Harnessing the power of technology to re-humanise B2B customer engagement – sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But let me explain…
It’s fair to say we’re living and working in turbulent times, from the rise of Popularism and the *new-rules* evidenced with Trump and Brexit, Geo Politics and State Sponsored Cyber Crime, to Fake News, Wiki Leaks and the disproportionate social media influences which shape our perspectives.
The external influences on businesses in 2018 have been widespread, and will without a shadow of doubt continue to exert pressure throughout 2019 and beyond. Teams at the front-line are battling a multitude of reputational risks and threats to revenue growth on a daily basis.
Add into the mix the everyday difficulties of attention overload – making it tough to break through the noise and not only grab a customer’s attention but keep hold of it, increasing regulation, and time poverty – there are simply never enough hours in the day.
Keeping up with keeping up
No, I’m not talking about the Kardashians. Thankfully.
As more and more information, opinion and hard-data is being generated at lightning-fast pace across Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, news-feeds and web-sites, it’s possible to find out just about anything about customers.
But keeping on top of the digital “vapour trail” is a challenge. From announcements, blogs posts, social media, people joining and leaving, customer comments, product launches, growth stories, financial results and so on, no-one has time to read it all, and filter out the golden nuggets of commercially-valuable insight from the irrelevant information.
Even if by some extraordinary feat you do spot one of these nuggets, there is a chance it could already be out of date, or pounced upon by a competitor before you’ve had time to act.
But, as we hear so often, customers expect you to keep up and stay ahead. They are demanding more agile and responsive interactions, and more personalised engagements. They take a dim view companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.
Keeping up with keeping up means prioritising activities such as understanding customers’ evolving behaviours and preferences, and anticipating their needs in order to deliver more meaningful customer engagement opportunities.
So going back to my first point, there is hope and opportunity to overcome the challenges faced by front-line teams, and that hope comes in the shape of technology.
More specifically how to harness its limitless power and potential to re-humanise B2B customer engagement.
The awesome power of technology-driven B2B customer engagement
Artificial assistants, bots, robo-advisors etc. – Artificial Intelligence (AI) has certainly been a hotly debated topic in 2018.
On the front-line of business, in sales, marketing, business development and customer success, countless blogs and bi-lines have likewise discussed the pace of B2B technology innovation, and the raft of new products and services, built on machine learning, predictive analytics and natural language processing, that promise to disrupt the way font-line teams work.
Perhaps one of the biggest topics under discussion has been whether or not customer engagement can genuinely remain personal when AI takes over.
I have always said emphatically ‘yes’, but I now take that one step further. Technology is the best way to re-humanise and enhance B2B customer engagement models. Here’s why…
1. The power of AI to curate quality, accurate and intelligent news and insight
As I said, humans simply don’t have the time, or mental capacity, to sift through the millions of articles, blogs, press releases, financial reports and social media feeds posted worldwide every day. So we must turn to machines.
Machines can swallow vast amounts of data in real time, far beyond the capabilities of manual processing. Machine learning and predictive analytics can collect, rationalise, organise and deliver instant access to the highest-value information. Those commercially valuable actionable insights that improve real-time understanding of the customer and what’s driving them at any given moment.
Insight is the cornerstone of personalised B2B customer engagement. By harnessing the power of technology to curate quality, accurate and intelligent news and insight, front-line teams can then go ahead and act on it with fine-tuned customer engagement strategies.
2. Faster machine-assisted decisioning for business people mining millions of available data to reach better conclusions
Machines crunching data from millions of sources help us better understand which data is critical to our everyday front-line decision making, and enhances the ability to thrive in a changing market.
Decision making is enhanced when we can make accurate predictions about customer needs, pain, challenges and opportunities.
AI enables front-line teams to construct predictive models based on patterns of event types and customer attributes, that correlate more or less with eventual success.
By utilising AI, front-line teams not only know more about their customers, and can act faster on live dynamics, they also know with a greater degree of certainty what their next steps should be, and what actions they need to take improve success rates and avoid failure.
Predictive analytics furnish sellers with rich customer data and machine learning algorithms remove the guess work when it comes to relevance and timing, ensuring sellers know the best time to act and the most appropriate attention-grabbing ways to engage.
3. Spend time on the good stuff and things that make a difference
Utilising machines to automate key activities such as information gathering, research on buying behaviours and trends and due diligence, leaves font-line teams unburdened by the ties of time restraints and information overload, and in a better position to immerse themselves in the good stuff – the creative and rewarding aspects of their roles.
For front-line professionals the good stuff is almost always the strategic decision making and human-touch engagement activities. The stuff they have always done best, and the stuff that makes the greatest difference to customers.
Not only are they free to indulge, they can do so with an even greater level of clarity and in-depth understanding, resulting in more contextually aware, empathetic and personalised B2B customer engagements.
Technology is a real game changer for re-humanising B2B customer engagement – better experiences delivered faster, with less risk.
These are just three examples of technology driven customer engagement processes, but there is so much more to tell you…
Join the discussion
This Wednesday, Artesian is hosting the ‘Connections 18’ conference.
With an audience of around 200 commercial leaders set to attend, this a half-day event promises to be information-rich, provocative and entertaining.
Addressing head on the ‘risky business’ of sales today, empowering you to change the way you engage, and how you interact with latest front-line technology for transformed business results.
It’s also a not be missed opportunity to share ideas, best practice, and shape the future of customer engagement with leaders from Fortune and FTSE 100 companies, and hear from an incredible panel of speakers including Lord William Hague, Richard Mullender, Edie Lush and Charlie Curson.
It’s not too late to join us. Register Now for Connections 18, the leading conference dedicated to leaders in B2B sales and relationship management.