In a B2B environment that is becoming increasingly competitive, there is growing interest in what actually drives business performance.
I was recently presented with some research by Professor Moira Clark of the Henley Centre for Customer Management, which concluded that making it easier for customers to do business is a sure-fire way of improving the bottom line. This takes the notion of customer experience one step further, and she claims that more companies are beginning to bring this line of thought into their strategic planning.
Essentially, it’s about having a customer-centric approach, and the research suggests that customer centricity in B2B drives business performance. The great challenge facing B2B companies, however, is how to change the business to become more customer-centric. For many, it may seem an unrealistic task. Continue reading
When the CEO of all too many B2B companies sits down to decide on the three- or five-year strategy, a select group of executives are typically asked to front up with factual data and strategic opinions: The Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Commercial Officer and the Chief Operations Officer. Equipped with their inputs, the CEO usually feels he or she has enough information to formulate the strategy (perhaps supplemented with external advice). Then, and only then, the strategy is explained to the CMO. Continue reading
How often have you read a B2B case story and thought that you’d seen it before, just from another supplier? Same old, same old.
I’ve seen it often. You realize that what you’re reading is another product brochure disguised as a customer case story.
I was recently involved in what could have been a very interesting story, covering the journey traveled by the company and customer. It was a journey describing a strong, long-standing relationship and the use of market-leading technology (sorry about the propaganda), careful attention to detail, and excellent customer service.
But, most interestingly, it also covered how the company solved unexpected challenges that arose during the implementation of the solution. Continue reading
It’s not that hard to write a blog post, a Tweet or an article, right?
All you have to do is think about what you want to say, structure it, then start tapping away at the keyboard. At least, that’s pretty much true if you’re a good writer and English is your native language!
Our Danish-based B2B clients, on the other hand, have an added challenge in comparison with competitors from English-speaking regions: producing high-quality English texts when English is their second (or even third) language.
When push comes to shove, it’s hard to find a CEO of a B2B company who sees marketing as the go-to function for business performance. Marketers are constantly challenged by their executive management to demonstrate the effectiveness of their efforts.
Does that mean the CMO role at B2B companies is redundant? And what can marketing do to move itself from a support function into the company’s upper echelons? Continue reading
Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.
In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.
Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.
So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?
Are you confusing your customers with second-rate English? For example, did your company recently win a price? Are your people competent, and (by implication) not skilled? Are your writers to your webpage loosing you credibility with spelling misstakes, joiningwordstogether and split ting others, or not using all the write words – making the text that little bit to hard too read?
We all make mistakes sometimes. Especially if we’re writing in a second language. But if your organization has put blood, sweat and tears into creating an innovative product or service that stands head and shoulders above anything else on the market, doesn’t it deserve high-quality promotion? Shouldn’t messaging about what you stand for and what you offer be communicated clearly and professionally? Continue reading
B2B customer case stories follow a fairly simple format of explaining how a product or service solved a specific customer pain. But they don’t necessarily communicate that a company is innovative, or encourage customers to innovate with them. Yet there are good reasons why a repertoire of innovation-focused stories can draw in new customers or stimulate new ideas among existing ones. So why not use them to inspire innovation?
Today’s markets are increasingly demanding evolution, not just adequate performance. And employees are being encouraged to seek out opportunities for incremental or radical innovation. In response, businesses could take the opportunity to highlight case stories about creativity involving their products or services. Continue reading
I had the privilege of spending four days in the South African bush recently. The occasion was a leadership development course together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Although the purpose wasn’t leisure, for me as a wildlife junkie, there are certainly worse things to do than spend three hours a day on safari!
The course was facilitated by Pete, Mick and Steve from Leading with Humanity. Their mission was to force us to reflect on leadership in business through the power of nature. They knew we’d be put way outside of our comfort zones; that we would feel vulnerable and insecure. And they loved it!
But it’s not only the boundary-breaking exercises that make you take a close look at leadership behaviour. Even more telling was the immersion in nature. Witnessing the wild’s dilemmas first hand is a transcendental experience that reveals an honest reality. The competitive coexistence of the vast array of species in the bush is a worthy aspiration for all walks of life. Learning from it will surely benefit any leader’s performance. Continue reading
Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.