Maintaining good relationships with customers is a priority for any business. After all, without your customers, there isn’t much point in keeping your doors open. When it comes to B2B customer engagement, the rules are slightly different, but the playing field is essentially the same. Much like the internet and technology have changed the face of customer engagement, the B2B world has a lot to gain from moving to the digital arena.
In this article, we’ll take a look at four ways to use technology to improve B2B customer engagement.
Cloud computing has been around for several years, but it’s being adopted for an increasing number of functions in modern businesses. Most businesses today use some variety of cloud storage, whether it’s a simple file hosting service, or a more complex system for hosting application and development data that utilises Cloud Services. The principal benefit of the cloud in terms of customer engagement is that it allows every member of your team to maintain communication with your company and send or receive information from any location. This helps salespeople to access pertinent data when they’re meeting with clients, and ensures that all your customer data is in one place for easy retrieval. Most cloud solutions also allow your team to work on shared documents in real-time, meaning the data you have on file is always accurate, and there’s little chance of misplacing customer records or keeping multiple versions of the same file.
Voice and Video over IP calling
To achieve good B2B customer engagement, it’s essential to maintain frequent and meaningful contact with your customers. And, especially when you’re dealing with B2B relationships, this means a lot of one-on-one call time with clients that can often add up to hundreds of hours of phone bills per month. Voice over IP (VoIP) calling is a reliable and affordable alternative to standard telephony, and consequently, many businesses are shifting their entire communications infrastructure into the digital world. Even companies that still use analog phone lines for the bulk of their communication are likely to be reachable with VoIP software, since most of their staff members are likely to have some type of voice app like Skype or Yammer installed on their workstations. Another useful feature of VoIP software is that it is capable of integrating with standard telephone calling, so there’s nothing to lose from shifting your communications infrastructure to your IT department. The dramatic reduction in phone bills and improved customer engagement will pay dividends soon enough.
Sales and marketing automation
Automation is one of the hottest topics in technology at the moment, and for good reason – the potential that business process automation has to streamline processes, improve productivity and alleviate strain on staff budgets could revolutionise business as we know it. Automation is an important piece of the puzzle of B2B customer engagement: it makes it possible to communicate with large numbers of customers in a short amount of time, in a personalised way. And, with the powerful software on offer today, sales automation is no longer a case of simply receiving an email with your name in the subject line – it’s possible to create entirely personalised communication journeys that trigger on specific steps that your customers take within their buying process. After-sales support also benefits greatly from automation, as keeping communication channels open with clients is easy, quick and affordable.
Social media was shrugged off by many businesses in its early years, but the reality is that today, customers don’t just expect your company to have a Facebook page: they expect you to have a presence on several social media platforms, and they’ll take the time to seek you out if they’re serious about you. Being able to talk to your customers where and when they need to get in touch goes a long way towards fostering good B2B customer engagement, and will ensure that you have an ear to the ground with respect to what your customers are saying about you in their digital ecosystems.
Having the level of B2B customer engagement that your business needs to thrive comes down to having a solid IT infrastructure that enables you to shift everything – from your business phone system to your customer records – into the digital world. To find out more about how you can boost your company’s performance with technology, contact us for your free IT health check.