The 6 Principles of Delivering Great B2B Customer Experiences

Author: Rahul Khosla | Categories: Content Marketing, B2B Online Excellence, Customer Experience

The customer has changed. She is always on, always connected, and moves across channels and devices seamlessly. Most importantly, she is in control of the buying process. She educates herself on how to solve her problems, gets feedback on vendors from her network, and by the time she reaches out to a vendor, she is very deep in the buying process..

Business buyers

In a world where the customer is inundated with information and has very little attention, marketers must rethink how to make their brands relevant to their customers.

Customer experience (CX) is a strategic differentiator. The results of differentiating on customer experience are tangible. "CX leaders enjoy a 35% higher return than the S&P 500" (Source: 2015 Watermark Consulting study). And, firms that lag behind in customer experience, take a 45-point hit compared to the market average.

“Now to be truly competitive your company must become customer obsessed, which means you need to have deep knowledge of and engagement with your customers.”
Winning in The Age of The Customer
Forrester Research Inc.

This simply exemplifies the importance of the customer experience. For B2B companies, delivering a great customer experience requires a holistic approach that involves research, strategy, and technology working in concert across channels and devices.

This process can seem intimidating. Quite often marketers struggle with 'from where to start'. So, I’ve outlined 6 principles of delivering great Customer Experience to serve as a guide:

Principle 1:  Focus on the customer

Great customer experiences start with a maniacal focus on the customer. We must seek to identify and segment customers, and capture their customer journeys. These journeys identify how a customer buys – what she is thinking, feeling and doing – as she's on a purchase journey through engagement, retention and advocacy..


Forrester research
(source: Forrester Research)


Principle 2: Integrated Customer Experience Platform

You must be able to engage customers wherever they are in a seamless manner. As they move across channels and devices, you must be able to deliver content and experiences wherever they want to consume data.

Your marketing technology – CMS, Marketing Automation, Social Media, CRM and Analytics – must work in symphony to engage the customer. Alone, each of these components represents a major and a powerful piece of the customer experience. But, together, they represent a robust and effective CX strategy.

Many companies have mastered one or two of these functions, but the ones that commit fully to delivering an exceptional experience are the companies that create a seamless and effortless marketing and sales process throughout the customer experience, leveraging every opportunity to maximize value and increase engagement.


CMS Analytics


An integrated CX platform provides a single view of the customer, through which marketers can gather insights to orchestrate experiences wherever the customer is.

Principle 3: Single view of the customer and cross-channel insights

The bedrock of delivering an exceptional customer experience is a combination of data and insight – great personalized experiences are data driven.

For other pieces to come together, you need to weave a layer of data through every activity that follows customers across channels and allows you to provide contextual content while offering it as and when it makes sense.

With an integrated marketing technology ecosystem, it’s easier to capture a single view of the customer. You must capture and integrate data from your website, email platforms, social platforms into a single view that allows you to identify users across channels and devices. This view must then be used not only for customer behavior and marketing insights, but to orchestrate personalized cross-channel content and promotions.

There are many options to store a single view of the customer; there is no one right way. Leveraging capabilities such as Data Management Platforms, Tag Management, Master Data Management, and analytics tools allow you to store all your customer data in a single location.

Principle 4: Contextual experiences

Have you ever had one of those serendipitous moments when you're looking to solve a problem and stumble across the solution before you even know what to search for? That moment of truth is memorable and instrumental in a buying decision.

Contextual experiences leverage customer data and insight to meet them at the exact point where they have a need -- to deliver the right message at the right time, without the customer even needing to ask. These experiences are enabled by data and delivered through personalization across all channels.

There are four steps essential to contextual experiences:

  1. Know your customers
  2. Segment your customers
  3. Personalize engagement
  4. Reach clients wherever they are

To know and segment your customer, you must identify the right type of customer and understand their customer journey. By capturing the customer journey, you capture context about the customer using a combination of approaches:

  • Implicitly: You can track the digital footprint of a customer across your digital assets. Their behavior can tell you about their interests, which can be used for segmenting data. Types of information include clickstream on the site, on-site search use, and time on site.

  • Explicitly: Customers provide information when they download an asset or subscribe to information. Further, these explicit techniques convert unknown users to known users. A great subscription center is essential for contextual marketing. Customers can select information that is of interest to them and personalize communications they receive.

  • Externally: You can use data providers such as DemandBase to gather information about the customer and then integrate that data into your existing platform, allowing you to match information for customers and expand the data available to you.

Once you know your customer, your technology must allow you to create personalized messages for customers depending on their context.

Principle 5: Multi-channel content marketing

Having context and a personalization approach is only good if your content reaches your customers wherever they are. Using a COPE methodology (Create Once and Publish Everywhere), you must be able to push content with a click of a button across channels. Your technology should be integrated, and you must have an appropriate content management system in place to manage content across channels and devices.
content marketing
Create Once and Publish Everywhere

Principle 6: Simplify

In a complex world, brands who simplify experiences for their customers win. Customers disengage from complex experiences.

Simplicity doesn't stop with the customer. If a marketer's experience is complex and poor, the customer’s experience breaks. Your team must be enabled with easy to use self-service platforms to deliver experiences at scale without much technical intervention. Technology should be easy to use.

These 6 simple principles should be the bedrock of your strategy. By bringing these into use, you can select technology that fits your goals and create a roadmap that executes your vision.