As we continue to push the boundaries of what a typical B2B customer experience looks like, it’s clear that there’s never been a more exciting time to be in B2B marketing. The innovation in this space was evident when Merkle hosted its exclusive event with Salesforce; ‘Realising the Power of Your Connected B2B Experience’ in May of this year. 

The event saw marketing executives and industry leaders discuss the ever-evolving B2B landscape and delve into opportunities in the B2B space to maximise growth and drive business outcomes.

Here are the top 5 takeaways from this event that will help B2B brands elevate and connect the customer experiences they deliver. 

1. The key is creating the most culturally relevant experiences

“It may be common sense, but it’s not common practice”. Often B2B Marketers know what they should be doing to deliver an excellent customer experience, but it’s easy to get distracted and forget to prioritise the customer at the heart of what you do. 

Merkle B2B’s Growth Lead, Laura Jennings, and Chief Strategy Officer, Simon Calvert, dived into our latest Superpowers Index and demonstrated how brands that make marginal improvements in 7 key decision drivers for B2B buyers can achieve phenomenal commercial outcomes. 

Some of these outcomes include 25% shorter sales cycles, and NPS scores as high as 89, compared to 32 for the average brand. The proof is in the pudding and these commercial outcomes come from real brand initiatives that show best-in-class customer experiences. 

The key takeaway from this session is that B2B businesses need to focus on meeting the needs of the buyer. Decision drivers that are now crucially important include those that reflect personal values such as how a brand is delivering on their DEI commitments, or how they are reducing their environmental impact. These have risen in importance for B2B buyers, and values-driven marketing towards individual decision-makers has a real impact on commercial intent. Focussing on these can make all the difference between winning or losing deals. 

Watch the full session on-demand here


2. Diversify your team to come up with innovative and creative solutions 

In Santander’s roundtable hosted by Christopher Schyma, Head of Customer GTM at Salesforce, we hear from John Carrol, Head of International and Transactional Banking, and Will John, Head of International Proposition Delivery at Santander UK, on their journey to build the Santander Navigator Platform. 

To diversify their offering in the UK SME market, Santander created this platform as a one-stop-shop ecosystem to support SMEs with their international trade. 

Not only has the Navigator Platform helped over 1000 SMEs internationalise, but the platform also saw UK Santander teams evolve from a traditional banking model to a data-led digital model. 

The key takeaway here is to think differently and creatively about solutions to customer problems. Do this by diversifying your team, not relying on stakeholders to innovate, but bringing energetic people with new ideas and skillsets to the table. 

Watch the full session on-demand here

3. Put customer innovation at the heart of everything

In Salesforce’s data-driven approach to customer-centric marketing session, Managing Director for Account Based Marketing at Salesforce, Joanna Moss, deep dived into how her team uses Salesforce and a data-driven approach to customer-centric marketing to drive growth. In this session, Joanna stressed the importance of ABM and how to put customer innovation at the heart of your programme while using your tech stack in the most efficient way. 

It’s clear that for marketers to optimise their marketing performance, they need the right intelligence, and marketers can get a 30% higher ROI from having one single-view of the customer. If there’s one thing you take away from this session, it’s that the brands that lead with values-based marketing that will stand out and ultimately win. 

Watch the full session on-demand here

4. Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration

When developing marketing excellence centres and digital transformation in B2B, there’s only so far you can get alone. At the Ericsson roundtable, Head of Digital Marketing at Ericsson, Sabrina Rodriguez, Head of Customer Transformation, Media & Telco at Salesforce, Neil Robinson, and VP of Experience Marketing at Merkle, Sarah Painter, discussed how to bring internal and external teams together to achieve seamless customer experiences. 

From sales enablement to AI, it’s clear that marketing teams must be ready to think creatively and see the bigger picture of their long-term goals. The key takeaway from this session is to tap into that incredible brain power sitting around you and give your teams the forum to speak up about what’s working and what isn’t to evolve the business further. 

Watch the full session on-demand here

5. Hack the human mind through the EAST framework 

What if you could double the results of your marketing without changing your budget or tactics? In this session, best-selling author, Richard Shotton, said by applying behaviour science, you can. He presented the EAST framework and how marketers can distil these four behavioural science principles into marketing to engage customers more easily. If you don’t believe him, Richard’s examples of scientific and real-life studies (even a live audience experiment at our event) show how even the smallest tweaks in wording can have the biggest impact.

The takeaway for B2B marketers from this session is to focus effort on removing even the most trivial friction in your buyer journeys and translate intangible concepts into visual objects to make your message more memorable. 

Watch the full session on-demand here.

In the words of Merkle UK CEO Anne Stagg, it's never been more complex to create meaningful relationships that drive loyalty in the world of B2B. Brands need to put customers at the heart of their organisations and make seamless customer experiences a priority. This is only possible by connecting siloes across your organisation and using technology and data to power relevant experiences to your audiences. Ultimately the brands that are crystal clear on what they stand for and follow-through on what they promise will be the brands that come out ahead. 

Feeling inspired by these key takeaways and want to learn more? Check out the event hub to watch all sessions on-demand.

If you’d like to discuss any of the content topics you’ve seen in more detail, please get in touch with the team here.