When does the customer experience begin? Once the product is delivered or service rendered? This is when most businesses begin to consider their customers’ experience. However, more successful companies understand that they need to think about the customer experience from the very beginning of the Buyer’s Journey. That is the start of their lead generation machine, when future customers are still just prospects.
THE TRUE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE BEGINNING
The customer experience begins when the prospect first interacts with your company. This first touch may be your website from an SEO search, a Google ad, a social post, a referral – whatever initial interaction they have with you. And their experience with your company will continue through the Client Buy Cycle from sales to delivery and any post-sale services you offer.
CREATE AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
When creating your customer experience plan, ask yourself, “What do I want prospects to feel and think at each step of the cycle?” When you can establish an intellectual connection as well as an emotional one, your odds of successfully turning a prospect into a client are much greater.
There are 4 dimensions that drive an emotional connection. Each one needs to be considered to create, build, and sustain a connection with prospects as you move them through the Buyer’s Journey. As you address each dimension, decide whether actions taken will fall under the scope of your Marketing or Sales team.
Your customer experience needs to feel personal to each and every prospect. The more a prospect feels as though the marketing is addressing them as an individual instead of one among a broader group, the more interested they will be in your messages. To accomplish this, you need to understand your B2B target market. Yup. We’re back to target markets, the foundation of your lead generation system. Spend time researching and developing a profile of your ideal client. Be as specific as possible.
Make It Relevant
Once you understand your target market and who your ideal client is, you can identify the issues, problems, and challenges they are facing. No one likes to be inundated with irrelevant information, especially when trying to make a buying decision. Provide prospects and clients with content that is useful and fits with where they are in the buying journey. Consider what the experience needs to include from lead through close into delivery. Don’t forget the value of Sales here. Are your salespeople asking the right questions and listening closely to the responses so that they can make relevant recommendations?
Educate. Share information on trends and knowledge you’ve gained from working with clients similar to your prospects. When you educate prospects and inspire them with new ideas, they are more likely to feel that you are a trusted partner. Developing that trust is key to moving them from prospect to client.
If you have done the work to develop an ideal client profile and you are aligning your marketing content to the issues they face, you’ll provide value to your prospects. Don’t focus on yourself or your products; focus on them. Meet them where they are in their Buyer’s Journey and assist them in making a decision that will solve their problems. This is the most valuable thing you can do to transform prospects into clients.
INTEGRATE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE INTO THE CLIENT BUY CYCLE
No matter where prospects or clients are in the Client Buy Cycle, the 4 dimensions of emotional connection apply. For example:
Create personalized content to build awareness about a specific problem prospects are experiencing. Provide insight to help them determine if it is a problem they should solve and how you might help them do that.
Gather information, ask the right questions, and listen carefully. You will better understand prospects’ situations, needs, and how you can provide a solution that is most relevant to them.
Close the Sale
Help prospects and clients make their buying decision. Show them exactly how the solution you provide will be the one of greatest value to them.
When you plan for your customer experience strategy to start at the beginning of the Buyer’s Journey and integrate it throughout the Client Buy Cycle, you are setting your company up for greater success. Using the 4 dimensions to build an emotional connection with your prospects from marketing to sales is your starting point. Contact us to guide you in planning and implementing your customer experience from lead generation onward.