by Tom Shackleton
When it comes to an effective, modern B2B selling strategy, it’s not just having a convincing website that counts. You need to consider the whole customer experience from first contact to closing the sale.
This became even more apparent to us recently when we had to procure a niche service for our internal operations. Our experience of researching and contacting potential providers showed us just how important optimising the whole process is, and how one weak link can result in a lost sale.
Here’s our B2B buying experience and why it shows that your B2B business needs more than just a website to sell to the modern buyer:
Customer Service Was Key
As the obvious place to start, we began by searching price comparison sites. While the experience of finding the cheapest quote seemed simple enough. We quickly realised that the approach just wasn’t suitable for such a niche product.
Our experience of contacting the selected companies that we found through comparison sites wasn’t great.
We reached the point of having paid a deposit before it became apparent that the chosen policy wasn’t suitable for our needs.
The customer service provided by the price comparison companies definitely didn’t match the initial ease of finding quotes.
The providers’ product knowledge wasn’t good enough to allay any queries we had about the packages, and left us without the confidence to complete the sale.
Inform the Research Process
After a poor experience with comparison sites, we decided to research potential providers ourselves.
A quick Google search threw up some well known names, but it became apparent that they couldn’t provide the niche product we were looking for.
The providers that really stood out were those whose sites provided engaging and useful content. This allowed us to answer any questions we had about the service in question, and presented an image of a well informed and professional company.
The companies that made our shortlist provided valuable information and allowed us to complete the research process without direct interaction.
Their websites were professional and packed with useful content, drawing us in and making them serious considerations for our custom.
This alone though, isn’t enough…
Perform Across Touch Points
Once we’d whittled down potential providers to a list of three, only then did we decide to make contact with them on the basis that their websites were clear, professional and informative.
Of the companies we contacted, one didn’t have the professional level of service to match our initial optimism. Their sales representative didn’t have the level of detailed knowledge to complete the sale, and wasn’t even aware that our required type of policy existed.
While this company performed well enough to attract us initially, their professional site was not enough to compensate for slow and unhelpful customer service, especially in a competitive environment.
This definitely shows the importance of maintaining your level of service across every touch point. Our poor experience with just one touch point (the sales person) caused us to buy elsewhere.
Knowledge Beats Price
When it comes to modern B2B buying, price isn’t always the most important factor.
Of our shortlist, we didn’t opt for the cheapest quote, but instead decided on the most professional and reassuring of the three.
Our point of contact was a specialist adviser with detailed knowledge on the product we needed. Their tone and service also reassured us that they were used to dealing with similar requests.
When coupled with an excellent website that allowed us to research the product we needed through their content, we settled on the provider with the best knowledge and all round service, not the cheapest.
Having a strong and professional that’s packed with content is a powerful tool for engaging and placing your B2B business in the mind of buyers.
However, without matching service across every touch point that potential customers use, you won’t secure the sale. With that in mind, our key takeaways from the experience are:
- Provide Content to inform research
- Match with exceptional customer service
- Give the customer confidence
If you’re interested in finding out more about the experiences of B2B businesses in a modern selling environment, take a look at our article on what to do if you lose your biggest customer.