We’ve been speaking with our Client Director, Lindsay Hey about what brands need to consider in both their Consumer and B2B strategies, and what sales and marketing agencies can do to help brands set and achieve their strategy in this fast-moving landscape. Today Lindsay provides her view on what’s changing in both the B2B and Consumer sector:
“Let’s take consumer first - there have been 4 key changes in the consumer environment:
- Temporary and permanent closure of bricks and mortar retail: Across key retailers, more than 50% of stores have remained closed, and retailers are assessing the viability of every outlet meaning more may close in the future.
- Online (or Pureplays) are winning, but they’re facing new challenges: Consumers have found ways to research and purchase the products they want, but supply chains have creaked at the seams and customer service has been challenging in a digital environment. Every retailer has posted positive growth in online channels, but it hasn’t been sufficient to make up the gap from bricks and mortar sales.
- Blended experiences are being launched and refined: By this I mean consumers are able to connect with retail professionals in new ways - from Shop Live in Dixons supporting over 20,000 consumer conversations each week, to John Lewis launching a personal shopper service on Zoom - retailers are realising that the personal experience still delivers value. It increases transaction values and reduces returns, and all while increasing customer satisfaction.
- Technology and Electricals are an enabler in everyday life, work and education: With a huge increase in home working and schooling, consumers have reassessed their requirements to be able to work productively and comfortably from home. This has driven many people to update their technology at home, from software to broadband equipment, and devices to kitchen gadgets, to optimise their “new normal”.
Meanwhile the B2B channel has also been impacted, and I think that the way brands can be more successful in this space is to leverage the attitude and skillset of their consumer channel teams:
There’s a huge opportunity here for B2B teams to learn from how B2C teams operate. If done right brands can create long term customers vs win short term sales, if the right strategy is applied. Here’s how:
- Use data to understand your customer base: In B2B, the landscape is quite different. Whether structured to deal through resellers or direct to business customers, there is an opportunity to win for those who can understand their customer base and offerings in granular detail. Data is the key to understanding your market and it’s not being utilised in this channel to its full potential and that’s a huge gap.
- Align brand proposition with customer need for long term partnership: Right now, businesses are seeking flexibility and efficiency more than ever before. Products like cloud, collaboration and communication devices, and security products are on the rise. Businesses are buying to satisfy an immediate need. Brands need to sell a solution story and adapt their propositions to match the needs of businesses for the long term. We think that the brands who can simplify their message and proactively target this to their audience will be the ones who win.
- Meaningful digital engagement will win sales and promote advocacy: Restricted face to face interaction has made meaningful digital engagement more important. Brands need to rely on their sales teams to breathe life and purpose into engaging digital campaigns. Monotonous webinars, untailored to their customer’s needs will not cut it. Brands need to find ways to create community and provoke emotion with their B2B audiences.
When your consumer retail teams learn from you B2B teams and vice versa, both become more successful. Creativity, personalisation and using data to ensure being in the right place at the right time are all keys to success.
These three points are all things we do well in the consumer channel and when we apply this to brands B2B arms we see transformational success. Brands who think outside the box will change the way B2B sales are influenced forever.”
Join us tomorrow when we speak to Lindsay about her view on what influences purchase in both channels and what brands have to do to win.
If what we’ve talked about resonates for your brand and you’d like to talk more about how you can revolutionise the approach to success in both Consumer and B2B channels to sell more, talk to us.
Alternatively, follow our LinkedIn page to stay up to date with our latest views.
MEET THE EXPERT:
For more information on Lindsay Hey, Client Account Director, specialising in the Technology sector, visit her LinkedIn page.