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According to just-released research from Accenture, complex customer buying journeys and disconnected channel partner networks are preventing B2B companies from delivering the personalized customer experiences that drive loyalty and growth. ‘B2B Customer Experience 2017’ surveyed 1,350 sales and customer service executives from B2B organizations worldwide to understand how well companies are serving customers.

B2B leaders know that customer experience is directly related to growth. 90% of them believe CX is crucial to their companies’ strategic priorities, and 75% believe customer experience will be even more important in the next two years. However, acknowledging the importance of CX does not necessarily translate into delivering experiences that drive B2B sales.  The study found that the urgency to grow indirect channel partner networks and monetize customer experiences is disconnected from today’s operational reality.  Key findings include:

  • 97% of B2B executives say that indirect sales channels are critical to their business, yet only 21% of sales and customer service executives surveyed say they have total control over their organization’s sales networks and overall customer experience.
  • Selling in the digital age has become more complex than many B2B leaders had anticipated. Buyers are demanding more and different solutions and forms of engagement. They are less loyal, and there are more of them. On average, 7 customers participate in a B2B buying decision.
  • Most customers are already 57% through the buying process before they first engage with a company representative; 90% never respond to cold outreach; and 61% of all B2B transactions now start online.
  • 71% of B2B executives say customers increasingly want B2C-like experiences compared to a few years ago – fast response times, consistent experiences across multiple channels, and availability 24/7 – but nearly half (49%) admit they are failing to deliver the cutting edge and highly relevant experiences customers crave.

So what’s the opportunity cost of under-delivering customer experience?  It’s hug! Accenture’s study explains how a leading technology manufacturer boosted sales 4.9% by orchestrating customer retention, contract renewal, product refresh, and cross/up-sell efforts, while reducing unproductive administrative time for channel sales teams. Further, they found that companies with effective partner lead generation and coaching are 63% more likely to exceed their indirect channel revenue goals.

Without the right customer experience capabilities, B2B companies can’t build relationships with loyal customers who spend more, stay longer and are more forgiving. They miss out on growth opportunities that reside outside the traditional sales cycle. And they incur huge opportunity costs by failing to capture renewals.