The B2B buying process has traditionally been all about educating prospects on the benefits of a product or service and building personal relationships along the way. Content marketing has been playing a bigger role as enterprises make more information available to buyers, especially on the digital front. But, as consumers grow more familiar with reading reviews for their personal purchases, Avanade reports that B2B buyers are starting to pay attention to online reviews as well. This shift in buyer behavior means B2B businesses should be upping their social media game.
Mick Slattery, Avanade executive vice president, Global Service Lines, says his company’s research shows that “businesses have lost control of the sales process” and this is particularly true in the B2B sector. As B2B buyers make purchase decisions on products and services which will significantly impact the daily operations of their firm and the productivity of their employees, they're considering a variety of factors. For an increasing number of these buyers, up to 30%, customer experience is more important than price. In terms of evaluating customer experience, 61% B2B buyers are tapping feedback from others, such as partner posts on social media sites. They are no longer going to listen solely to what the salesperson is telling them. Avanade analysts says that businesses must focus on improved internal processes to demonstrate that they are optimizing the customer experience. A big part of this effort will include increasing their investment in ‘social technologies.’
Making these changes can result in improved loyalty (61%), revenue (60%) and more customers (60%).
Have you been talking with any B2B clients about the importance of social media? Do you believe this form of communication can improve the customer experience and serve as a key marketing channel?