Forget about where you work for a minute, and think back on your last two decades as a consumer. The most important innovations were all about making it easier for you to choose — and buy.
For example, in 1999, Amazon patented one-click ordering to make it easy to purchase (for me, maybe too easy). The next year, Netflix launched DVD recommendations, making it easy to binge (again, maybe too easy). Personalisation became so powerful for Netflix, it famously offered a million-dollar prize to anyone who could improve the algorithm’s accuracy by 10%.
This was the era of customer obsession, and it trained us to expect fabulous buying experiences: seamless, personalised, and on demand. Now these buying expectations have spilled over from B2C to B2B.
Eighty-five percent of business buyers now say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. That’s 6% more than consumers who say the same.
Businesses, like people, are feeling the pain this year. Some are shrinking, and some are just surviving. But some businesses are actually gaining steam, and they’re doing it by applying lessons from the B2C playbook. They’re becoming easy to do business with. They’re focusing on experience. And they’re reimagining sales with a buyer-first mentality.
I like to put it this way: buying is the new selling.
Buying feels great in B2C. To make that happen in B2B, you’ll need to change your mindset:
What’s revenue management? It’s going beyond the initial selling motion to think about the entire revenue lifecycle. And it’s rooting out fragmentation — because wherever there’s fragmentation, it will show up as a bad buying experience.
Maybe selling used to stop when the deal closed, but that’s not true anymore. In recurring revenue models, billing touchpoints — payment schedules, invoices, contract amendments — are also customer touchpoints.
Sales and finance need to manage the same customer experience loop, together. This is a big shift, and we believe in it so much that we built a product to support it — Revenue Cloud.
Let’s take a look at how connecting touchpoints across the revenue lifecycle can make B2B journeys better for the buyer.
B2B transactions are complicated. Closing a deal always involves many moving parts, touchpoints, and delays between when the contract is executed and the payment is made. Not many folks buy a six-figure license with one click.
Still, the B2C playbook can inspire us to bring teams together around new buyer-first principles. How can you open up new paths for customers to buy? How can you eliminate buying friction? And how can you learn from customer behaviour and really act on it?
Based on my conversations with hundreds of B2B leaders over the years, I recommend these four strategies to make the shift.
“We can see things with one single pane of glass, instead of having to jump between systems.”