Buyer Experience Innovation: 5 Management Principles


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Executives today, to achieve revenue growth strategies, will need to think radically different than at any time since the 80’s and 90’s when technology and the Internet altered the landscape.  Once again, the business landscape is being altered by advances in technology and new mediums that could not be fathomed as little as five years ago.  What we do know today is that each time the business landscape undergoes significant rearrangement; the balance of power continues to shift to buyers versus sellers. 

This new business landscape is propelling organizations, especially in B2B, to begin thinking about how to create a rewarding buyer experience that fosters engagement and long-term loyalty.  In my previous article, I outlined reasons why executives need to make Buyer Experience Innovation a top priority.  Here, I share key management principles that leaders today should consider for being successful in shifting their corporate culture and competencies towards innovative buyer experiences.  There are five key management principles applicable to Buyer Experience Innovation:

1. Led by senior executives overseeing sales, marketing, and service
2. There is a focus on shifting culture to “experience driven”
3. Insight is foundational to buyer experience innovation
4. Experience knowledge is integrated into the DNA of the organization
5. Buyer experience is designed for the digital and social age

Principle 1: Senior executives lead

This is a refrain that is heard often for all important initiatives.  In this case, a CEO is wise to choose a senior executive with that special attribute and capability of unifying sales, marketing, and service into alignment with buyer experience.  It is important to note that while much has been made of the need for sales and marketing alignment, service is often the forgotten third spoke in the wheel.  While service is a significant component of overall customer experience in retaining existing customers, many procedural efforts in acquiring new buyers pass through service.  It can make as well as cause a break in a buyer’s overall experience.  Equally important, this appointment makes a statement respective to the priority of Buyer Experience Innovation within the organization.

Principle 2: Focus on cultural shift

Many organizations can be described by the predominant driving force that is exhibited culturally.  Culturally as well as structurally organizations have been described as sales-driven, marketing-driven, or product-driven; just to name three examples here.  While strides have been made in B2C to become experience-driven and consumer friendly organizations, B2B has lagged behind significantly in embracing a cultural shift to becoming experience-driven and buyer friendly organizations.

Principle 3: Insight is foundational

Qualitative buyer insight is essential to attaining a deeper understanding of existing buyer experiences, buying processes, and the how and why on decision-making.  Many decisions on sales, marketing, and service strategies have been made in a vacuum over the years without critical understanding of whom true buyers are and their processes.  Presumed understanding has led to a constant recycling of approaches all meant to spur growth.  CEO’s today, especially in B2B, will need to embrace attaining qualitative buyer insight as a competitive edge in designing innovative buyer experiences.  Buyer Personas (which I have written extensively about over the past few years) and Buyer Journey Design (which I will elaborate on in future articles) are two critical tools that are essential to buyer insight gathering.

Principle 4: Experience knowledge is shared

To become experience-driven, knowledge and insights on buyer experiences is shared widely and integrated into the DNA of the organization.  Experience knowledge also becomes a key component of how organizations make informed decisions on overall customer strategy.  Employee engagement in the buyer experience is significantly enhanced when there is an understanding of how they contribute to the overall buyer experience.

Principle 5: Buyer experience is designed

The advent of the digital and social age has made design thinking a much sought after competency for many B2C as well as B2B organizations.  Buyer Experience Innovation is a modern day business design imperative that CEO’s will need to adopt to gain not only a competitive edge but also to gain customer and buyer loyalty.  Many existing customers become “repeat” buyers and an inconsistent stream of buyer experiences can be detrimental to loyalty.  Buyer Experience Design improves an organizations competency to deliver on consistent experiences that builds loyalty that lasts.

These principles provide management guidance for leading organizations towards adopting a plan to make Buyer Experience Innovation a difference maker in their future.  Buyers today and in the future will make critical judgments as well as decisions on the basis of their interactions with every facet of an organization’s touchpoints during the buying experience.  Organizations that heed the call for designing superior and consistent buyer experiences acquire the rewards of long term loyalty and profitable growth. 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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