Oversaturation; the thing that happens when you put too much cocoa in your warm milk and end up with little cocoa islands swirling around in it, and the universal proof that you can in fact have too much of a good thing.
Customer experience as an industry is approaching that point. There are so many new players in the market that it's getting difficult to stand out. For managers, decision-makers and marketers in the B2B world, the abundance of tools and techniques available can be daunting to research.
Case-in-point, take a look at this graphic. It's called the Martech 5000, and it's an intimidating specimen. These are all the companies in the Martech landscape today, of which CX is just one small part. We're in there too, but you might need a microscope to find us. Or at least Ctrl + plus. Where is Waldo anyway?
It's getting crowded, and for good reason; CX is becoming a top priority for businesses and a driver for innovation. This study suggests that by 2020 (which is NEXT YEAR!), approximately 89% of customers will prefer to engage with and support companies that provide superior customer experience and engagement.
Good news: This cements the value of the customer experience as a core competency and an industry standard. Not that we were worried.
Bad news: The heightened competition means CX providers will face heavy market pressure to differentiate and narrow down their niche, which is a real stress-test for any business.
So how can you separate yourself from the pack and really make a difference in your bottom-line business?
Distinguishing yourself from the crowd in B2B
To really stand out, CX companies have to be targeted in their approach to engaging B2B clients, while offering unique value. One interesting way to do that is with ABM (Account Based Marketing). Sangram Vajre met with us to talk about just that on our upcoming Voices of CX Podcast episode (which comes out 11/12). It's a powerful strategy, but it's not the only way to keep the focus on your customers.
Here are some great ways to rise above the crowd:
Break the silos between Marketing and Sales — This is easier said than done, but is one of the most important steps. When these departments are free to synchronize their efforts, their effectiveness will skyrocket.
Proactively engage your audience — Remember, your clients have to grapple with the Martech 5000 when making decisions. Make the burden of that research lighter by going to them first. Relieving even some of their stress is just one more way to make yourself the prime candidate.
Be creative but targeted with your content — Less frequent, but more creative and useful content will receive a better response from today's discerning, content-overloaded consumers. Remember, B2B doesn't mean Boring-2-Boring. You're still marketing to people, so make it interesting and engaging. Quality > quantity.
Narrow down your distribution channels — Find the channels that matter most to your customers, and yours alone. It could be Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, YouTube, etc., but will rarely be all of them.
Target your audience intentionally — Figure out who precisely your crowd is, what personas they embody and what needs you can serve for them, then design your core strategies and materials around that information.
Finally, measure your success thoughtfully — Every business thrives on different KPI's, and it's critical to find one that reflects your actual business outcomes, and not just customer's momentary feelings.
Be like an octopus, my friends...
...but not in the way you might imagine. Instead of trying to grab something different with each arm of your company, direct all your arms to one thing — your customers.
Think about it. Have you ever seen an octopus go after more than one meal at a time?
It may have eight arms, but only one mouth. If it tried to snag one crab in each arm, it would probably lose all of them. But with all eight against one crab, it's almost a sure meal. Bring all your departments together around a common goal.
You may give up some reach to the broader market, but you'll gain phenomenal control over the one sector or client you focus on, and it's far less likely to slip away. That's how you increase your win rate.
When customers have your undivided attention, that's when you can really make your mark and rise above the burgeoning ranks of the Martech 5000. Not because you took the whole market, but because you secured the wins that mattered.