A comprehensive global study by Forrester Consulting reveals that mobile interactions are transforming B2B engagement. Businesses are more successful at acquiring and retaining business customers when they embrace mobile channels, and companies that wait too long to do so may lose a significant piece of their market share to competitors.
If you want to remain relevant and develop a loyal B2B following, you’ll need to meet and nurture users, and support their evaluation and purchase processes, through mobile channels. And if B2B transactions take place on your site, be aware that customers buying online “are more likely to add additional items, order products in bulk and make repeat purchases” than offline customers. Cross-selling and upselling techniques appear to work more frequently online as well. But even if you have a more complex sales cycle with transactions occurring offline, mobile channels can serve to integrate you more closely with the user’s journey.
Taking the leap to mobile will further secure the allegiance of B2B users. Much like B2C markets, this segment is evolving to expect the flexibility, customer service access, and continuous connection to brands that smartphones and tablets afford. Increasingly, mobile self-service tools, such as advertising, analytics, and productivity apps, are becoming the norm for B2B customer interactions.
The B2B Mobile Promise
Top-tier executives are using tablets to consume business and thought-leadership content, especially before and after typical 9 to 5 work hours. How can your company leverage these windows of contact to claim business decision makers’ full attention? Jeff Stokvis of Ogilvy & Mather states:
“Mobile opens up entirely new and creative ways to interact with target audiences. It gives you the ability to create experiences that did not exist before, to deliver content and create a value exchange with your target audiences in order to generate leads, as well as conversation and dialogue.”
For B2B marketers, the promise of mobile is more personal, direct contact with the individuals who matter. Professionals have access to information on nearly every possible business product online, making it easy for them to evaluate and eliminate yours in a matter of minutes. The good news is they’re looking for commitment. Busy executives don’t want to research and evaluate new tools and technology every month—they want to invest right the first time.
Make a deep first impression, and draw them in with captivating, valuable content. In this area, B2B marketers can take a page from current B2C practices. Don’t let the mobile opportunity pass you by. Here are three ways to make meaningful connections with B2B users that lead to lasting loyalty.
1. Provide a Seamless Digital Experience
Making cross-channel activity seamless is critical to the user experience. A consistent core structure, visual elements, and brand messaging makes users feel more comfortable and trusting of your platforms, so they’re less likely to abandon them.
Simple, clean features are part of a seamless experience. Your mobile environments should encourage exploration and invite interaction. Remove all potential points of friction. If it’s too slow or difficult to navigate the app with one hand while the other hand grips a subway pole, you’ll lose your mobile audience.
2. Don’t Forget to Surprise and Delight
Supporting and celebrating the efforts of your customers leads to more reciprocal relationships. On Super Bowl Sunday, Adobe’s social marketing team reached out to other marketing teams with surprise deliveries of war room care packages, coordinated via Twitter. They also highlighted great game day social campaigns as they unfolded across platforms, and engaged marketers in conversations about their work. By cheering on our users, we reminded them of our priority as a B2B company: to enable excellence from marketers.
The content of your B2B mobile experiences can be professional without being boring or cliché. Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun and Bradstreet, issues a challenge to B2B marketers:
“We use the same boring demo videos, with the same boring voice over. Our case studies are overly produced and our writing style is overly technical.… We need to challenge ourselves and our agencies to come up with truly unique ways of conveying our complex messages.”
Surprise and delight can come through immersive content and rich media—even if the subject matter involves data and statistics. Infographics have proven that how we package information can transform its reach.
3. Reward Loyalty with Status and Personalization
B2B loyalty programs can help your brand establish a greater emotional connection with users, leading to more long-term relationships. Bryan Pearson, author of The Loyalty Leap, explains why loyalty should be at the core of your B2B engagement cycle:
“While B2B marketers don’t have the same creative license and their business communications are more formal, they have a much greater opportunity for customer intimacy. For one thing, B2B marketers have a much smaller base of customers, and generally know a lot more about them. They take them to ball games, know the names of their children, meet them at industry events, and get a table at their fundraisers—but that doesn’t mean they are using the data critical for deepening the relationship.”
Mobile channels open new doors to loyalty because they give us increased opportunities to connect and communicate with users and reward them for their engagement. Multiple touchpoints enable companies to have more frequent, consistent, and useful interactions with the businessperson. And B2B loyalty programs can enhance these interactions with rewards, gamification elements, exclusive benefits, personalized features, and more.
Relevance Lies in Relationships
Loyalty and investment from your B2B mobile users will come as you streamline the mobile experience, infuse it with delight, and build in meaningful social incentives. Deepen your customer insight and understanding, and continuously feed the B2B mobile engagement cycle with touchpoints, content, and services people and teams can use and enjoy.