Experience Leaders Increase Revenue Growth by 16 Percent
Forrester Business Impact of Investing in Experience Report.
by Jill Steinhour
posted on 10-08-2018
Over the past few years, the world of business-to-business (B2B) technology has changed dramatically. Brand reach and influence went from an afterthought to a primary business consideration. Buying committees and other organizational shifts have made purchase decisions more complex. And new competitors appear seemingly out of nowhere.
Arguably the biggest shift is from salesperson-led to customer-driven. B2B tech buyers expect to be empowered, gathering information on their own and interacting with sales reps on their terms, if at all. Plus, these buyers know what it’s like to find a product enabled through natural language search and then buy it with a single click, and all on a mobile device. Consumer-like experiences are increasingly becoming the baseline for B2B experiences — and B2B tech companies must be experience-driven in order to keep up.
With the additional complexities in B2B tech, that’s a tall order. And it shows in the results of a new Forrester report commissioned by Adobe, “The Business Impact of Investing In Experience: A Spotlight on B2B Technology.” Based on Forrester’s results, only 20 percent of B2B tech organizations can claim to be experience-driven, the lowest percentage of any industry they surveyed.
But getting into that exclusive 20 percent has its obvious rewards. According to the report, these experience-driven businesses achieve brand equity that’s 1.7x greater than all other B2B tech companies. They outperform similarly in customer advocacy, product reviews and ratings, and customer loyalty. It shows up in their bottom line, too, with an average 16 percent year-over-year increase in revenue growth — six points higher than their peers. Yes, you read that right — 16 percent year-over-year increase in revenue growth. Experience is a differentiator that can no longer be ignored.
Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Adobe, February 2018.
How to achieve experience-driven status
It’s clear why you’d want your organization to become an experience-driven business. But what might be less clear is how. According to Forrester, it requires mastery across three key dimensions: people, processes, and technology. There are many hurdles to this mastery in B2B tech, with its multiple stakeholders and phases, but following a few best practices can help you overcome them. In Forrester’s investigation of B2B tech companies, they found that experience-driven businesses.
- Invest in tools and processes needed to execute complex campaigns. Experience-driven businesses are more than twice as likely as their peers to dedicate budget to campaign management. And by putting budget toward the right tools and processes, they’re better able to plan, execute, and measure cross-channel campaigns. They’re also better equipped to bridge online and offline environments and close gaps between leads and deals.
- Educate employees on customer obsession. According to Forrester, 100 percent of the experience-driven B2B tech companies surveyed said they educated their employees about their customers. Customer-oriented employee education is particularly critical in the B2B tech environment, where numerous teams — from sales to implementation to support — will likely interact with customers.
- Align to customers and their ever-changing needs. Experience-driven businesses are dedicated to aligning their departments and teams to the customer. And they understand that it isn’t a one-time exercise. They’re aware that if they don’t continuously evaluate and adjust, they won’t be able to keep up with changing customer needs.
- Understand that customers are many and nuanced. The era of lumping customers together is over. B2B tech companies must realize they have numerous audiences, all with unique attributes, behaviors, and motivations. Personas and journey maps can help organizations achieve that deeper understanding — and guide teams in their interactions with clients.
- Be strong at customer service management. Without effective customer success management, key phases in the customer journey can be missed — the transition between presale and after the sale, for example. Organizational change and technology tools can help. A company might use automated account monitoring that triggers human responses, or it might employ a data analyst to provide customer insights.
Hard work ahead, but worth it
Across every industry, companies are focusing on customer experience. And nobody has it easy. But when you’re in the B2B high-tech world, you face a particularly big challenge. Customer experience adds yet more dimensions and requirements to your already complex environment. And the recommendations above are just a starting point. The full list is long, and effective execution requires serious commitment.
But that means there’s a unique opportunity in your space. You can use experience to differentiate in a competitive environment. You can lead prospects seamlessly to closed sales better than your peers. You can win loyalty from customers who are lacking options. In short, customer experience could be the ultimate key to your future success.
Topics: Industry, Digital Transformation