Back to insights

Why experience led B2B companies win: part one

By Ben Dansie

B2B has evolved a great deal over the last few decades. It’s no longer just about products and services. We are now in the age of experience: CX, UX and even BX (Business Experience). In part one of this blog, CEO Ben Dansie shares how B2B has evolved and the importance of experience in B2B today.

How individuals perceive and compare experiences is seamless, from how we watch a movie, order food or get medication. We expect, evaluate and erase brands from our digital lives based on our interactions with them. Being B2B is no longer an excuse – average B2B CX scores of 50% lags behind 65-85% for consumer brands.

B2B now has to deliver digital experiences that are on par with B2C and D2C. For sales people that love conferences in Austin (and airmiles), I have bad news: in-person ordering has fallen from 31% to 19% to be replaced by experience-driven digital self-service.

In 2021 customers, based on some pretty fraught times, are different.

We started Omobono believing that B2B brands were more interesting, more complex, more connected and more challenging than consumer brands. Over the past few years we’ve shifted where we apply our skills of creativity and technology, from marketing to the entire customer journey. It’s a shift in mindset and organisation that all c-suites are grappling with.

The evolution of our thinking is worth dwelling on: 

Evolution 1: We observed that B2B brands can’t control their brand to the extent consumer brands can. The walls of the organisation are permeable – people, buildings, communication, delivery, product – every touchpoint creates an impression that influences the view of your brand

Evolution 2: We worked with the Judge Business School at Cambridge University to study enterprise relationship management because relationships are at the very core of B2B success. There’s a very famous McGraw Hill ad from the 1950’s that sums this up very nicely…

McGraw-Hill print advert I don't know who you are

Evolution 3: Touchpoints are critical and expanding exponentially. Omobono identified this reasonably early and created a language and methodology that let our clients talk to other departments about managing experiences beyond marketing.

In 2021 there needs to be new respect for touchpoints. Over the past 12 months we have spent so much time online we’re beginning to find touch points (aka screen time) really monotonous. Differentiation in your interfaces is critical – for a great example see what Supernatural have done in the work-out space with VR.

This has been a natural development for us. Omobono has always looked at the business problem underlying a brief that our company is given.

Focus on the totality of experience

Our expectations are the same across B2C and B2B experiences: how we stream a movie, track and trace, order a food shop, find 500 hospital beds (as our client SAP Ariba did in a few short hours last year), even locate life-saving cancer drugs (we share more below).

To help our clients go all in, all of the time, we need to reimagine how we engage with customers at every point on their journey. It’s not just about consideration and purchase, it’s about use, about ecosystem, about emotion. Deloitte tells us customers are less about product or focus and all about experience-laden moments from start to finish.

Which leads us to:

Evolution 4: That B2B organisations no longer simply sell products or services. They deliver experiences. It’s a big word and it needs some explaining

There’s UX.

There’s CX.

Then there’s the experience of the whole business – BX (business experience) as Chris Butterworth our creative director called it a few years ago and others like Accenture now talk about. BX is the interactions, workflows, culture and communications that happen inside the organisation in order to deliver outstanding CX. If the experience from within the business is poor, how can the customer’s experience be expected to be any good — especially in B2B where the inside of the organisation is on-show to the wider world?

Over the years we’ve solved business problems using creativity, strategy and technology in many different ways. We helped Miele create a Service Hub for distributors and in the work delivered new data that enriched their CX. For a major global technology company we created an interview experience that turbo-charged their NPS (and got patented). We helped a pharmaceutical company say no to 900,000 job applicants in the best way possible through a hugely improved and transparent application process – and then onboard the chosen few like rock stars.

So whilst Omobono works on missions to make these experiences better and more seamless for our customers there is a more permanent shift taking place – one that 80% of CEOs of the global brands we serve believe – that the entire mechanism of how they go to market is ‘an experience’.

As a business we have done a lot of work trying to understand what this shift means and the skills required to deliver.

In part two we’ll share what we’ve uncovered.

We are the digital experience company for business brands.

In today’s connected world, experience is brand.

So we help you create better experiences for your customers, employees, partners and stakeholders. Ones that work in empathy with them to achieve their goals, engage and delight them, and build brand loyalty.