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In B2B, many companies focus on metrics like customer potential, wallet share, and purchase frequency. But some forward-thinking companies are asking themselves the fundamental question: “How can I help my customers be successful?”
By focusing on B2B customer success, CPG companies and wholesale distributors are creating long-term relationships that bring value to all parties. They’re becoming real, trusted partners to their customers and building loyalty for the long haul.
Tuning digital transformation for B2B customer success
Digitalization doesn’t need to mean becoming impersonal. Done right, digitalization can bring you closer to your customers than ever before.
Plieger group, a wholesale distributor of building products and installation equipment, with locations throughout the Netherlands, is using customer success to shape its digital transformation. The company has being in business for more than 100 years and has built a close relation with its customers, the installers.
During a panel discussion organized by Dept, a digital agency for creativity, technology and data, Jeroen Heydendael, Manager of Marketing & E-commerce at Plieger group, discussed the company’s digital transformation goal of boosting B2B customer success.
With that in mind, they included some business and digital capabilities tailored for the installers, including:
- Mobile first. The installers are on the road, so they need to be able to consume Plieger group’s services from a mobile phone; it’s like having Plieger group in their pocket.
- Convenient ordering window. If an installer orders before 9 p.m., they can have the products delivered to one of 60 locations in the Netherlands by the next morning. This helps the installers work faster.
- Quotation service. A quotation platform helps the installer have multiple open quotations for its customers — the final consumers — streamlining administrative tasks.
- Tools and services to ease the ordering process, such as barcode scanning, installation kits, and order history
- Stock visibility. Gives transparency to set expectations and helps decision-making.
All these services help the installers deliver a better service to the consumer and strengthens the relation between the installer and Plieger group. Jeroen also said the company is using a CRM solution for their front-office digital transformation.
Building with B2C in mind for B2B customer success
We can’t forget that B2B customers are also consumers. Their expectations are influenced by their B2C experiences, where ease of use and speed are everything. Increasingly. they’re looking for the same capabilities and services they get in a B2C digital interaction in their B2B digital interactions.
During the panel discussion, Anouk Vastert, CX Advisor from SAP, provided some insight into how B2B companies can accomplish this. A very useful tool for this kind of digital transformation project is customer journey mapping.
Build a net-new audience years before your product ever launches. Yep, understanding customer journey mapping and the real buyer's path can help you do that.
In customer journey mapping, you review all customer touch points across the organization from the customer perspective. This view eliminates organizational silos and highlights the need for collaborative, end-to-end business processes.
Anouk also stressed the importance of change management. A digital transformation project touches every department in the organization, from sales and marketing to finance and logistics. Even HR has a big role, including internal communications, hiring new talent, and helping current employees develop the skills needed in the new reality.
It’s about business outcomes, not just products
In today’s outcome-based economy, your customers are not just looking for a product or service, they want a positive outcome that advances their business.
In the case of Plieger group’s customers — the installers — want happy consumers, and they accomplish that by performing great installations as fast as possible.
The best way to succeed in B2B is by helping your customers succeed.