In-house sales and marketing teams in B2B organizations focus extensively on-demand generation. Attracting new logos to the company builds revenue as well as brand portfolio. However, the efforts on customer retention are comparatively less when compared to customer acquisition. A definitive customer engagement framework always focuses on client retention as much as it focuses on nurturing.
How important is a customer engagement framework?
A study from Gallup states that the companies that successfully engage their B2B customers to realize 63% lower customer attrition.
In this article, we’ll talk about a customer engagement framework designed to add value to in-house marketing and sales teams. This customer engagement model not only drives the attention of your client but also offers an expansive room to explore hidden opportunities in their accounts.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is interacting with clients to know their thoughts, pain points, and devise solutions. Businesses develop a foolproof customer engagement plan to hear customer voices from multiple channels such as social media, community forums, websites, emails, and calls.
The first touchpoint of the customer interaction is empathy. It begins with hearing the customer out and understanding their requirements. Then comes the product demo or explanation of the solution that can help the customer resolve their problems. Many businesses think that the customer journey ends here.
But that’s just the beginning of a healthy customer engagement cycle.
Smart sales and marketing teams are backed with relevant content to give more to the future customers. Market trend reports, product manuals, guides, case studies, podcasts, and more are prepared to strengthen the customer relationship.
It creates an excellent opportunity to mine the customer’s accounts for more engagements. Moreover, it also builds up a repository of demand generation friendly content, which the marketing team uses to acquire new logos and enhance brand awareness.
Stages of a B2B Customer Engagement Framework
If you are a B2B product or service company, it is not easy to jump into your existing accounts to find business opportunities. But, it is not impossible. With a smart approach and dedicated team, you can set up a process for account-based mining.
Your customers are already attracted to you because of the business you are doing with them. Leverage that emotion and share content with them related to their industry.
1. Create Information-rich Newsletters
A study from eMarketing Platform states that click-through rates are 47% higher for B2B email campaigns than B2C email campaigns. Make newsletter creation a priority in your customer engagement strategy. Embed content with click-friendly headings and statements.
Measure newsletter metrics such as open rate, click through rates and read time. Tools like MailChimp and Hubspot offer detailed newsletter analytics, contributing to improvising your customer engagement plan.
Pro Tip: Add a personalized message from the CEO/COO into your newsletter. Business people love to hear when the message comes from executives.
2. Make Bite-sized videos
Hubspot says 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, up slightly from 85% in 2019. Make short videos for your customers that highlight the market trends. Tell a customer story or record the customer’s voice and share it across with your contact base. Making bite-sized videos is not expensive with great tools around, such as Canva.
Pro Tip: Make a good intro with your company logo, not more than 5 seconds, and add it at the beginning and end of all your videos.
3. Do LinkedIn Ads
With over 740 million members in 200 countries, LinkedIn is one of the largest social media network platforms. B2B companies leverage LinkedIn for professional networking, business, and marketing. Sharing native posts on LinkedIn company profiles is an organic way to acquire an audience and leads. However, you can also complement your organic LinkedIn marketing strategies with some paid advertising by leveraging the LinkedIn Ads platform.
With the LinkedIn PPC model, you can target specific job roles, companies, and geographies. Create banners or share the bite-sized videos with a call-to-action to redirect the audience to your website or download a marketing asset.
Pro Tip: Create Banners with minimal text and bright colors, and an adamant CTA in the form of a button.
4. Make Thought Leadership Content
Did you know that according to research by Edelman and LinkedIn, out of 1,200 respondents, 58% read one or more hours of thought leadership per week? Consuming thought leadership content also influences buying decisions.
There are thought leaders in every organization. It would help if you found them. Thought leaders provide value to their audience by creating educational and helpful content. You can call it unpaid consulting, where thought leaders share tips and tricks to excel in business.
Pro Tip: Use social media. Create and post. Repeat.
Once you’ve grabbed the attention of your potential customer, it’s time to educate them with explicit content. To improve customer engagement, you can move a step ahead and produce collaborative content. Formats like customer interviews, podcasts, and joint-case studies work well.
