You don’t need to be an expert to realise that the world has taken a giant leap into the future when it comes to digital attitudes. Here’s why we say attitudes:
The digital tools and processes have mostly been available for a while but it was ‘our’ resistance to making the shift to using them. We have all experienced the growth of E-commerce in the B2C marketplace but largely the B2B sector was still stuck in the past or at very most ‘the now’. The last four months have forced the business community (particularly B2B) to massively change their attitudes towards digital tools, management, processes and customer journeys – at warp speed too.
It’s now perfectly acceptable to request a video call instead of a meeting with both parties understanding that it can be a more efficient way of staying connected and communicating. Previously we have experienced video calls being rejected in favour for a face to face meeting when actually it was a simple catch up meeting that was ripe for a video check-in.
So today, following a new business call with a customer, what is your process? What are you sending to them following the call? How are you continuing to build that relationship until the next interaction?
Overnight, businesses had to shift entirely to teams working remotely and most can now see the benefits that this brings to both its people and its productivity. This shift in attitude may have taken years even a decade to achieve.
So businesses had to adapt overnight to operate successfully. Rapid change solves the problem short term but is not always the ‘ideal’ set up for the future as its a reaction rather than a considered approach. So now we are over the quick fix, are you set up to optimise productivity, efficiency and communication. Have you git the right systems in place and are those systems integrated with each other to make life easy for your people?
The sales process has changed. Digital has levelled the playing field. Where impressive offices and showing scale could have been an asset at the first face to face meeting, it’s now likely that businesses are selling online from their home meaning that everybody looks and feels the same. Businesses are more price-conscious in the short term and will be looking to get a greater return for their spend. This means businesses need to be more creative about their digital customer experience.
As a result of these changes, it’s clear that delivering a “digital first” experience to customers is the new imperative.
So what should Businesses be focusing on?
1. Define your Objectives
The landscape has changed and whether you are better off or feeling the strain you should be redefining your new long and short term objectives – even the next 30, 60, 90 days. Establishing your key objectives will bring clarity to your new strategy. Once defined, you can utilise the objectives to shape all of your marketing and operational ideas – If the idea doesn’t align with the objectives – park it for a later date.
2. Digital Brand – Clarity of Message and Experience
Clarifying your brand message and speaking to your customers has always been important to achieving long term growth and effective market positioning. Now, communicating your value proposition clearly, in a way that your customer can understand and see the value should be at the forefront of your future strategy. Move away from the ‘features and benefits’ sell and spend the time to truly define why you exist as a brand and the value you bring to your customer. Communicate through compelling stories and bring them to life digitally through content and video.
3. Be Creative and Try Something New
Now is the perfect opportunity to try new ideas and innovate your approach. It may be shifting to a new pricing model and enabling your customers to buy online or launching a new product or initiative. Have you ever run a season of podcasts? Created a series of ebooks? Both excellent channels to publish and share digitally to connect with and grow an audience. In the face of adversity often great ideas emerge – don’t be afraid to give things a try. As long as you measure the impact/results of your ideas by setting up the correct tracking tools you can quickly pause things that aren’t working and invest in things that are.
4. Develop Integrations to Make Life Easy
The spotlight is shining on an integrated strategy more so than ever and so businesses should be building their strategy around delivering their customers a digital-first experience and effectively managing that experience internally.
Whether you are ramping up your digital marketing efforts or looking to streamline your internal processes, connecting digital tools and API’s to create one seamless process of data capture or data transfer should be at the forefront of your thinking.
5. Rethink Customer Journeys and Accelerate the Development of Digital Solutions
Before you can rethink your customer journeys you have to understand who your customers are by creating key customer personas. It’s still about ‘people’ interactions not just technology. When creating digital solutions, you have to focus on what your customers need from your digital experience (and beyond). Generally, your customer personas will consist of:
– Key Demographics
– What their motivations to visit your website are
– What their pains are
– What their desired outcome is
– What they value
You can go deeper into your research to establish your customer personas by running customer surveys, focus groups and customer interviews.
Once you have defined your customer personas and you understand how you can provide value to your customer, you can then rethink how you can digitise your customer journeys to make their life easy to interact with your brand or purchase your products. It may be that you add to your existing website by adding downloadable content, digital events or you design and build an entirely new experience.
We have recently enabled some of our B2B clients to shift to provide an E-commerce platform as a route to market and provide their customers to purchase their products and services online.
Your customers may have changing expectations and so you need to evolve to meet those expectations.
6. Focus on What Happens Post Initial Engagement
The initial engagement is just the start of the digital relationship with a customer. There are many ways of staying connected to your customer post engagement, so it’s about establishing the correct tactics to keep them engaged with your brand and build brand loyalty and repeat purchase. A few ideas are as below:
– Set up a CRM system and integrate it with your website and accounts system. Or look at how you can utilise your existing CRM better.
– Share ideas and helpful thought leadership content via email marketing
– Retarget customers through social media channels and display ads with useful and practical ebooks and content.
– Set up automated emails that provide your customers with useful content post enquiry/purchase.
– Create a meeting/video call digital diary synced to your calendar so customers can simply book a call instead of using email to suggest dates etc.
– Launch a season of Podcasts with guest speakers relevant to your industry and what your customers are interested in. It’s a low-cost setup these days so cost shouldn’t be a barrier to entry.
The above are just a handful of examples of ideas that you could implement when rethinking your digital customer journeys. The important thing to do is to make a start.
Lightbox Digital is currently running free no-obligation workshops to facilitate this thinking and creation of ideas. You and your team can book on here.