post them on social media. Please share this research credited as published.

Research Report: Why Customer Experience is Priority One for Revenue Growth

As we head into what is likely to be an economic slowdown, businesses will need to be smarter with their marketing dollars. 

Growth by generating new leads business is expensive, while expansion or upsell into your existing customer base is much more cost effective. Referrals from your existing customer base are literally free and are like gold.

How do you ensure that you can sell more into your base or get those valuable referrals? It’s by delivering exceptional customer experiences that turn customers into brand advocates and – if you’re really good – brand champions. 

New research from Insightly and Ascend2 is shedding light on building better customer experiences. They interviewed more than 100 go-to-market professionals in various industries; more than 50% were at the Owner/Partner/C-Suite level. Let’s take a look at what they had to say about building better customer experiences.

Full agreement: Customer experience is important

Right off the bat, it’s pretty ubiquitous that delivering exceptional customer experience is important. Glad we got that out of the way! All respondents indicated its importance, while an overwhelming majority (83%) said it is extremely important.

This first data point shows that B2B professionals have gotten the message: customer experience shows up on the bottom line. Whether it is new business, expansion or retention dollars, customer experience cannot be ignored.

Now let’s move on to the harder parts.

What are the challenges of delivering exceptional customer experiences?

When asked this question, B2B marketers first went to budget and strategy. These two factors are interesting in that in both cases, it means adding tactics of customer experience into planning sessions that are typically four-to-six quarters out. They both require a shift in thinking and processes that must be felt through the entire go-to-market team. 

Budgeting for improved customer experience may show up in additional heads on the customer service team or in a training resource across the whole company. However it also may show up in the tech stack as an investment in a chat bot or even a customer survey tool. 

As such, planning for it involves multiple teams and a variety of resources. This is why it can feel complex.

To be successful in improving customer experience, respondents realize that in addition to their strategy, they will need to align their teams. Aligning departments and the technology they use enables organizations to offer personalized experience across different touch points in the customer journey through post-sale. 

The use of common software platforms can be a major step in this direction. For example, rather than having different vendors for your CRM, marketing automation platform, and customer service ticketing tool, Insightly puts all of those applications together in one platform. With visibility and a single login, it’s easy for all users to get a complete picture of the user experience. 

How does this show up in practical improvement of the customer experience? Here is an example: when a member of the marketing team can see that a customer has two customer service tickets open, it is likely that now is not the right time to ask for a customer testimonial. Without that insight, he or she may reach out and further aggravate the customer. Waiting until that issue is resolved would help the customer feel seen, heard and understood, and create a positive customer experience. 

Start building a customer experience strategy

The professionals surveyed indicated that the top two ways to provide a successful customer experience are to resolve customer problems (60%) and connect with customers in real time (43%). Think of yourself in the role of the consumer; both of these sound pretty great, right? It’s important to note that both directly relate to the next data point about employee enablement. Without trained and capable employees, the two key areas of resolution are not possible. 

Respondents pointed to training and coaching (37%), improving access to product/service knowledge (37%), improving overall employee experience (36%), and integrating technology (35%) almost equally as important employee enablement tactics. All of these factors give employees what they need to deliver personalized, consistent, and exceptional experiences to their customers.

However, only 43% of respondents are currently sharing information across teams “extensively,” while 8% are sharing “very little” or “not at all.” This will continue to hinder the improvement of the customer experience until it is resolved. 

What data points matter to customers?

According to the survey respondents, it is most important for the suppliers and vendors they work with to know their purchase or transaction history (46%), communication preferences (46%), and company name (32%) when it comes to how they experience working with other businesses.

Interestingly, all of these data points were more commonly reported than the importance of knowing a person’s name, which only one-quarter (25%) said is a most important item for suppliers or vendors to know about them.

This tells us that purchasers value the efficiencies created with personalization over the use of one’s name; the customer experience need not be overly intimate, just effective.

Where do we go next?

This research report tells us that building better customer experiences starts with recognizing the need, allocating resources, making time for strategy, empowering employees, and sharing information across teams. 

These are cross-functional directives that need the attention of the entire go-to-market team and beyond. 

Download the full report and start working on your customer experience improvement plan today.

An easy first step is to align your teams on a tech stack that enables cross-team communication. Use of the Insightly platform, including Insightly CRMInsightly Marketing and Insightly Service, can ensure your go-to-market teams are collaborating. Add AppConnect, Insightly’s low-code/no-code integration tool, and you can integrate all of the applications used across your business for even better cross-team communication. Get your personalized demo of Insightly today.

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