How to Learn About Your B2B Customers
As technology evolves and new products emerge daily, the most significant factor differentiating companies is the user experience they provide. The B2B market is a more competitive environment than ever before, and buyers hold the most power. Before you can create outstanding user experiences to gain competitive advantages you must know the customers you are serving. Many people associate having a customer-centric view with B2C companies, but it is just as important in B2B.
If leaders want to create the right technology, products, and provide the best support, customer insights are crucial to business success. If you’re not trying to understand your user’s experience better, you’re going to fall behind the competition. This article will lay out actionable steps you can start taking today to better understand the business users of your product or service and how you can make it an unforgettable experience for them.
Developing Detailed Personas
Before you can learn how to make a user’s experience unforgettable, you need to be very confident in whom you are targeting. When it comes to developing personas on your ideal customer, you can never be too detailed. A great way to build accurate personas is to choose a few current clients that value your product or service and start researching and answering detailed questions about them. These can include things like what are their interests? What is their job title? What is their income level? What do they research and how? Make sure you are building a persona on someone who is a key decision maker in their business. Utilize all of the resources you can to get the most detailed information including members of your sales team, support staff and even clients themselves.
As you build personas and finalize your ideal customer profiles, keep in mind that your product or service is not going to be for everyone. Too many companies try to please everyone and end up not effectively meeting the needs of the business customers who really need and want to use their product. Trying to target too broad of an audience will only waste your time and money because you will attract people outside of your target audience that are not meant to use your product. Focus on your key users and give all your time to them.
Seek Customer Feedback and Insights
The world of technology is connecting everyone and making it easier than ever to have completely remote relationships. While it makes communicating with those in different locations easier, it can also make building trusting relationships more challenging. In person, one-on-one interactions tend to be where the greatest amount of truth comes out, plus people share more details in person then they typically do over the phone. It is crucial to go where your current and prospective customers are!
One of the best ways to gain customer insights is by attending networking events. Another great way to learn about your customers is attending charity events and golf tournaments. Something as simple as making good conversation in person can let you in on how customers are currently thinking and build report and trust with them. The bottom line is that business is personal, and if you want to do business with someone you need to impress them and show them why they should work with you. That personal interaction does not happen in an office. The days of sending cold emails to collect feedback are over.
Collaborate with Sales and Marketing Teams
The sales and marketing teams should be a leader’s go-to resource when trying to gain a better understanding of their B2B customers. The marketing and sales teams understand users needs, hesitations, and most importantly why they buy. They are the voice of the customer, and the customer’s point of view should be driving everything you do. By setting regular meetings with these departments to go over new data collected and buying habits, you can stay on top of the market and any changes occurring. They will help to pinpoint which areas need to be focused on for growth and how to give your customers a more personal experience.
Utilize Support and Call Center Staff
In-person interactions are vital, but it can be hard to have those regularly. Your support staff is in constant communication with users every day, and they are gaining insights that you need to be utilizing. Between live chats, phone calls, and emails, your support staff is on the front line of user needs and insights. They are hearing about usability problems, what customers like, unmet needs, actions they need help with, and issues leading to abandonment. This is the kind of customer information that needs to be considered before trying to improve any technical aspects.
There is a wide array of programs that allow companies to keep track of all the information gathered in their call centers. These need to be used and continuously updated, users are sharing direct answers to why they dislike or struggle to use your product, that is free information that many companies chose to overlook. Making small changes to address these issues and showing your users you value their opinion and take it into consideration when planning updates is what separates you from your competition. It is also crucial to make sure your support staff is equipped with applications to be able to listen and engage with your customers actively. Customers expect to have real-time communication and instant answers.
Mine Your Data
You should already have detailed customer personas from the first point, so you can begin analyzing if those personas are correct and how well you are targeting that group. Analytics offer an endless amount of knowledge in the B2B world. In this data-driven world that provides easy access to big data and analytics, there is no excuse for not understanding your users, how they experience your product or service, and what their needs are.
Many companies make the mistake of only using one platform to gather website or application analytics that doesn’t quite deliver everything they need. Developing a custom tool or using multiple tools can be highly beneficial to get the specific kinds of insights that you need to capitalize on the data fully.
Another great data source to utilize is a customer intelligence platform. These platforms provide reporting that will help you gain a better understanding of your user demographics, use context, and how they think to enhance your decision-making process and deliver customized experiences. These frequently include third-party data enhancement to improve your understanding of customers and how to make the best experience for them.
Using analytics and reports offer incredibly useful information, but do not overlook the qualitative data options at your disposal. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, and third-party research and review platforms can be a great source to see how businesses are engaging with each other. Keeping a close eye on your competitors and what businesses are interacting with them and their campaigns can open possibilities for future growth.
It is clear to see that no matter what product or service you are offering, having an intimate understanding of your customers and how they think is key to your long-term success. Whether what you are selling to businesses is unique or not, your customer experience can be a key differentiator that enables you to achieve your strategic goals. In this competitive environment, it is essential to utilize every quality resource at your disposal so you can predict what your users will need before they even know they did to delight them.
We hope these tips will help you to gain a better understanding of the B2B customers using your product and that you begin taking action to personalize each of their experiences!