Customer experience is a key business component that B2B startup, SaaS and manufacturer brands often overlook. Though customer experience (or CX) can often have an indirect impact on revenue, a more direct line to initial sales and those of the future can and should be directly connected. The experience that customers have when dealing with your B2B brand from their original exposure, through your messaging and value proposition has the ability to affect revenue.
What Is Customer Experience?
What is customer experience anyway? Not a bad place to start on a topic that is likely at least a bit foreign to many startup and mid-sized B2B brands. Beyond the obvious connotations of the words, it is important to have a deeper and contextual understanding of what customer experience means before it can then be properly applied to marketing, sales and ultimately revenue results.
Customer experience combines the tangible with the intangible elements of the customer interactions with a business from the initial contact, during the discovery and sales process and also continues even after the sale is made. All elements of the relationship with a customer is measured against their early and resulting expectations to form their experience level at any given moment over the relationship journey.
Customer Experience And B2B
According to a study released by Accenture, a leading global professional services company, poor customer experience affects revenue growth for a majority of B2B companies. The study sums up its findings with a compelling statement that either B2B brands do enough to make an impact on their customer experience, or don’t bother to do anything at all.
B2B customer experience strategy and execution is growing in focus and priority. In fact, the study shows that an enormous 90% of B2B executives say they plan on maintaining or increasing spending on customer experience within their organization. This is a clear indication that B2B management is recognizing the significant impact that customer experience has on their business and more importantly its revenue.
How Customer Experience Affects B2B Revenue
The Accenture study pulls some interesting statistical data about customer experience and the effect on revenue within B2B organizations. It found that a mere 25% of B2B companies are any good at customer experience, yet most of them understood customer experience to have a real impact on growth. Furthermore, the study also indicated that the B2B brands that excel at customer experience realize a significantly higher revenue growth rate than those that do not.
There are two key areas where customer experience impacts B2B revenue.
Competitive Advantage: When you have a great experience with a brand at any stage of the customer journey, you remember it. This positive experience impacts not only your perception of the brand and its products but also the perceived value you have in both. Furthermore, when your customers have exceptional experiences with your B2B company, you set the bar for your competition.
Especially true up to when a sale is actually made, the marketing, discovery and messaging phases of the customer experience set the tone for the B2B customer’s expectation. That expectation and early experience is then portrayed and measured against your competition. The B2B customer experience impacts their view of your competitor as they evaluate the other product and service options within the market. When you set the customer experience bar high from the beginning, you create an additional and valuable competitive advantage over your competitors. This advantage can tip the decision in your favor when either price and/or product becomes a key final consideration by the B2B customer.
Revenue Growth: Simply put… When your customers are having great experiences at all phases of the customer journey, you will have more sales wins. Additionally, when your customer experience priorities are backed with real execution, the additional value you build in your customer’s mind is worth more money. In both cases, your brand can charge more or even sell more options or volume to your customer because you have exceeded their expectations and thereby made what you do worth more to them.
Excellent B2B customer experience generates additional and scalable revenue. It’s just that simple.
B2B Customer Experience Strategy
When proper focus is set on the customer experience within an organization it is not something that is an afterthought.
I believe that “If a strategy lacks priority, I can assure you that it will also lack results.”
B2B customer experience strategy is important, however it can only be fully realized within your B2B organization if it is backed up by leadership level focus. Your B2B management team must instill a culture of customer experience excellence at all levels of the business and make it a critical element of the company’s standard operating procedures.
Customer experience as a critical component of all elements of a B2B company is crucial to it having a direct and significant impact on revenue.