B2B companies and customer journey analytics: why it matters

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B2B companies and customer journey analytics: why it matters

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In B2B half or more of all marketing spend is misaligned and sales could be up by 10% and churn down by 30% in year 1 using customer journey analytics.*

Although customer journey analytics has grown from strength to strength in the B2C market, B2B companies are now being rudely awakened by their customers. After all: B2B customers are also B2C customers and customer experiences from Amazon and Coolblue are now increasingly expected to be the norm in the B2B also.
However, there are significant differences in customer journeys in B2B versus B2C the main one being that the stakes are higher in B2B in terms of bigger deals and deeper relationships. So in fact even more reason to focus on customer journeys and CX!

* The Aberdeen Group


As illustrated above, at every step in the B2B decision making journey, mining the underlying data is essential to optimise the best possible buyer experience. B2B buyers use digital and analogue channels at each stage of the typical decision journey and they have specific preferences. According to many industry analysts, the emerging battle in B2B will be won by those smartly feeding digital and non-digital journeys to improve customer (buyer) experience.

B2B versus B2C customer relationships

There are four main differences between B2C customer data and B2B customer data:

  1. Relationships often go deeper in B2B and last longer.
  2. More complex B2B journeys involving more individuals (more complex supply chains/ often also with third parties).
  3. Customisation is more widespread in B2B than B2C.
  4. The stakes/order values are usually higher in B2B deals.

So although B2C companies generally have more customers, in B2B customers are more complex with longer lead-times. In addition, digitisation has meant that supply chains in B2B have become increasingly complex too, with more and more subcontractors also impacting your company’s CX. The challenge to overcome here is: how do you safeguard the customer experience in every step of the value chain? Customer journey analytics allows you to manage this process and provides both company and customer value at every possible turn. And better still, rather than highlighting what has occurred in the past, predictive analytics will allow you to be fully proactive and in charge of your CX. There is a world to be won here using artificial intelligence.
In order to start doing all this great stuff and to start managing your CX, the organisation needs to become aware of the potential of customer journey mining and the need to start collecting and harnessing your data now!

In B2B there are many sources of data

In addition to CRM and other inhouse process data (financial, service etc), there are now many additional data sources available which will allow more insight into the customer and what the customer actually requires at each step in the customer journey. Below is an overview of data sources collected by Harvard. These sources change almost daily, for instance chatbots, an important additional channel certainly in B2B has not yet been added, but absolutely essential to incorporate when influencing customer CX!


How should B2B companies start with datadriven CX?

  1. Find out what matters to your decision makers:
    • Focus on those points in the decision journey where you can be most successful in influencing those decision makers
    • Combine quantitative market research surveys with data knowledge from sales, logistics, service, product marketing and other parts of the organisation to see how price, delivery times, or feature sets – affect purchasing decisions.
    • Develop models to identify valuable customer segments and develop actions that target them specifically.
  2. Channel resources and spend where and when it matters:
    • Understanding what drives buyer (customer) decisions allows marketers to make smarter, more informed decisions about where and when to allocate resources.
  3. Foster partnership between marketing, sales and customer service

The Underlined CX Insights Framework

To get companies started, Underlined has developed a tried and tested approach called the CX Insights Framework. In this approach CX KPI’s will be connected, available data will be mined and actionable insights defined for maximum results in terms of both customer and company value.

Please get in touch to discuss.


Joan Willemse is Partner at Underlined

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