B2B Predictions 2023: The Customer
One of our predictions for 2023 is that we will put customers’ interests first even more. Customer insight, customer engagement and customer experience will be hot topics and we are ready to invest in them. What does this mean for Marketing and Sales? And how do we respond to this desire to serve the business customer even better?
In this blog, I share my insight into this topic: why the customer experience is important, what we should invest in, and the impact of this further shift towards the customer.
82% of marketers say customer experience is a key differentiator. However we also hear a lot about customer engagement. What is the difference between customer experience and customer engagement?
Both terms are important and yes there is a difference; customer engagement is about all communication between a customer and a company. It is about paying time and attention to your customer so that you retain, grow and create loyalty.
Customer experience (CX) is about more than just communication. It is about all the touch points a customer has with a company. This will obviously include customer service and sales calls, but also your brand, reputation and design greatly influence the customer experience. Customers have more choices than ever, and they want an enjoyable experience; therefore, it is becoming harder for companies to reach the right accounts and provide the right experience.
Customer experience is a key factor in B2B, and consequently we expect investment in three areas by 2023:
- Reliable customer data: We all know we need to move away from third-party cookies, and that means investing in better, owned and enriched customer data. If you don’t invest in customer data, you won’t be able to improve CX and customer engagement.
- Post-sale messaging: With an economic recession just around the corner, customer engagement is more important than ever. To stay close to the customer, an important investment in post-sales experience should be messaging and content. That way, you can work on customer retention and loyalty. That which you give attention to, grows. Marketing can play an important role to support Sales in this too.
- Technology related to improving CX: We will also invest in technologies that both improve the customer experience and reduce costs. For this, B2B companies will look at how B2C companies have successfully moved to self-service portals and how they have created better online experiences.
The biggest challenges for B2B marketing and sales in 2023 are in ABM and personalisation
We find personalisation difficult for several reasons, but it starts with a lack of buyer and customer knowledge. 61% of today’s B2B content marketers named this as their biggest challenge in recent CMI research (2022). Apparently, it is still difficult to create content for the right persona and stage of the buying journey. Personalisation starts with insight, and we still lack those insights. Moreover, we are aware that everyone wants to start account-based marketing these days. One of the requirements for ABM is researching your market, your accounts, and your personas. Many teams do not yet take the time to do this and so find it difficult to start successfully. This is a long-term strategy and not a quick win approach.
We often appear to lack the skills to implement ABM programmes in the business. Recent research by B2Bmarketing.net and 6sense shows that only 20% of marketers think they have the relevant knowledge to execute ABM with confidence. So, when it comes to solving the maze of personalised content and ABM strategies, we in our teams need to develop skills and understand the buyer journey or customer journey, and you need to understand your buyer personas.
Read our e-book on B2B Marketing Reflections & Predictions for 2023!
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