Are you working as a CX pro in a B2B company? And do you find it challenging to make the case for your CX program? You are not alone. In fact, many CX pros in B2B companies we spoke with struggled to get funding for their efforts: because they can't isolate the role of CX in driving financial success, they lack insight into how different clients’ experiences affect purchasing decisions, or they don't gather sufficient data about these experiences. That’s why Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian and I researched how B2B companies like Cisco Systems, Sage Software, Optum, Shell, and Tetra Pak have conquered these challenges and built a burning platform for their CX initiatives.
CX professionals managed to overcome these challenges by creating the preconditions for success. Following their lead, you should:
- Rethink metrics and analytics to link CX to financials. CX pros need to look beyond the usual metrics like revenue or NPS to find the metrics that help link CX to business success.. For example food packaging company Tetra Pak found that a custom partnership index was a better predictor of sales and volume growth than other metrics they tested.
- Use customer understanding tools to segment clients by role and influence. Working with internal stakeholders that cross the customer life cycle, CX pros can use qualitative research or journey mapping to understand the different roles within client accounts and the role they play in overall account health. For example, Walker Information conducts qualitative research with its client’s customers to identify the decision-makers and user.
- Expand data collection to obtain broader and deeper client insights. CX pros can overcome the experience data gap by creating incentives and processes that improve data quality. Schindler attacked this problem head-on by establishing KPIs to make sure contact data for the customers receiving their feedback surveys is up to date.
And once you’ve conquered your data and metrics challenges, you can build your burning platform to generate buy-in for your CX program in 4 steps:
1. Create a sense of urgency: look for big, companywide or timely changes on which you can piggyback — such as new leadership, increased competitive pressure, or a slip in key metrics like retention rate.
2. Show that improving CX can solve the problem: leverage the sense of urgency you create by showing the potential upside of improving CX.
3. Define initiatives that will move the needle on CX: when you have decision-makers' attention, describe what changes you will make to the experience to achieve the promised benefits.
4. Maintain stakeholder engagement over time: your initial momentum may die down, so be prepared to point to real financial results from CX and to provide a vision for what's next.
Read more in our report about how these and many other B2B companies have conquered these challenges to move their CX programs forward. And thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm in contributing to this research. I'd love to stay in touch about this topic: @deannalaufer