Achieving personalized engagement in Business to Business organizations

The business-to-business (B2B) landscape looks drastically different than it used to, thanks to digital acceleration that has reached every corner of our lives. Today’s B2B buyers, accustomed to fast, frictionless, and personalized experiences in their everyday lives, bring those heightened expectations to their roles as business decision-makers in enterprises large and small. To adapt, B2B organizations are taking a page out of the business-to-consumer (B2C) playbook and focusing on personalized experiences instead of a one-size-fits-all approach—and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft’s customer data platform (CDP), can help organizations gain a 360-degree view of the B2B customer essential for driving personalized engagement.  

B2C-inspired personalized experiences

Not surprisingly, 73 percent of B2B buyers want a personalized, B2C-like experience and have come to expect offers and engagements across all channels to be tailored to their specific needs.1 Buyers are looking for personalized engagement relevant to their industry (think ads, content, or website) or specific to individual needs (think fine-tuned product recommendations or proactive service alert).

And 75 percent2 of B2B buyers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interaction, a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after pandemic lockdowns have ended.1 The most notable sign that the tide has turned is the ease B2B buyers display in making large new purchases and reorders online. The prevailing wisdom used to be that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items and fast-moving parts. Not so anymore. Notably, 70 percent of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000.2

As B2B buyers become increasingly more comfortable engaging via a multitude of digital channels as part of an often long and complex sales cycle, the resulting data ends up siloed across many different systems. Even a small B2B company today has dozens of systems holding different pieces of the customer data puzzle. Assembling those pieces into a complete picture is a complicated task that few B2B organizations and their customer relationship management (CRM) systems can handle.

Without the means to successfully unify all of this data, it’s nearly impossible for organizations and their sellers to deliver the personalized experiences B2B decision-makers expect. True B2B personalization means going the extra mile to understand each buyer’s priorities and add value to the decision-making process. To make that happen, you need accurate data about your customers as well as predictive insights for the buyer and the account.

Bringing the customer into focus

B2B organizations must have a deep understanding of the person on the other side of the table: their priorities, preferences, goals, motivations, communication preferences, etc. To gain these insights, organizations are turning to a 360-degree view of the buyer and the account, a “golden record” shared across business functions that includes real-time descriptive, predictive, and prescription insights including demographics, firmographics, activities, preferences, churn risk, lifetime value, and next best offer or interaction. This 360-degree view identifies individuals and companies over time, despite changes in their identifiers (such as a new email address or phone number). Unified customer data is the indispensable data foundation for generating insights and driving personalization.

How Microsoft can help

With Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, organizations can deliver on the heightened expectations of today’s B2B buyers and enable a personalized, omnichannel experience. The industry-leading CDP brings together account and contact data from across channels (including zero, first, second, and third-party data), enabling a single view of customers and unlocking AI-powered insights to create long-term relationships, while safeguarding customer data and honoring privacy and consent across the entire journey.

To learn how to unlock the value of your customer data to create B2B experiences that surpass expectations, visit Dynamics 365 Customer Insights.

1- Make Music, Not Noise | Accenture Strategy

2- How COVID-19 has changed B2B sales