1. In-depth Landing pages
A landing page is made to acquire the contact information of the customer in exchange for an offering. Move the customer from LinkedIn Ads, newsletters, or bite-sized videos to the next stage of your customer engagement cycle.
Landing pages are an expressive way to define products and offerings. Create in-depth landing pages to develop in-depth customer relationships. Make a web page that explains the product installation steps and share the link with the customer. Set a process inside the marketing team to design, write, and test custom conversion-friendly landing pages for lead generation.
Don’t exhaust the lead generation form with extensive fields. Ask what is required, such as full name, company, business email ID, region, and a message.
Pro Tip: Include a lead form or button above the first fold. Don’t make the visitor search and scroll for the form.
2. Closed Webinars and Micro-events
A webinar is a trial and tested lead generation engine for B2B models. Any thought leader or domain expert can host the webinar, invite guests for a panel discussion, do lectures on a particular topic or share a presentation.
Usually, the webinar topics are designed to solve a typical business problem. Even webinar marketing is scheduled to acquire audiences with similar interests.
Webinars can be open and private. A free webinar is organized to bring in a new audience. Whereas closed webinars are organized for an existing contact/customer base. Closed webinars are specific and personalized, targeting a problem at the client’s end. The webinar can be educational to define a roadmap for the customer’s team, or it can be a demo to explain how to use a product.
Pro Tip: Embed two to three polls into your webinar to keep the audience engaged and understand their opinion on a particular topic or scenario.
3. Whiteboard sessions
Rand Fishkin from Moz has used whiteboards beyond its limits. By creating a plethora of educational whiteboard SEO content, he has established himself as a thought leader and expert on the topic.
Whiteboard sessions could visualize your thoughts and simplify their consumption. You can engage the customer by creating a whiteboard series and targeting multiple aspects of a topic in each episode.
Pro Tip: Arrange the content on the whiteboard before recording the session. Avoid writing and speaking about the topic together.
After attracting the customer and engaging them with super friendly content, it’s time to elevate the customer relationship. At this stage, you can draw maximum ROI for your efforts so far. This stage intends to make your customer the hero of your story. You can request the customer to get a testimonial, produce a mutual podcast, or prepare a joint-case study about customer engagement.
With changing times, the era of podcasts has come. Over 700,000 podcasts and even more episodes are proof that people are comfortable consuming audio content. Why should you lag?
Fill your customer engagement framework with each type of content that would add value to your business and help you acquire new deals. For completed or on-going business engagements, you can request your customer to share and record their opinion on air.
Moreover, don’t limit your podcasts only to customer engagements. Invite other industry experts to have panel discussions on hot and trending topics in B2B.
Pro Tip: Invest in right podcast equipment such as mic, recorder, and editing software. Adobe audition provides good podcasting experience. You can also try Audacity, an open-source audio editing software, to edit your podcasts and remove noise.
2. Client VOCs
VOCs or Voice of Customers is the hallmark of customer loyalty. Customer feedback helps you realize the gaps between customer expectations and actual delivery. A word of appreciation from the client is the payoff for all your hard work.
However, it’s not easy to get a testimonial out of your customer. You can take multiple approaches such as customer interviews, on-site customer surveys, emails, dedicated form feedback, and more.
Pro Tip: Don’t ask your customer to give you a VOC randomly. Prepare a set of specific questions such as “What value did we add to your business,” “How was the experience with our team,” “Would you like to quantify our engagement in numbers?”
3. Go Live on Social Media
LinkedIn live is the latest LinkedIn feature that allows businesses to connect with their communities and establish authority over their domain.
Organize a LinkedIn live session with your customer and invite guests from your and their social media community. Make your customer a hero and establish them as an ambassador of the topic.
Live sessions will optimize your LinkedIn presence by introducing your client hero to your community. It would open new doors of business opportunities once your customer testifies your work.
Similarly, you can go live on Facebook and Instagram, too, based on where your audience is.
- Take 7-10 minutes before you start the live panel discussion.
- Allow your audience to join and settle down.
- Interact with your customer on light topics first.