BlogAnni Haavisto 20.04.2023

Hello B2B operator, greetings from your customer! 

Data-driven leadership Marketing effectiveness Marketing communications Marketing research Brand Customer experience Customer insight

Understanding customer experience is at the core of winning business. When you understand what your customer needs, you can develop your own operations in a more profitable direction. This pillar of customer-centric thinking also works in B2B business. Our customer experience expert Anni Haavisto is in constant dialogue with B2B marketers’ customers. Anni picked out four points that pave the way to a better customer experience. 

I interview a lot of clients of B2B operators. Industries and topics of discussion vary, but the goal is always to develop B2B business – by better understanding what the customer needs and wants. 

I picked out four quotes from the discussions over the past year, which show why customer understanding and empathy play an essential role in B2B. 

1. “When we get a call from there, it would be so much easier if the salesperson knew us and our industry a bit in the foreground.” 

The task of a B2B customer living in a hectic everyday life is not to tell the partner basic facts about their own company and changes in the industry. The main issues must be mastered in order to move faster in conversations to solve customer needs. 

SOLUTION: Make sure that your entire organization is familiar with the situations and operating environments of at least the most important current and potential customers. Make sure that information does not get buried in one unit or remain tacit information in one person’s head, but travels smoothly within the organization. 

2. “I didn’t understand anything about these materials. I just want a workable solution to this situation of ours.” 

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and sell the solution, not the product, feature or brand. Find out in advance whether you are facing an expert or perhaps a “layman” from senior management. Speak a language your customer understands – forget inner jargon and fancy brand names. 

Use solution-orientation when building your portfolio as well. How is your company’s portfolio built around customer needs? In the best-case scenario, you can use a needs-based portfolio to facilitate both the buyer’s process and speed up your company’s sales process. 

SOLUTION: Keep clear in your mind and respond to the customer’s needs and the brief you receive! Find out who is involved in making decisions about purchasing products and services in your industry as decision-makers or influencers – identify the approach that best speaks to each group. 

3. “I can’t figure out who to email just about this.” 

The B2B customer relationship also lives and develops, and the customer’s needs change at different stages. Don’t leave the customer guessing who can help you at each stage. The most satisfied customer receives the right kind of service proactively just when the need has already been identified, but no measures have yet been initiated. 

SOLUTION: Identify the different customer journeys of customers, their stages, and their triggers for moving to stages. Provide the right information and support at the right steps – proactively. Plot the customer journey, segment and update understanding. 

4. “This is fine, but I don’t really know what we’ll need in six months.” 

The global situation is changing rapidly, and the consequences are also hitting the Finnish market more and more often. Predictability has deteriorated and needs can change rapidly. In the past, relevant contract periods have started to feel too long, and commitment has become more difficult. Partners are increasingly needed to be flexible and react quickly. This can be seen both as needs decrease, but also as they grow at a faster pace than before. The need for rapid scalability has clearly increased over the past year. 

SOLUTION: Make your own operations more flexible. Isn’t portofolio based only on contract periods of a certain length? Predict the future of the industry and create scenarios. 

Even a B2B decision-maker is an ordinary person, around whom everyday life and the whole world revolve hectic. When you want to close a deal and keep your customers happy, make it easier to buy and be your customer. Be proactive, sit on the same side of the table, offer a solution to the problem. Gather customer understanding and empathy to support you, whether you’re designing a product, service, touchpoints, sales materials, portfolio, or marketing. 

For all of the above solutions, we at Dagmar have experts and tools. Let’s start by understanding the customer! 

Written by

Anni Haavisto

Lead strategist


Anni on strategisesta ajattelusta, ristipistoista ja visuaalisesta kauneudesta innostuksensa löytävä Lead Strategist, jonka työn suola on erilaisten ihmisten kohtaaminen.

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