By Elia Elenius, COO at Videobot
The E-commerce landscape is transforming rapidly, and B2B customer acquisition is undergoing a seismic shift. As we venture deeper into the digital age, traditionally established B2B rules no longer apply. Experiences more familiar to the B2C world are beginning to shape the interactions that convert even the most corporate customers.
Multiple data sources support this evidential behavioral shift; we’ve run the numbers, and the most powerful catalysts at the heart of the B2B revolution point to Gen Z’s digital dexterity and the emotively evocative empowerment of the online shift from text and images to short videos.
The Changing Face of B2B
Traditionally, B2B transactions were characterized by formality, paperwork, and lengthy procurement processes. Relationships were fostered over time, and trust was built with personal selling and face-to-face human interaction. The focus was primarily on functionality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. However, the landscape is shifting as B2B decision-makers increasingly resemble B2C consumers in their expectations of experience-driven, engaging interactions in the B2B journey.
Digital journeys are playing an increasingly significant role as decision-makers are looking for intuitive, personalized, and engaging online experiences. Digital is by no means new, but its power and ubiquity are. Couple this with the fact that since 2016, millennials have been the largest population of the industrial workforce, and it’s no surprise that digitally native demand has swept in an expectation of immediacy aligned to this attentionally deficient demographic.
Demands now emphasize transparency, seamless transactions, and instant access to information. In fact, a remarkable 86% of B2B decision-makers now indicate a strong preference for self-service tools in reordering processes, a clear sign of a paradigm shift away from traditional sales interactions. Furthermore, a significant number cited a strong preference for not engaging with a live representative for many stages of the customer journey.
The Rise of Digital Platforms
The digitization of B2B journeys is well underway, with a substantial 67% of the B2B buyer journey now occurring through digital channels. This shift aligns with the sentiments of 83% of B2B leaders who endorse omnichannel selling as an effective approach to cultivating new business. It’s evident that companies must adapt to this digital landscape, but there’s still a significant gap between expectations and reality.
A notable 66% of B2B buyers express dissatisfaction with their online purchasing journeys. Nearly half of them encounter issues frequently or consistently during their online purchases. Furthermore, 89% of companies in the UK and US find the online buying process more complex than its offline counterpart. The question arises: How can businesses bridge this gap and elevate the B2B online experience to enhance customer acquisition?
Leveraging Digital’s Dynamic Duo – Video and Chatbots
The world is turning towards video consumption on all fronts. As Generation Z and younger are fully adapted and in demand of more video content over text, the global digital video content market size reached US$ 171.5 billion in 2022. As the younger generations’ attention span for ads has plummeted to only 1 second, brands and companies are looking for ways to engage their website visitors as well as explain their products in a simpler, more cohesive way. The TikTok trickledown is spreading beyond social media, and into our web-based interactions, with 80% of internet traffic now in video format. How can the B2B journey tap into this?
Engaging visual content: Video content has long been a cornerstone of successful B2C marketing, and now it’s making its mark in B2B. Businesses can use video to showcase their products, explain complex concepts, and tell compelling brand stories. It’s a medium that engages, educates, and captivates decision-makers in a rich and dynamic way that text and images simply cannot replicate.
Instant Interactions: Chatbots, powered by AI, offer immediate responses to customer inquiries. Whether it’s answering product queries or providing technical support, chatbots ensure that potential leads receive the information they need promptly. In a B2B context, where time is often of the essence, this responsiveness is invaluable.
Build trust through humanity: Despite the deepening of digital technology, the core of human decision-making is triggered in the emotional part of our brain. Engaging this requires an empathetic and humanistic approach. B2B needs trust more than any other model, mostly because of its huge scope, time and budget, meaning that traditional B2B journeys used to require many human touchpoints. Personalized videos are the digital equivalent of these; leveraging video can connect people in a natural way that develops the familiarity and trust that helps convert customers.
Personalized Engagement: Advanced chatbots analyze customer data and behavior to provide personalized recommendations and responses. This personalization creates a more engaging and tailored experience for potential customers, increasing their likelihood of conversion. Combining with personalized video content takes the immersion and humanity a stage further. This builds trust and relationships akin to traditional personal selling.
Data-Driven Insights: The integration of chatbots into the B2B customer journey also yields valuable data insights. Businesses can gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences, pain points, and behavior, allowing for more informed decision-making and improved customer experiences.
Measurable Gains And A Video-based Future
As B2B’s customer journey shifts to the more experience-driven B2C model, those who embrace enhanced digital engagement technology stand to gain a significant competitive advantage, and those who don’t will be left behind. As the influential decision-makers in our B2B audiences have become accustomed to the frictionless convenience of their frequent and desirable B2C shopping experiences, their diminishing attention spans will continue to put a premium on immersive engagement.
Customer journeys that can seamlessly integrate visual content and instant interactions will not only enhance the quality of customer acquisition but also position businesses as innovative leaders in their respective industries, as adopters of the next wave of digital dynamism in user experience.
As we navigate this digital revolution, it’s worth remembering that a substantial 90% of B2B buyers would consider shifting allegiance to a competitor if their current supplier’s digital channels fail to meet evolving expectations. The time has come for B2B to not only meet but exceed the expectations of their customers, embracing innovation and delivering exceptional online experiences that rival the best of B2C.
About the author