5 Easy Ways To Deliver an Omnichannel Experience to B2B Buyers

5 Easy Ways To Deliver an Omnichannel Experience to B2B Buyers

An omnichannel experience means streamlining all customer interactions across various touchpoints in a seamless, unified way to deliver a consistent brand experience.

Ultimately, an omnichannel marketing strategy will include multiple channels for sales, customer support, and marketing. In turn, this strategy delivers a cohesive customer experience. From the buyer's standpoint, every interaction with your business should feel singular, regardless of whether they're interacting with your business on your website, social media, or another platform. 

An omnichannel marketing strategy creates an optimal customer experience for B2B buyers. While B2C customers are accustomed to an omnichannel experience, B2B buyers are joining the wave. According to a 2017 Forbes article, 98% of Americans switch between devices on the same day, and more often than not, in the same hour. This means that creating a seamless experience across devices is more important now than ever before. 

Today, buyers favor an integrated approach that enables them to easily connect with businesses. An omnichannel experience addresses all devices, touchpoints, and platforms that a customer will use at every potential point in their journey. 

What's even better is that businesses are already seeing positive results when implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy. 

Image of 2 marketing statistics in a box. The statistics read: Marketers using over 3 channels in any one campaign earned a 287% high purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign. B2B customers now use over 10 channels to engage with sellers.

Ultimately, an omnichannel experience ensures that there is consistent messaging across all digital platforms. Not only does this increase brand awareness, but this improves the customer journey, builds trust, and promotes business growth.

Without an omnichannel marketing plan in place, businesses will lag behind competitors, have a much harder time tracing their customers' journey and, eventually, lose engagement.

Omnichannel VS. Multichannel Customer Experience

Image of a multichannel strategy pointing to different channels verses an image of a circular omnichannel strategy where all the channels are connected in a circle.

Businesses that implement multichannel marketing typically focus more on the product rather than the customer. With a multichannel approach, businesses adopt two or more channels, but their goal isn't to necessarily create a seamless experience across these channels. Instead, businesses will create new strategies based on each channel implemented. 

An omnichannel marketing strategy is focused on providing a personalized and integrated experience across various touchpoints and devices. With an omnichannel approach, sales and marketing are integrated to ensure that the customer can go between channels and have a seamless experience as they continue to interact with the brand. 

Omnichannel Experience: A Customer-Centric Approach 

An omnichannel marketing strategy focuses on customer experience, implementing a customer-centric focus, and the quality of support. 

Today, customers are expecting a cross-channel mix that delivers a cohesive experience. In fact, customers prefer to navigate between in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions equally.

Image of woman using a shopping cart and another woman using a mobile app to make a purchase

For instance, a customer may walk into a store with an interest to purchase a product. While undecided on the purchase, the salesperson sets up a customer profile and adds the product to their cart. Later on at home, they decide to buy the product online from their mobile device.

This then allows the customer to review the product at their convenience, watch demos, and read reviews. Once the customer is ready to purchase, they can either come back into the store to complete their transaction or make their purchase online. 

This type of omnichannel approach provides a better user experience because it focuses on the individual experience across devices. By focusing on the customer's needs, businesses are able to drive more sales, build brand loyalty, and experience better retention rates. 

Businesses realize that creating a seamless experience is a top priority for B2B customers as they explore channels. This cohesive experience minimizes friction across each touchpoint for greater success. No matter what channel a customer chooses, the goal is to create an experience that feels the same.

How Many Channels Do B2B Buyers Use?

So exactly how many channels do B2B buyers use? There's no set answer. But, buyers will generally use multiple channels and typically use offline channels when there is friction with the buying experience online. With that said, you can expect B2B buyers to use up to 10 channels to help them make a purchasing decision.

Since the pandemic, an omnichannel experience has become the standard for B2B buyers. In fact, buyers are spending time online now more than ever before, even with the reemergence of in-person engagement. Buyers will certainly engage with in-person selling, but they also expect to engage with sales via Zoom, calls, and e-commerce with equal measure. 

B2B Customer Journey Through Touchpoints

lmage of a woman connected to smaller images of different touchpoints like

Customer touchpoints are any situation where a lead or customer comes into contact with a company. Touchpoints exist before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service. When examining the average customer journey, there may be a varying number of customer touchpoints at all stages.

Every touchpoint in the customer journey is essential. This is because each touchpoint leaves an impression on the customer or lead. Whether a potential buyer is viewing your website, reading a product description, or speaking with a sales representative, each interaction plays a role in the customer experience. 

