Are you aware of one of the biggest shifts taking place in the B2B industry?

Well, for one, we’re starting to see B2B and B2C sales tactics merge. B2B companies are now allowing customers to learn about their products and services organically, without the guidance of a sales rep.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to help your customers make faster purchasing decisions, create  impactful relationships in a shorter time, and make the sale sooner than you previously imagined. It all starts with the customer journey – knowing how your buyer flows in and out of your business, how they feel at every touchpoint, and how to improve the experience so they can make a purchasing decision faster.

How do you do that? By using data better. In this article, we’ll take a look at how B2C uses data to create a self-serve business model, and how B2B companies can begin transitioning to do the same.

A customer’s journey should be enjoyable at every touchpoint

A customer’s journey should be enjoyable at every touchpoint

How B2B companies can misuse data 

A customer journey should feel like a trip to Disneyland. You go with a bunch of friends, you know exactly which rides are the best (splash mountain is your favorite!), and you know that blowing $400 on the trip is worth it for the experience. Unfortunately, some B2B companies missed the memo and their customers’ journey is a pain. Sales reps may be too invasive, their websites might not have the information they need, customer service might not be consistent, and they never know what to expect.

If you feel like your B2B company is not pleasing buyers during their customers’ journey, there may be mistakes your sales team is making. They could be observing and using customer data in a way that no longer fits what decision-makers need.


Here are a few examples:

  • When finding high-value customers:
    B2B companies need customer lifetime value data, and other customer info, to verify who they should invest their marketing and sales dollars into. However, ‘high value’ isn’t just about who has brought in the most money, there are other (often ignored) data points that signal a customer or account could be very profitable.
  • When building relationships:
    Departments use data to discover and qualify stakeholders, create an ideal customer profile (ICP), and gather enough details to keep them engaged in their sales funnel long-term. What often happens is that sales reps fail to talk to their real, multifaceted customers often, and reduce them to just their job titles, job roles, and other demographic and firmographic data.
  • When creating messages:
    Teams look at data to see where their potential buyers are in their customer journey and to figure out where they get value from the company’s products or services. In return, sales teams can create strong, logical arguments to choose their business over competitors, but may lack an emotional connection.
  • When customer journey mapping:
    Teams focus on behavioral data about the potential buyer’s reaction to each touchpoint and use this to track their flow throughout the company. What they may miss out on is optimizing the customer journey by involving buyers in customizing their own experience as they prefer!

B2B data is valuable, but also has the potential to be used as a crutch and cripple your sales efforts. Customers are much more than data points. If you want your customer journey map to be effective, move towards a B2C self-serve model and start looking at data like a B2C company.

B2C companies have less customized customer journey map

B2C companies have less customized customer journey map

The B2B shift towards a B2C self-serve model explained

In traditional B2B selling, potential customers wait to receive important information, like pricing, usually until after they’ve been qualified to speak to a salesperson. Today, the fastest-growing B2B companies are beginning to adopt the B2C business model, where customers serve and educate themselves without speaking to a sales rep at first.

And it makes sense. According to HubSpot, only 19% of decision-makers want to connect with a sales representative during the awareness phase. That’s a shockingly low percentage, yet many sales reps still reach out with emails, calls, and messages during this phase, answering simple questions that should be easily available for potential customers to find for themselves.

It’s also a huge waste of sales resources. Your sales reps only get one chance to make a first impression with decision-makers. It should be spent discussing their biggest pain points, getting to know more about their daily lives, challenging their ideas, and positioning yourself as an authority. 

Since B2C companies have won the self-serve game, we’re going to take a look at the key ways that they gather and use data. Incorporating these ideas can transform the way you sell to B2B customers, shortening their customer journey and making the relationship more transactional.

How B2C is using data efficiently 

With shorter sales cycles and fewer people involved in the buying process, B2C companies have less customer data to look at, so they focus on a different approach. 

Here’s are a few examples:

  • When finding high-value customers:
    Once a B2C company has accurate data about their customer base, they aggressively market and sell to a large volume of people right off the bat, instead of building an intimate relationship first.
  • When building relationships:
    B2C companies have a shorter sales cycle, so their teams dig deep into the customers’ personal lives. What they read, watch on television, their values, attitudes towards controversial subjects, and more can help to understand how the product or service fits into every aspect of their daily lives.
  • When creating messages:
    B2C focuses on emotional triggers with their customers. There’s no need to make a logical argument to buy a pair of running shoes when you’re an avid runner. With customer service data, they can gather the most common complaints and the keywords used to describe their problems, using that info to pull at customers’ heartstrings.
  • When customer journey mapping:
    With B2C customers, marketing is less customized individually, but they make sure to always involve customers in the process of designing the experience with surveys.
Using B2B data to grow your business

How to use B2B data to increase revenue

How to use data to improve your customer’s journey like B2C

1. Make your business more self-serving

Decision-makers don’t need to speak to your sales reps immediately, unless they ask. 75% of buyers expect to self-educate while on their customer journey, so if your sales reps are concealing important information in the hopes the customer will take a call, you’re missing a huge opportunity! You’ll speed up the transaction by giving them all the information they need upfront, letting them qualify themselves, learn, and explore the product on their own, and come to you when they’re good and ready.

