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B-to-Big B is Personal too

What can we learn from Amazon?

Key Account Management is a vital part of B2B-selling organizations, and KAM sales typically make up a major share of their revenues. Many people are engaged on the buying side, and there are a number of personal and digital touchpoints along the buying journey.

A crucial part of a successful KAM strategy is to learn as much as you can about the customer’s universe. Not just the needs and specifications explicitly expressed in their procurement documents, but anything that may influence their priorities and decisions. And, not least, exactly where they are on their buying journeys at any given time.

Tracking the customer’s every move

Looking for inspiring examples of such “customer-centric” marketing, you usually end up in consumer land. According to McKinsey, “B2C companies typically score in the 65 to 85 percent range, while B2B companies average less than 50 percent”.

As for sophisticated customer tracking the true champion is Amazon, monitoring every prospective buyer’s move 24/7. This includes their search patterns and purchases on the web as well as any direct email and ads. Every move is systematically registered, accumulated and analyzed to provide the most relevant next step.

Yes, consumer marketing is different: B2B typically involves a number of stakeholders with different needs, priorities and behavior are almost always involved in the buying process.

The very concept of customer experience and satisfaction is therefore more multi-dimensional.

Buying journeys also tend to be longer and more complex. And often, there are customers’ customers (internal or external) that significantly influence buying decisions.

But, more than anything, it is personal. So, the sensitive adaptation and customer tracking approach could make a huge difference also in your B2B marketing endeavors. Because, regardless of industry, the core and lifeline of B-to-Big-B Marketing and Sales are:

  • The continuous dialogue between people in the buying and selling organizations.
  • The sharing of useful industry insight and professional know-how.
  • Staying hyper-alert to act immediately on any emerging problem or opportunity.
  • Adapting your information and reasoning to each specific target company.
  • Using this elevated awareness to recognize buying signals, or proactively fixing any potential obstacle before they become a problem for the company or the individual.

For obvious reasons, the champions of this noble art are often found in more lightweight digital industries.  After all, their business challenges tend to be far less complex than yours. Today there are affordable, easy-to-use strategies and tools to manage all that more effectively, even in the most complex B2B environments. So, why not take your customer dialogue one step further, and apply the super-alert, highly personal and highly effective approach of Amazon to your own B-to-Big B marketing?