Every marketer in the B2B world knows what a rapidly growing and evolving landscape it is. With the B2B e-commerce market alone expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3% from 2022-2028, it’s no surprise there’s constantly new challenges for marketers to adapt for.
The best way to stay front of mind in the B2B world is by consistently listening to your customers and tailoring your service according to their needs. However, in such a crowded market, it becomes much more difficult to convince customers why it’s your product they should choose.
One way to do this is by staying up to date with the latest industry trends – and that’s where we’re able to help.
With Q3 drawing to a close, we’ve put together a round-up of the main B2B trends that have emerged from this last quarter, so you can enter Q4 on top of your game.
Customer web experience
B2B buyers are facing a variety of challenges online. Sana’s B2B e-commerce report explains that over half of B2B buyers now turn to e-commerce to purchase, a drastic increase from only 28%, just 2 years ago – now outperforming both phone and email purchasing.
Customers are no longer afraid to buy complex and expensive products online – so long as the suppliers’ website is up to scratch with complex product details. Most buyers are finding and evaluating other suppliers online too, so it’s essential for companies to keep product details up to date and to showcase a wider range of requirements – not only to encourage customers to buy, but also to stand out from competitors.
Sana’s report also found that 81% of respondents are reliant on web stores to make repeat purchases so it’s also critical to ensure customers can access info on functions such as past order history and one-click buying.
However, 50% of e-commerce sites are not meeting B2B buyers expectations and 94% of buyers claim they encounter some kind of problem in the user process, according to the report.
These issues include:
- Delivery and tracking
- Relationship with suppliers
- Visibility of product features
- Payment terms
- Ease of checkout
- Ease of repeat ordering
- Returns choice
- Mobile ordering
- Access to order history and account information
In the B2B world, buyers are massively loyal to suppliers, with 84% saying they would buy again from sellers they have good relationships with. This is where B2B consumers differ from B2C consumers, as B2C consumers often have no little to no loyalty towards suppliers at all.
Building good customer relationships is therefore more important than ever in order for B2B businesses to achieve sales and the report suggests that B2B brands should focus on a few key areas, including transparency, reliability, personalisation, convenience and trust.
B2B companies need to prioritise e-commerce platforms and the level of customer experience on these platforms, as buying and selling through ecommerce is projected to extend to 90% of all products.
Winback campaign strategies
No matter how tempted you might be to launch now, it’s been tried, tested and found that the sweet spot for winback campaigns is usually 3 months – so hold off and set your reminders.
A successful winback campaign will recognise that every customer is different. To target different types of customers you will need to be segment specific; these segments can be based on when they bought your product, what they purchased, what they purchased your product for and their job title.
Segment targeting will allow you to target customers’ particular needs and pain points – making for a more successful campaign. Furthermore, offering previous customers an exclusive discount (without handing them out ‘willy-nilly’) can often give them that nudge they need to repurchase.
Not only should a winback campaign highlight why the customer was so excited about your product in the first place, but it should also highlight why they chose your product over the competition – this is even increasingly important if competition has increased or changed in your industry since the customer’s last purchase.
Make sure to shout about new features and insights you’ve added in order to demonstrate that you’re constantly improving and adapting your products and services. Building upon our previous mention of B2B buyer-supplier relationships, aim to be transparent and honest with customers, so they can make informed decisions and place trust in your brand – making it as simple as possible for your customer to return.
Stand out in a SaaS populated space
SaaS (software as a service) companies occupy a huge part of the B2B market. The SaaS marketing is booming but, with so much competition, what can separate you out from the competition is your narrative – specifically, your ability to build a great narrative around your brand, showcasing the features your services offer and your efficiency.
Our Experience Director, Kier Humphreys, wrote for The Drum to explain why, in the SaaS market, first impressions are so important – you need to stand out with your creative execution and a distinctive brand image. But this brand image can’t stop at first impressions – it has to continue across the whole customer journey.
He explained that in order to do this you need real differentiation, and this isn’t through merely images and language. Combine different creative images and language, with a market-oriented solution, that focuses on engaging with customers at every touchpoint and meeting their requirements will give you real differentiation.
The best place to begin is talking to existing prospects: ask if they witnessed any differences between the initial ad or promise you gave them, to the reality of them being your customer. Ask new employees, who will hold less biassed perspectives, to analyse your competition and the differences in image. Continue to do these things and you will improve the differentiation of your brand overtime.
Is your SaaS marketing strategy ready for the challenges ahead? Download SaaS our Growth Playbook here.