Tips to make your B2B business self-serving:

  • Look at your customer journey data, find touchpoints where your customer is conducting research – usually in the awareness stage – and decide how your sales reps can take a step back and make it easier for them to get quick answers on their own.
  • Automate some of your customer service with AI chat boxes to answer small questions without your prospect or customer needing to dig through your website. 
  • Make your company website well-designed, easier to navigate, complete with all info, and accessible for the disabled so your customers can look for information. 

2. Learn how you fit into your customers’ lifestyle

Once you learn more about your customer’s lifestyle, both at work and outside the workplace, you can begin connecting your sales and marketing messages to their emotions.

Decision-makers make purchasing decisions based on logic, but their jobs and lives are a roller coaster of emotions. If they make the wrong purchase for the company, they may lose money, have their decision-making skills come into question, or lose respect from their boss and peers. It may even cost them a future promotion!

Loss, insecurity, and fear of failure are a few of the emotions you can add to your messaging to make it less bland and to let your prospect know you understand what they’re going through.

Here’s some data to look at:

  • Analyze the keywords your customers use across channels and in customer service tickets, to see which emotions they may be feeling and tailor your messages to match. 
  • Hold surveys to ask for feedback about how they feel throughout their customer journey.

3.  Tap into your customers’ emotions

Once you learn more about your customer’s lifestyle, both at work and outside the workplace, you can begin connecting your sales and marketing messages to their emotions.

Decision-makers make purchasing decisions based on logic, but their jobs and lives are a roller coaster of emotions. If they make the wrong purchase for the company, they may lose money, have their decision-making skills come into question, or lose respect from their boss and peers. It may even cost them a future promotion!

Loss, insecurity, and fear of failure are a few of the emotions you can add to your messaging to make it less bland and to let your prospect know you understand what they’re going through.

Here’s some data to look at:

  • Analyze the keywords your customers use across channels and in customer service tickets, to see which emotions they may be feeling and tailor your messages to match. 
  • Hold surveys to ask for feedback about how they feel throughout their customer journey.

4. Aggressively sell to your top customers

B2C companies advertise aggressively to their customers. In the past, B2B companies have done the same, however, most of your revenue is probably coming from a small pool of customers. You should focus your marketing and sales spend by implementing an account-based marketing  program. By aggressively selling to your top 10%, you’ll earn more money from the most profitable customers.

The data to look out for:

  • Find your high-value customers by looking at customer lifetime value to see who has brought in the most money over their entire period with your company.
  • Look at customers who have brought the most money over the last calendar year.
  • Enrich your CRM with Lusha API and update your customer and account profiles with firmographics to find customers who match your ICP perfectly and will potentially be profitable.

5. Make your customer journey more collaborative

When creating a customer journey map, it’s important to include your customers in the process. After all, they’re the ones that interact with your business. All departments that interact with your customers (marketing, sales, and customer service) should participate in the mapping process so they understand their impact on buyers and can contribute their knowledge. The ultimate goal is to deliver an amazing customer experience via your maps.

You can involve your customers and collect data in several ways:

  • Host in-person interviews or ask for feedback from customers after an interaction to see how they liked their rep or agent, and then use that data to improve performance.
  • Create a focus group to discuss your product or service with customers in-depth, revealing what is and isn’t important for them.
  • Utilize your customer journey map to monitor and communicate with both sides, customers and departments, about how to improve each touchpoint.

Key takeaways

  • B2B companies are moving to the B2C self-serve business model, allowing customers to self-educate and only reach out to sales reps on their own terms usually during the awareness stage. 
  • Download Lusha Extension, which delivers accurate and updated firmographics about your customers, including job title, job role, industry, vertical, employee headcount and more. This data provides a starting point to understanding high value customers in your CRM.
  • Make your B2B company more transactional. With longer sales cycles, a self-serve strategy gets you to the close faster. More importantly, include your customers’ ideas on how to improve your service, website, and their customer journey.

Test out Lusha when creating a customer journey map. It’ll help qualify your customers and prioritize whose voice matters the most when designing one.

 

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    This information should not be mistaken for legal advice. Please ensure that you are prospecting and selling in compliance with all applicable laws.

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