Let's take a look at some typical touchpoints that come into play, depending on the purchase stage. 

Before the Purchase

Before a customer decides to make a purchase, they will likely go through a variety of touchpoints to help them come to a decision. In this stage, a customer knows that they have a need and will begin to use a variety of sources to gain information. Here are some typical touchpoints that occur before the purchase:

Image of a blog, play button, search engine, forum, and chat bubble
  • Blogs
  • How-to videos
  • Search engines
  • Forums
  • Testimonials

During the Purchase

Improving the customer experience has become one of the greatest factors of business success. This is why B2B business owners are moving towards offering their products and services on a variety of channels to meet their customers' needs. Some typical touchpoints that may occur during the purchase include:

Image of website, catalog, phone, and showroom
  • Website
  • Catalog
  • Telephone sales
  • Physical showroom
  • Virtual showroom

After the Purchase

Many companies believe that once they've successfully made the sale, their job is done. On the contrary, there are touchpoints that still exist after the purchase has been made. In fact, this is a crucial component when leaving a lasting impression that promotes a recurring customer. 

By nurturing your existing customers, you also acquire new customers in the process. Here are some typical touchpoints that occur after the purchase:

Image of a review, survey, customer service report, and newsletter
  • Feedback
  • Surveys
  • Customer service or support
  • Newsletters 

5 Easy Ways to Deliver an Omnichannel Experience

Creating a successful B2B omnichannel experience that helps attract and retain customers and increase revenue is easier than you think. Here are 5 ways to improve the omnichannel experience for B2B buyers. 

1. Goals and Strategies Must Be Aligned

For B2B marketing to be effective, there must be coordination among all teams. This can certainly be hard to do, especially when large B2B companies are made up of distinct departments.

In order to improve communication within departments, businesses should set company-wide objectives. This ensures that the company maintains a sense of direction.

Another option is to form cross-functional teams and implement project management platforms to create synergy and increase productivity.  Companies should also encourage team interaction through things like in-person meetings and Zoom conferences.

This will allow you to more effectively create goals and strategies that are aligned with cultivating an omnichannel experience. 

Essentially, improving the omnichannel customer experience means that both the marketing and sales teams should prioritize driving sales and improving the customer experience simultaneously. To do this, both teams need to align on specific KPIs. This may include:

  • General interests
  • Annual recurring revenue
  • Upsells and expansions

Another way to align goals and strategies is through collaborative strategies and planning. Once your teams have put KPIs and revenue goals in place, your sales and marketing teams can collaborate on how strategies need to be executed. This may be done through routine meetings, with each team offering their contributions. 

2. Understand Your Audience and Pain Point at Each Touchpoint

A woman chatting on a cell phone and sitting on a ball.

In order for an omnichannel experience to be effective, businesses need to understand their audience's pain points at each touchpoint. This is done by mapping out the customer journey. 

A customer journey map is a visual representation of a company's customer experience. An effective customer journey map gathers a customer's experience as they interact with a business. This information is then turned into a visual map. 

Here are the 5 steps included in a customer journey map:

The Buying Process

Here, you will begin outlining the path your business intends for a customer to take in order to reach the desired goal. 

User Actions

This outlines what a customer may do in each stage of the buying process. For instance, those in the awareness stage may speak with others about their needs. As they go deeper into their buying journey, they may take advantage of a demo on your website. 

Emotions

When a customer purchases a product or service, they are solving a problem. This means that emotion is involved in the buyers' journey. Quickly solving that problem through a product or service may provide a sense of relief while a long and complicated process can offer frustration. Being aware of these potential emotions and adding them to the map can help businesses mitigate negative emotions for a more positive experience. 

Pain Points

All customers have pain points. As a business owner, it's your job to identify what those pain points are and then provide a solution. Adding pain points to your customer journey is highly beneficial in helping you identify at which stage a customer may be experiencing a negative emotion, allowing you an opportunity to solve their particular pain point.

Solutions

This is the last step of the customer map journey where your team will brainstorm ways to improve the buying process. This will help minimize the pain points that a customer may experience in their journey and lead them down the path of purchase.

Interested in learning more about Understanding who your buyers are and what actions they are taking? Check out our Buyer Persona blog where we dive into the specifics.

Touchpoints and the Customer Journey

All customer journey maps will include several touchpoints. Each touchpoint gives customers an opportunity to form an opinion about your business. Ultimately, a touchpoint can be found in any instance where your business is in contact with a customer, whether it be through social media, your website, or a face-to-face encounter. With that said, it's important to consider all touchpoints as you create your customer map for more effectiveness.

