B2B CRM Strategies [video]

Looking to build B2B CRM strategies? A lot of the fundamentals are really important. The devil is in the details but neither the fundamentals, nor the details are hard to get right.

I asked Dr. Google what advice he’d give someone looking for B2B CRM strategies and the essence was five points.

  • Work out what you want your customers to do, and build your CRM to manage that progression.
  • Segment your database according to where they are in their customer journey.
  • With acquisition, B2C is mostly about data and segmentation and B2B needs these, plus opportunity and process.
  • In customer service, the differences are less stark.
  • Focus on predictive analytics, productivity tools through AppExchange, and train your team.

Look, some of this is gold but there are some simple steps that you need to take to get your fundamentals right that are missing from here. Let me show you why.

The five articles:

1- First Article – good article, well written. Thanks, Matt. Work out what you want your customers to do and build your CRM to manage that progression is one of his two really useful points. The second useful point is segment your database according to where they are in a customer journey. I wholly agree with both of his points, but he argues in principal without saying it that the customer journey is the buyer’s journey, and I think they are fundamentally different things. Customer journey is key. Think about prospects, customers, advocates, even lapsed, but there might be multiple buyer’s journeys within each. Take a customer or even a prospect that might go through the journey four or five times, but still be a prospect. A customer might go through the journey a dozen times before they become a non-customer lapsed, or before they become an advocated. The buyer’s journey and the customer’s journey are not the same thing. Customer journey again, prospect, customer, advocated, or lapsed. Buyer’s journey, new name found, interest established, positioned in category, gap acknowledge, need agreed, offer understood, preference formed, decision made. Think about all those stages, they are all valid for customers and non-customers.

2- Our second blog, going to be faster on this one. It’s a good topic; the difference between B2B and B2C customer service. It’s great but it’s not what I was looking for. It’s what Google served up, it’s not David Young’s fault that this was served up. Look, it’s not really my thing, customer service. I’m more an acquisition guy, but there is a valid point to be made from reading the article, and that is that I’ve always imagined, or always believed, B2B and B2C CRM strategies are fundamentally different because with B2C, you really only need data and segmentation. With B2B, you also need process and opportunity management. In customer service, if I believe David Young’s article, which I think I do, the differences are less stark. Useful, even if it’s not what we were actually looking for today. From Suzanne Lewis at 1CRM, she is essentially arguing points that are irrelevant to today. She’s talking about marketing strategies in the broad, not her fault. The reason that Google served this up was that the name of the company is 1CRM, so when you’re talking about B2B and 1CRM, we got this article. I specifically am looking for clues on B2B CRM strategies, so I get why Google served it, but it’s not what I want.

3- We’re going to skip article three. Blog four is using CRM to improve the B2B customer experience from Insightly, so valid. They argue to be consistent, to measure at every touch point, and to make it personal. Whilst I guess that’s a decent argument for why you need a CRM at all, you, somebody whose listened to this video blog, you’re already way past that. You know you need a CRM, you’ve got a CRM, you might be in your third version of CRM, so you need a more sophisticated conversation in that

4- The final one. Firstly, I would recommend you read the article. It’s simple, short, well written. Best predictive analytics, to be on the lookout for clever new tools that will automate your sales forces activities, and therefore serving time, there are lots of new ones coming out all the time. Definitely a space to watch, like that recommendation, and train your team in whatever tools you get. Really good advice.

I’ll give you my spin on that in a second, but let me just quickly honor those five contributors. Here’s what they’re saying in essence:

Their conclusions:

  • Work out what you want your customers to do, and build your CRM to manage that progression.
  • Segment your database according to where they are in their customer journey.
  • With acquisition, B2C is mostly about data and segmentation and B2B needs these, plus opportunity and process.
  • In customer service, the differences are less stark.
  • Focus on predictive analytics, productivity tools through AppExchange, and train your team.

My conclusions about B2B CRM strategies:

The essential thing I want to correct there is basically the difference between the customer journey and the buyer’s journey, and it’s an important one. A customer is or he’s not a customer, but when they are a customer, they’re still going to go through journeys in each of their buying processes. The buyer’s journey occurs multiple times whether you’re a customer or not. I actually like where this dialogue is going around customer journey, but I don’t want it to be confused with buyer’s journey. They’re both important concepts and they are different.

  1. Segment accounts or divisions into customer journey stage
  2. Segment leads into stages in the buyer’s journey
  3. Carry this through to opportunities (not contacts or accounts)
  4. Measure how effectively you move buyers through their journey
  5. Integrate your CRM, marketing automation platform and web site
  6. Market to each stage in the customer journey AND buyer’s journey differently

In your funnel plan, map out how you’re going to move buyers through each stage in their buyer’s journey. From new names found, all the way through to close deal, how are you going to help them move from each stage to the next. Do that in your funnel plan. If you don’t have a funnel plan, you can get a free one at FunnelPlan.com.

Consider having a different funnel plan for each customer journey. That is, the buyer’s journey and the lag and leakage are probably going to look different for customers compared to non-customers, whether those non-customers are prospects, you have to buy for the first time, lapsed, at the other end, or active advocates. Each of those customer journey stages probably deserves its own funnel plan. Again, go to FunnelPlan.com for your free one.

funnel-plan-sales-and-marketing-planning-tool

References for B2B CRM strategies: