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New B2B: your audience’s expectations now

The world has changed rapidly over the past few years, making it necessary to rethink how you do business. Uncommon practices like Zoom meetings and working from home have rapidly become business as usual.

Decision-makers are more comfortable with digital self-service and making large purchases online. While many use their individual experiences with B2C to inform their expectations for B2B.

Unfortunately, many businesses may be forced to reduce costs, often at the expense of growth in the long term. Fortunately, the big shift to digital offers great opportunities to B2B businesses. Especially for those who are willing to adapt and become a part of the change.

How B2C has impacted B2C

Target audiences are now expecting B2B businesses to deliver the same experiences that they’ve come to expect from B2C businesses.

Websites are expected to be more streamlined, offering more information and higher-quality content. Virtual experiences have become more evolved and e-commerce is required to be faster and more efficient.

Mobile optimisation is taking centre stage. The convenience of mobile ordering has blurred the lines between B2B and B2C. In fact, mobile app ordering has increased by a staggering 250% in recent years.

Customers are now much more comfortable accessing live chat services when researching suppliers. They also prefer to self-serve digitally and interact with B2B businesses and access information remotely. Research by Gartner states that 80% of B2B sales interactions between buyers and suppliers will occur digitally by 2025.

Although B2B businesses often struggle on social media, it’s now a necessity to have a social presence. This is especially true on platforms such as LinkedIn, which can offer B2B marketers the perfect source of contacts.

The five big changes

The B2B landscape and your target market have changed significantly over the last few years. Understanding your intended audience is key to identifying opportunities for growth, beating the competition and attracting more leads.

Here are some of the biggest changes that have been made to the B2B landscape:

Virtual communication vs face to face

Not too long ago, making sales and researching potential buyers, suppliers and vendors was a face-to-face endeavour. Recently, the focus switched from in-person to virtual, effectively changing sales forever. While not everyone has adapted well to virtual, those that have, have quickly realised the benefits.

Potential customers are now finding it easier to talk to the right people quickly and conveniently. They can access the information they need and place their orders at speed. In fact, B2B revenue that comes directly from e-commerce and video conferencing has risen by 69% since April 2020.

Content marketing delivers an effective message

As the importance of digital becomes increasingly evident, content marketing is being adopted as an effective tactic to generate leads.

Marketing and PR strategies for a B2C and B2C company broadly speak the same language. They’re both designed to build trust with a potential audience and help websites rank higher in search engines. They’re also designed to reduce cost per lead and create valuable collateral that can be used across all communication channels.

A thought leadership white paper, for example, gives your audience confidence to buy into your offering. While a well-written company blog can create messages that can target very broad or very specific search intentions. This will support the wider SEO goals of your marketing team.

Content marketing not only delivers long-lasting results but also supports growth in the long term. According to HubSpot, companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads than companies who don’t blog.

The convenience of self-service

Remote sales interactions and self-service functionality can help people access key, relevant information quickly. Not only is self-service quick, convenient and efficient, but it saves on time and cost.

The top three reasons behind the preference for digital selling include individual safety, cost savings and ease of scheduling. This indicates that new interests in digital selling move away from pandemic-related necessity.

Research indicates that 70-80% of B2B decision-makers prefer self-service functionality and remote communication. Although the demographic information indicates a generational gap. Research conducted by Gartner shows that only 29% of baby boomers prefer a digital sales process, compared to 54% of millennials.

Larger purchases are being made online

Understanding how to communicate effectively with your audience is incredibly valuable, but it can only take you so far. Knowledge of new buying habits is also important. Decision-makers are currently far more comfortable making larger purchases and reordering online than they were prior to the pandemic.

Traditionally, a company would utilise e-commerce mainly for making smaller purchases. Buyer confidence has grown quickly as systems and processes have become refined. Today, making larger purchases through e-commerce is now deemed quick, convenient and secure. As such, around 70% of B2B buyers and decision-makers are now open to making larger remote purchases. These purchases can be in excess of $50,000, with 27% willing to spend more than $500,000.

Product-led growth

Product-led growth is generally a disruptive strategy whereby the product becomes the primary driver of acquisition, conversion and expansion. When you build a fantastic product, that product will attract more customers via word of mouth. This means you won’t have to spend as much on customer acquisition.

Your PLG strategy will involve getting the onboarding strategy right, enabling word of mouth and monitoring integration into a sales program. Dropbox is one example of a tool that uses a PLG model for both B2B and B2C customers.

Dropbox is an intuitive, easy and accessible product that meets the needs of audiences. It has a lot to offer its users. Dropbox’s growth model includes a limited free plan giving customers access to 2GB of free storage across three devices.

To take advantage, all customers have to do is share a referral page. Essentially, this means that Dropbox can attract new users while offering a better product experience for current customers.

How you can adapt to the new B2B landscape

Digital adoption presents a huge opportunity for B2B businesses. It can help you extend your reach, lower costs and make a massive difference in the effectiveness of your sales. Contact Ambitious to find out how you can meet the new expectations of your B2B audience in 2023: [email protected] and 0117 905 1177