As we’ve written before, the Customer Engagement Economy is here to stay. That means your customers are demanding more than ever, and simple transactions won’t be enough—you need to build long-term engagement to drive profitable, resilient growth.
Companies who drive retention and organic growth through a deep understanding of their clients, clear action plans, and tangible results will be winners in this economy. Companies who can’t make the pivot will flounder.
In this post we’ll take a closer look at the Engagement Economy, asking who wins—and who loses—in the new B2B ecosystem.
Shifting Customer Demand
Today’s customers are harder to engage and easier to lose than ever. They are bombarded by personalized messages and services every time they look at their phone. They have a world of resources at their fingertips. Every day, someone offers them a new product or service.
In part because of their experience as consumers in the digital age, they have come to expect increasingly bespoke solutions from their B2B providers. Today’s customers demand their vendors:
- Understand their business.
- Make them more competitive.
- Deliver on promises.
- Make them look like heroes.
It’s a high-pressure world for B2B providers, and most don’t rise to the task. How do we know? Because 71% of companies are indifferent towards or disengaged from their vendors.
In this new economy, some B2B companies will thrive. And some won’t. Let’s take a closer look at the difference.
Success: What does it take?
Companies who succeed in the Engagement Economy are able to rise to the challenge of increasingly personalized demand, building retention and growth through strategic account management.
They know their customers. They act powerfully on their behalf, creating and tracking against clear, actionable account plans. And they measure results, so they have the insights they need to course-correct towards demonstrable, tangible results.
Because of how well they know their customers, winners in the Engagement Economy have an accurate, real-time understanding of the health of their accounts, which makes their own planning and projection processes more reliable.
So how do they get there? It takes intention and infrastructure.
- Intention means senior leadership supports a customer-centric culture at every level and facet of the organization
- Infrastructure means providing clear process and purpose-built technology to support people in their customer engagement efforts
In order to work, KAM technology has to be purpose-built and process-driven, designed with the specific needs of client relationship managers in mind. Just like KAM itself, KAM technology can’t be overly tactical—it has to be strategic. We’ll talk more about that below.
The new Engagement Economy challenges companies to think beyond their pipeline, asking how they can drive shared success; growing when and because their customers do.
Failure: What’s missing?
Companies who don’t succeed in the Engagement Economy are, simply put, the companies who aren’t able to pivot. That means:
- They don’t recognize the shift in customer demand.
- They don’t adapt their process accordingly.
- They use outdated technology to support their efforts.
Some companies are still using a mashup of powerpoint, excel, email, and other tools to make account plans. But powerpoint decks only ever end up in one place: archived in a server somewhere. Static tools can’t connect to customer data—they don’t provide real-time tracking against customer goals, which means they don’t give you a sense of your real-life impact. Not to mention, they don’t give you a sense of real-time account health and customer engagement.
But it’s not enough simply to move to a more sophisticated platform. CRMs, though popular among sales teams, are designed for transactional relationships—not customer engagement. Interfacing with clients on a transactional level is the kiss of death for key account managers. If you only provide capacity, you’re very easy to replace; if you are a strategic partner, you’re indispensable.
That level of engagement is what your process and tools should be geared to develop. CRMs might generate leads, but they don’t help you do the deep dive.
While a failure to adapt your tech stack for the new B2B landscape is a critical issue, the more important thing is what it reflects: A deep adherence to the status quo. This, more than anything, is what companies need to overcome if they want to succeed in a rapidly changing customer environment.
The Engagement Economy is here to stay. To be successful, B2B providers need the intention and infrastructure to build customer engagement. To learn more about how Kapta can help you win in today’s B2B environment, schedule your demo today.