Blog Series – Part 2: B2B Marketing Roundtable: Managing Customer Lifecycle in Times of Change

Posted December 16, 2021

Blog Series – Part 2: B2B Marketing Roundtable: Managing Customer Lifecycle in Times of Change

Posted December 16, 2021

Part 2: How B2B Marketers Will Tackle 2022

This is part two of a blog series highlighting stories shared at Anteriad’s exclusive November Roundtable event. You can read part one here.

Anteriad’s November Roundtable tackled the challenges of managing the customer lifecycle in times of change, a dilemma faced by B2B marketers across all industries, with Covid-19 putting us all in a tailspin for the better part of 2 years. Part One of our Wrap Up noted that savvy B2B marketers stepped outside of their comfort zone (in some cases, WAY outside) to shift marketing spend by channel, test mailings to home address and, event marketers completely overhauling their offerings from a live setting to a virtual one. In Part Two of our Roundtable Wrap Up, we’re sharing how B2B marketers from the catalog, eCommerce, HR & training, non-profit and event verticals are speaking to customers and prospects as we head into the new year with optimism of recovery and growth, albeit with the new challenge of supply chain interruptions on their plate.

While there may have been shifts in the “type” of customer and their associated purchasing activity, our Roundtable participants acknowledged that each individual customer or prospect, regardless of where they receive an email, catalog or banner ad, has a need, thus making them a viable sales opportunity. Getting messaging to resonate with them in the brief window allowed by normal attention spans can be facilitated with personalization and/or a straightforward solve to the recipient’s problem(s). Offering relevancy is THE top driver of click and open rates and will drive web activity. Also effective as a catalyst for engagement, per several of our discussion participants, was using content as an asset in email communication. Establishing oneself as a thought leader increases trust in your brand, which can result in increased engagement, which naturally, is the springboard to a sales pipeline that is continually filled.

Naturally, a top concern with our Roundtable participants was the current supply chain backlog. Most having been able to pivot, either on the fly or with their short-term sales and marketing strategies, to try to mitigate inventory challenges, particularly with merchandise that is manufactured overseas. It was noted that “what matters” may shift/be shifting, at least temporarily, away from lowest pricing to what the customer can actually get right now (again, focusing on providing a solution to an immediate problem). That said, a few trouble-shooting suggestions included:

  • Empowering a well-versed CSR team to offer alternatives for low or out-of-stock products in real time
  • Deprioritizing low/out-of-stock items on websites and in mail pieces, even if they are historically best-sellers
  • Activating a pop-up message, either upon clicking on a low/out-of-stock item or at checkout, offering an alternative product or directing customers to contact the a CSR rep for assistance
  • And, on the proactive front, getting ahead of potential deliverability issues with customers who have “regular” (annual, quarterly, seasonal) buying patterns and encouraging them to place those orders “NOW!”

The common thread weaved throughout the full Roundtable session was “providing a solution” and that can be executed by offering virtual training, education and events, to delivering relevant and timely offers to the right recipients via the right channels, at the right time. Even establishing yourself as a thought leader through the delivery of useful information can foster nurturing and solidifying long-term relationships (read: increased LTV). The general consensus of our virtual attendees was that an “I’m here to help” approach will likely be better received and more successful then a hard sell strategy.  

It goes without saying that 2020-2021 has challenged us all and building back steady growth will rely on some savvy (and tough) business navigational decisions. Stepping out of your comfort zone while daunting, has proven effective for B2B marketers across all sectors, from eCommerce to hi-tech to membership to event marketers. Being a nimble marketer, empowering staff and maximizing relationships with customers and partners, from consultants to data providers, can help with the heavy lift.

Danielle Zaborski
Vice President, Performance Marketing
Anteriad
dzaborski@someshrm