In a recent webinar, guest speaker Lori Wizdo, VP and principal analyst serving B2B marketing professionals for Forrester, joined me to discuss the current and future states of B2B marketing. The entire discussion is worth listening to, but the highlight for me came when she explored the “data demons” holding back today’s B2B marketers.
She started with two shocking statistics derived from 2017 Forrester research. Only twelve percent of B2B marketers say they have confidence in the accuracy of their marketing databases. Eighty-four percent of the same audience ranked data management as one of their top-five weaknesses.
She cited several reasons for why these data demons exist. Examples include: third-party data is notoriously unreliable; business consumers often enter false information when filling out forms to avoid a deluge of untargeted outreach; disparate data silos prevent marketers from gaining a single view of business customers; and database records are often out-of-date because it’s too hard to keep up with constantly-evolving contact information and identity data.
Why are these problems so serious?
Lori explained that today’s B2B marketers are facing a “perfect storm” of customer experience factors. Thanks to their B2C experiences, buyers expect vendors to provide higher levels of service on a wider range of devices and channels. Thanks to a stricter consumer privacy and data protection regulatory landscape, led by the EU GDPR, stitching together customer insights is becoming more difficult, even as new technologies unlock even more contextual marketing possibilities.
To master these data demons and navigate through this perfect storm, Lori said B2B marketers need a new strategy to engage the business customer.
The Next Phase of Business Customer Data Management
In my presentation, I put some meat on the bones for the strategy Lori called for.
Through real-world SAP Customer Data Cloud client examples, I showed how B2B brands can deliver the customer experiences demanded by B2B buyers through a holistic strategy for data management. This strategy puts the customer’s needs first at every step of the buyer’s journey, from awareness, to conversion, to advocacy. Importantly, the entire approach is based on a key concept: earning and reinforcing business customer trust.
To execute this strategy and build customer trust, a B2B brand needs a way to build an accurate and comprehensive profile of every business user who engages with its digital ecosystem. These business customer profiles can be grown over time – through consent-based interactions across touchpoints – to include a range of attributes that directly impact operations, sales and marketing. Compared with storing customer data in disparate silos across the organization, these unified profiles can be more easily combined with transactional and operational data for robust reporting and analytics that help better identify growth opportunities.
Through this approach, B2B vendors can:
- Engage with business buyers in more personalized, relevant and secure ways across devices, channels and brands
- Provide frictionless entry points to individual users’ content and services through authorization and access management policies that map to the customers’ business logic
- Respect privacy and preferences while also addressing data protection regulation compliance
- Uncover new opportunities and insights through analytics based on rich profiles that contain accurate, permission-based data
With this new data management approach, B2B brands can better address their data demons. They will build more customer trust, protect the business from regulatory risk and deliver market-leading customer experiences that will drive more revenue.
Catch the Replay!
The full conversation has many more insights into how digital experiences can help build B2B customer trust. To learn more about the data management challenges facing business vendors, strategies to address them and SAP Customer Data Cloud’s new B2B solutions, access the on-demand replay HERE.
By Sonny Dasgupta