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Data-driven growth, more digitization for B2B

Giuliano Maria Fabbri

There’s no point in hiding it: the B2B scenario is a complex one, much more difficult to innovate and streamline than B2C. 

According to research by Gartner, today’s business-to-business customers spend about two-thirds of their purchase journey collecting, processing and decontextualizing information. A long period, then, in which the approach to decision-making occurs without the direct involvement of sales representatives.

Despite this, however, the same report also says that: 

  • buyers need companies to help them manage digital complexity for B2B
  • as many as 77 percent of buyers agree that the buying process has become very complex and difficult, thus needing decision support

An apparent contradiction, then: a lengthy independent journey or a joint, partner-led assessment by the potential partner? It emerges that customers would really appreciate those suppliers who can provide them with the right information, through the right channels, to facilitate the buying process without being invasive and interruptive. 


MarTech challenges and opportunities in the B2B world

Advantages and disadvantages of contact digitization in a B2B relationship often overlap and confuse, perhaps because some challenges become opportunities for those who can seize them. 

The real big “pain” of business-to-business is time: the buying process is necessarily longer: a recent study by Mckinsey showed that negotiation time is at least 8-10 months and that, on average, a B2B customer uses 10 channels to inquire during their decision journey.

This makes a lot of sense when we reflect on the fact that we are dealing with complex projects (e.g., because of the subject matter to be covered or the level of specialization of the consultancy required on vertical niches) or because of the scope of the proposals even at the budget level. 

For precisely these two reasons, the table widens: in B2B, the business relationship occurs with different figures, who by role and business objectives must be aligned and brought on board the proposal to convert the lead into a contract. Decision makers, therefore, are not unique but more “heads” need to be convinced.

Another interesting finding relates to how information is gathered: in today’s digital world, buyers have unlimited access to information, which allows them to compare many offers and suppliers without the need for personal interaction.

When a buyer is at the stage of evaluating a product or service, he or she spends only 17% of the time in direct contact with the potential supplier if he or she already has a fairly unique option; if he or she is then in the situation of having to compare 3 or 4, as is often the case, this figure drops to 5-6%.

This makes the job more difficult for Marketing&Sales departments, which in a short time and with few contacts have to make their distinctive value perceived. But there are also opportunities: the ability to manage remote and digital relationships can reduce time and open up huge markets once foreclosed for logistical and geographic reasons. 


How we do it at ByTek, business-to-business digital strategy

We start with a big advantage of going digital: we have the ability to keep track of every aspect and automate some processes, thus improving relationships and performance, with more fluid and direct lead acquisition, as well as complementary between different channels. An example is our recent case study for the Alimenta Client, where the business was configured as truly “hybrid” between online and offline, digital marketing & sales, thanks to the communion of intent in lead generation between advertising campaigns, e-commerce and the “physical” work of the salespeople on the ground. 

At ByTek we have a 4-step approach to digital strategy for B2B: 

  • Market Intelligence – Analysis of the market, trends and needs of the target audience
  • Activation Strategy – Strategies to engage the target audience and inform them about your offering
  • Conversion&Loyalty Strategy – Solutions to stimulate conversion and maintain a living relationship with customers and stakeholders
  • Data Empowerment – Strategic information for customer management, upsells and new customer acquisition


Market Intelligence

In a rapidly changing environment and with a rapidly evolving market, it is crucial to analyze and understand our potential customer. To do this we have set up a series of solutions that leverage research data, which has the merit of taking a very good snapshot of the state of a market, highlighting what are the habits of our potential target, what are its main pain&gains and finally gives us a clear reference of what is trending.

With our Trend AI product we can get information such as:

  • Market trends-how demand and searches vary with respect to specific topics;
  • Seasonality – in contexts where demand is conditioned to specific times of the year we can understand how early in the season and with what kind of information;
  • Anomalies – we can put specific keyword clusters (including competitors) under observation to understand whether searches vary over time and in what direction.

In general extremely useful information to better understand our target audience and better manage the relationship that nice B2B as we have seen is always very long.

Activation Strategy

The study on research is extremely useful to define activation strategies, that is, a series of solutions that are able to stimulate our target to engage and bring them on board. In addition to a strategic theme for figuring out what to say and how to move, it is essential to evaluate the right timing. Every sector has its peculiarities and in this the research data manages to be an excellent ally because it allows us to well understand when the themes start to become interesting and also if the levers we are using are working or not.

In parallel, it is essential to work on proprietary data by equipping ourselves for those who do not have it with a CRM. For those who are already active, on the other hand, it is essential to keep this data updated and where possible try to enrich it with external sources. Thanks to this type of solution it will be possible to be competitive by always intercepting the right target and overcoming all market challenges.

Conversion & Loyalty Strategy

Creating a good customer base is crucial in B2B, both because lasting relationships allow profitable relationships in terms of business and because from the same customer base you can work to find new ones. In a cookieless context counting on a good database of customers that we know can work is extremely useful to define ad hoc campaigns. 

In our strategy we therefore plan to use proprietary solutions such as Retention AI, as well as basic GA4 solutions to better understand current customers to set up ad hoc ringing strategies for upsells, cross-sells, renewals, etc..

In addition such data we can use it within our Data and ADV empowerments to create tailored audience audiences improving acquisition and conversion. 

Finally we can leverage such information to improve communication and positioning with onsite and offsite content strategies thus combining external search data with internal customer data.

Data Empowerment

To create a solid growth strategy, it is essential to start with an optimal technology layer and collection and analytics solutions. 

Therefore, an optimal B2B strategy must include enhancing business data (data from analytics, CRM, etc…) with external data mainly search data that is a valuable ally in understanding trends and better enhancing one’s business offerings.