When was the last time you bought something instantaneously? Probably recently. With the advent of Amazon’s one-click ordering, the rise of mobile payments, and the ease of Apple’s App Store, it’s easier than ever to instantly gain access to services. Click a button, and a purchase is made.
Today’s consumers expect personalized, instantaneous buying experiences. B2C companies are stepping up with personalized recommendations, easy checkout processes, and stellar customer support. As a result, they’re prospering.
However, many B2B companies lag behind. Yes, the sales cycle for many B2B products is longer, but prospective customers still want access to information as quickly as possible. Many B2B companies solely rely on leads filling out forms. Unfortunately, once a form is filled out and responded to, that lead may have moved on.
Many B2B companies can improve their sales processes to meet (and exceed) buyer expectations in this landscape. For inspiration, they can turn to B2C companies that are engaging customers with instant gratification.
Modern buyers have rising expectations
Popular B2C brands like Lyft, Spotify, Netflix and Amazon give customers exactly what they want, when they want it. As a result, modern buyers expect things to be immediate, personalized, and easy. Shouldn’t B2B companies deliver that type of experience?
B2B buyers and B2C buyers are people
As marketers, we like to separate B2B from B2C, as though they’re completely different animals. But every purchase requires individuals to make decisions. That’s true whether they’re making a personal buying decision or one on behalf of their company.
When it comes to today’s buyers, attention spans are short. Whether they’re buying a new software solution for their company or a coffee maker for their family, they want answers fast. Today’s buyers don’t want to jump through hoops.
3 things B2B companies can learn from the B2C buying experience
A lot of B2B marketers and salespeople lament that their products aren’t sexy. However, great B2B products and services can still garner fans. B2C companies know how to cultivate die-hard fans, and they do so using the following tactics. All of these can be emulated and copied by B2B companies:
- Real-time engagement: When someone is interested in a product or service, they should immediately be able to get an answer to their question. That will help them assess if the product is right for them. It will also instill confidence that the company is on the ball. Live chat and instant phone call capabilities can give customers and sales representatives access to real-time engagement.
- Personalized content: B2C companies have mastered the art of delivering customized recommendations from the moment a customer interacts. When you log in to Netflix or Amazon, there are recommendations based on your order history and browsing behavior. This makes it easy for a customer to find relevant products, enabling them to make a purchase. Account-Based Marketing strategies and technology empower B2B companies to deliver this same personalized experience.
- Effortless experience: B2C companies have mastered the art of an effortless customer experience. From the moment you arrive on their site, B2C brands make it easy to find what you’re looking for. With modern payment platforms like Apple Pay, buyers can checkout by simply scanning their fingerprint. If they need sales guidance or customer support, they’re offered a variety of channels to get in touch. It’s time for B2B companies to challenge themselves to outline, rethink, and simplify the entire buying experience.
There’s a time and a place for forms
Forms are effective for capturing event registrants, gating content, or scattering throughout your website as an avenue to connect with sales.
However once someone has filled out a form, they’re immediately free to surf the internet to find other possible events, content, or solutions. A study from Harvard Business Review showed that the average time it took a sales team to respond to an inbound B2B lead was 42 hours, which is quite a long wait for an interested buyer. As a marketer or sales rep, you want to capture leads when their interest has piqued.
The solution? In addition to forms, B2B companies can also offer live chat and instant phone calls to their most qualified website visitors. This way, you can offer immediate support to the people who are serious buyers. This is known as Conversational Marketing, and it allows sales reps to answer questions and have meaningful conversations right away.
A Conversational Marketing Solution can help you have real-time conversations with your most qualified visitors. But it’s easily scalable, as well. You can also use bots to engage website visitors, ask questions, and capture leads.
Real-time sales conversations convert customers
Real-time sales conversations aren’t just a nice idea. They actually result in higher conversion rates. That’s true for both B2B and B2C companies. A study by LeadResponseManagement.org found that when B2B sales teams respond to leads in under 5 minutes, they are 100X more likely to make initial contact with that prospect compared to waiting just one hour.
B2B companies that want to remain competitive should focus on giving prospects the opportunity to engage in real-time sales conversations.
In a world where attention spans are short, B2B companies need to step up. They can look to B2C companies for inspiration, as many are offering instantaneous experiences to customers.
B2B companies can offer real-time engagement, starting conversations with prospective customers as soon as they land on the website. As a result, they’ll stand apart in the B2B landscape and be able to convert more leads into customers.
Are you ready to deliver a more modern, B2C-like buying experience? Watch this demo video to see how you can do this with Qualified, a Conversational Marketing solution purpose-built for Salesforce and Pardot ⬇️