I recently booked a trip for my family on Ryanair, the low-cost airline has a promise that you get what you pay for – but do you?
Ryanair is continually changing their add-on and baggage policies, such that you must read the small print to ensure you do not get caught out at the airport with £50 penalties for not printing your boarding pass or not pre-paying for your baggage.
The low-cost model held the promise of lean and straightforward, while the present day experience is complicated, confusing and difficult. Instead of the customer journey being transparent and accessible, the process is cumbersome and time-consuming, leaving customers feeling duped.
Whether B2B or B2C buyers prefer to gain awareness and consideration through a self-select pull model of research, it would be wise for B2B to take a cue from B2C market leading best practices. Clearly, this is not Ryanair! With the adoption of account-based marketing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, a targeted model for demand generation that resembles B2C marketing methods, sees a move towards greater personalisation in the B2B space.
Although the B2B decision journey has many more variables, it can be confusing for buyers who abandon purchasing journey with suppliers that provide a poor customer experience. Those that focus on simplifying the decision-making options will rise above the competitive clutter, resulting in successful purchase journeys.
According to the Global Brand Simplicity Index study, customers want seamless and straightforward experiences. Since 2009, Siegel and Gale have surveyed the worlds simplest brands and the global top 10 out-performed the major indexes by 679%. The Global Brand Simplicity Index study help us to understand the impact of simplicity on customer behaviour and company performance and to identify the better-performing industries and brands.
Margaret Molloy, global CMO, Siegel and Gale provide insights from the 2017 study:
If the sales consultant advisor simplifies the purchase decision process by offering trustworthy information tailored to the buyer’s individual needs, thus helping the buyer purchase journey progress quickly, then they are on to a winner.
If you think about it, many B2B products and components end users are in the B2C space. Too often suppliers lack knowledge on usability and accessibility of their processes and products. Both buyers and sellers focus on their internal demands that result in only marginally better products innovations than the previous version. The end user customer is less impressed and still not satisfied even if the buyers and decision-making unit has fulfilled their brief. A solution that has the potential to enthral fails to create a significant impact and often create further complication.
In a self-select model, it is an incredible advantage for sellers to understand how easy it is for buyers to navigate and interpret information on their product and service. If the information buyers research, doesn’t convey trust, and the buyer cannot readily weigh the options against other competitors, then the sales consultant advisor may not receive the opportunity to explain later in the purchase process. The easier a supplier makes the purchase-decision journey, the higher its decision-simplicity score.
The study results are consistent in the top quarter brands were 86% more likely than those in the bottom quarter to be purchased, they were 9% more likely to be repurchased and 115% more likely to be recommended to others.
To think that the process of aiding navigation, building trust, and making optional comparisons easier to help buyers make informed decisions, will add significant value on the sellers bottom-line.
As NPS is a measure of customer loyalty, the global brand simplicity index is a measure of the customer experience and the relationship between what is simple and easy to navigate, and its impact on performance. Simplicity is not to be taken lightly, disruptors like Uber and Go Pro have quickly gained position and power over the long-established suppliers using a simplified business model and accessible process, that strips out complexity and provide a personalised service that appeals to their customer.
Even if it does not drive sales directly offering a transparent comparison chart between your business and your competitors, including links to third-party review sites where buyers can see unedited reviews, will drive trust. Buyers are researching and will find relevant information, so why not make it readily available to them. Usability and accessibility are critical contributors to simplicity.
For example, Intuit TurboTax home page, shows basic product choices arrayed side by side for easy comparison. They include a “help me choose” function that allows consumers to go through a 30-second “check the boxes that apply” exercise. The experience not only guides them to their most suitable product but explains why it is their best option.
B2B marketers have moved toward account-based marketing, while B2C brands are working on hyper-personalised data lead marketing strategies. B2B organisations must follow the B2C lead; after all, B2B buyers live in a B2C world and expect no less simplicity, usability and accessibility.
It is important to remember, B2B segments and personas do not buy products and services; individual people do! Although sales consultant advisors work across functions within purchasing units, they build relationships, influence and present to one individual at a time.
B2B must think about the customer and user experience with an equal focus on the buyers purchasing experience and think less about the account as one whole unit. Understanding that simplicity and personalisation go hand in hand with the individual buyer purchasing journey experience to build trust and loyalty and consequently revenue.
Janice is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management. She is passionate about helping companies adapt their sales approach to the economic, social and technological challenges. This has led her to create the popular the sales enablement system, Scale Your Sales. Janice is the international Strategic Account Sales Speaker, author and consultant, achieving many noted accolades including Sage Top100 Global Business Influencer 2017. Contact Janice today about Scaling your Sales