By Derek Andersen
According to eMarketer’s new report, 94% of B2B executives in North America said B2B ecommerce is critical to business advantage and results. In fact, experts believe that in the next few years, B2B ecommerce sales will eclipse the B2C market. Frost & Sullivan predicts global B2B ecommerce sales will hit $6.6 trillion by 2020 — this is more than double its 2020 estimate for global B2C online sales.
Despite the growth of B2B ecommerce, phone conversations and the voice channel are still extremely important to driving B2B revenue. B2B purchases are often either expensive, complex, or highly considered and can involve multiple stakeholders and decision-makers. More customers are purchasing from B2B vendors online, however 70% of B2B buyers indicate that they still want to contact a rep at some point during the purchasing cycle. These calls help B2B buyers get answers to important questions, discuss pricing, and gain use-case specifics. Some will also call after the purchase has been made to gain additional support.
Besides measuring online conversions, B2B marketers should get attribution on the marketing channels, ads, search keywords, and webpages that are driving sales calls to their contact center, office, or store locations. With this data, they can optimize media spend for what drives the best conversions, both online and over the phone. In addition, B2B marketers should use AI to analyze the voice of the consumer to uncover insights on each caller, such as whether or not they were a quality lead, what questions they asked, and if they ultimately converted. With this approach, B2B marketers have the holistic data to create a seamless link between their ecommerce and call channels to drive better conversions and revenue.
Here are 5 ways to use insights from consumer calls to drive business results.
Your digital advertising is most effective when you’re able to see a unified omnichannel view of your audience. By understanding how each audience member has engaged with your brand in the past, you can better tailor their future brand interactions. That’s why 71.8% of B2B companies make customers register and create a profile as part of the onboarding process. The best B2B marketers are enriching these customer profiles with data from inbound calls. By analyzing conversations, they can track the results of each call and target accordingly.
If your business fails to convert a qualified lead, you can use the intelligence from that conversation to target them with the right search, social, or display ads. For example, you can retarget a caller with display ads and emails for the specific product they asked about over the phone and a promotional 15% discount for first-time customers.
If a caller converts to a customer, you can target them with a relevant upsell campaign. Or, if there’s no higher-tier product or companion product, you can exclude this customer from seeing future ads altogether to avoid wasting spend.
Finally, you can put callers who converted into your lookalike campaigns to find similar audiences to target with ads that are proven to work.
The average website conversion rate is only 2.35%. In order to increase conversions, marketers need to make the B2B ecommerce experience as frictionless as possible. An effective way to accomplish this is to track the inbound calls driven by each of your product pages. You can then analyze these calls and determine the most common questions consumers on each page ask when making purchase decisions. Then, you can add answers to these questions to your website to help clear up their uncertainties and better convert future visitors.
For example, Galeton.com — a B2B work clothing and safety gear ecommerce site — ran a series of website optimization tests of 78 website elements in its effort to boost conversions. One of the biggest wins occurred on product detail pages. Numerous customers were calling Galeton’s agents to ask which size of different items they should purchase, despite the fact that there was a sizing chart at the bottom of the page. Galeton recognized this issue and moved the sizing chart above the fold. This boosted their conversion rate by 13%.
In addition to answering common customer questions on product pages, you can also answer them in long-form, top-of-funnel content like blog posts to boost your SEO. B2B shoppers often enter FAQs in search engines — by including them in longform content pieces, you’ll rank higher in these searches, attracting new website visitors who will hopefully convert to customers.
To optimize for voice searches, listen to the exact phrasing of customer questions over the phone and include this language on your website pages and in your content pieces. The syntax of voice searches is distinctly different from that of keyboard searches, and this approach will ensure your rank for the relevant long-tail keywords.
B2B marketers are also harnessing the voice of the consumer to increase customer retention. With the right call analytics solution, you can use AI to detect frustrated customers at risk of churning. You can then review the transcripts and call these problem customers back to dig deeper into their issue. Are they experiencing website usability issues? A frustrating call experience? Poor customer service? Shipping problems? If their complaint was the result of a website issue, you can correct it so it doesn’t affect more customers. Finally, to secure these problem customers’ loyalty, you can offer them discounts or special offers.
You can also use the insights from phone conversations to improve the effectiveness of your chatbots. By programming your chatbots to answer the most common questions leads are voicing by phone, you can ensure consumers are receiving the essential information they need to make purchase decisions. Not only does this approach mitigate customer experiences issues, it also frees up live agents and reduces hold times.
Additionally, some B2B ecommerce companies send calls placed from online shopping carts directly to live agents, bypassing the IVR or on-hold queues. People calling from shopping carts often need specific questions answered or troubleshooting assistance to finalize their online purchase. Routing them directly to an agent helps ensure you capture revenue from a shopping session that’s at risk of being abandoned.
Driving calls from your website pages and marketing campaigns is only half the battle — you also have to ensure your inbound calls are being handled correctly. Otherwise, you could be missing out on revenue.
Conversation analytics can automatically score the calls driven by your marketing campaigns for lead quality and buying intent. When your hottest leads fail to convert, you can dig into the transcripts and understand why — did your agents stick to the right scripts? Did they leverage the right offers? You can then have a sales lead follow up with these callers to turn them around, and use recordings of calls as coaching tools in sales training.
Central Restaurant Products, the leading wholesale distributor of foodservice equipment and supplies, provides products and solutions to hotels, restaurants, and food retail as well as grocery stores. Central sells equipment on their website, and they also have expert product consultants available by phone.
Central attributes calls from their digital advertising and website and analyzes those conversations to understand what happens on the calls their marketing generates. They can quickly look at the source of a call — say a Google shopping ad — then dive into the actual phone conversation to see if it was a quality lead. Or they can analyze calls from a specific product’s webpage to see what questions callers are asking, then have their content team update the details on that page to answer them, enabling them to generate and convert more visitors from SEO.
This data-driven approach to the call channel has increased Central’s inbound calls by 23% and their new customers by 13% year over year.
To learn more B2B marketing best practices, download our eBook: The Secret to B2B Marketing ROI: Inbound Calls.
Download our eBook, The Secret to B2B Marketing ROI: Inbound Calls, to learn more B2B marketing best practices.Instantly Download My Free eBook →
Get the latest straight to your inbox.