3. Capture Customer Feedback in Real-time

Capturing real-time feedback is highly useful for B2B businesses. Real-time feedback is efficient, more accurate, and yields higher response rates. There are a variety of ways to capture customer feedback in real-time. Some ways may include:

  • Live chat
  • Verbal feedback
  • WebForms
  • SMS messaging 

4. Diversify Where You Sell

For an omnichannel marketing strategy to be effective, it's important to diversify where you sell. Omnichannel marketing focuses on the customer experience while still providing more opportunities for potential customers to interact with your business and make a purchase. 

With that said, businesses should use a variety of selling channels, such as:

  • Website
  • Social media
  • Online marketplaces

The goal is to expand your selling channels to where customers are spending their time. As customers navigate different touchpoints to make a purchase, your business should be front and center. 

5. Measure Customer Satisfaction to Understand Progress and Consumer Sentiment

This is an important step in analyzing the effectiveness of your omnichannel marketing strategy. Here are some key metrics to pay attention to:

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This is a key metric of the Net Promoter System. This metric enables businesses to gain a clear understanding of performance through the eyes of their customers. NPS is quite easy to calculate. Businesses must ask a question along the lines of, "How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague". This question helps businesses understand their percentage of promoters vs detractors. Promoters are those who will recommend your business to others while detractors are those who are unsatisfied. 

Customer Retention Rate

The customer retention rate measures the number of customers a business retains over a given period of time. Customer retention is crucial to your business health. In fact, retaining existing customers is less expensive than acquiring new ones.

Existing customers can provide referrals and promote your business on social media and other platforms. 

To measure your business's customer retention rate, use this formula: [(E-N)/S] x 100 = CRR.

  • E: The number of total customers at the end of the time period.
  • N: The number of new customers added within the time period.
  • S: The number of existing customers at the start of the time period.

Customer Churn Rate

The customer churn rate is the rate at which customers stop doing business with a company over a given period of time. The higher your churn rate is, the more customers stop buying with your business. Ideally, you want to keep your churn rate as low as possible. 

To calculate your customer churn rate, take your monthly revenue at the beginning of the month and divide it by the revenue lost for that month. Then minus any upgrades or additional revenue from existing customers. 

How Does the Omnichannel Buyer Affect Sales Strategies?

Omnichannel marketing is certainly changing the sales landscape. More businesses are altering their sales strategy to fit the omnichannel experience, as this is the new expectation for buyers.

This means that an effective sales strategy must take the entire customer journey into account. For instance, if a potential buyer starts their customer journey inside a physical store, they may continue their journey by visiting the company's website and then to the company's social media account.

The goal for a sales strategist is to create a consistent experience across all channels that a potential buyer uses. By doing so, businesses can build trust, establish customer loyalty, and increase sales revenue. 

Adopting a Hybrid Sales Strategy

Man using computer with a virtual meeting next to it, a man and woman chatting, and an infographic with a man doing a presentation.

In order to meet the needs of an omnichannel buyer, businesses will need to adopt a hybrid sales strategy. Hybrid sales have become a crucial aspect of any sales strategy due to the fact that customers are more likely to bounce from one channel to another.

Ultimately, a hybrid model offers more opportunities for growth since sales reps can reach more people at a quicker rate when using multiple channels. So, what is a hybrid sales strategy?

A hybrid sales strategy involves taking your in-person sales strategy and combining it with your digital sales strategy to create a cohesive plan that promotes optimal sales efficiency and improved business results by tailoring the experience to the customers' preferences.

An effective hybrid sales strategy includes 5 essential parts. This includes: 

  1. An Omnichannel Experience: Businesses must commit to an omnichannel experience. This means aligning everything to prevent friction during the buyer's journey. 
  2. Provide Hybrid Interactions: To improve efficiency for you and your customers, it's important to shift your sales team to adopt both digital and in-person interactions. 
  3. Improve Inside Sales Capabilities: Your inside sales team should also adopt a hybrid approach within their own segment. 
  4. Focus on Long-term Customer Relationships: Nurturing relationships is more important now than ever before. With that said, use data to identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. 
  5. Integrate Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service Operations: For true cohesion, businesses should integrate technology and their departments to help better serve customers. Businesses will need to decide on a single technology platform across various functions. 

Omnichannel Marketing Is Now

B2B buyers prefer an omnichannel customer experience because it provides them with flexibility, which is why businesses should integrate an omnichannel marketing strategy to serve the needs of their customers. At Steel Croissant, we help brands grow by making marketing accessible. Contact us today to see how we can help build your marketing strategy.

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