How has the pandemic changed the way that B2B organisations relate to customers, and how they approach customer acquisition?
The way that customers want to engage with companies like ours has changed. We did a lot of testing and asked our customers and partners for feedback. Then we invested heavily in systems that would help us interact with customers in ways that they wanted.
We’ve done a lot of work around personalisation of email marketing and introduced a new mobile marketing platform, using SMS and things like that. We broadened our communication stack so that we can contact customers at the right time. During the pandemic, we saw people were getting less direct marketing and direct mail so we looked at using those channels to see if we could penetrate the market that way. We’re looking at a hybrid model with some virtual and some face to face, and we think that’s going to be the same for the next couple of years.
What role in customer acquisition do you think that humans will play in what is an increasingly digital buyer journey?
Yes, we have all the technology and automation, but I’m a believer that people buy from people. If you create a journey that is too automated, then it feels robotic. We need to have personalisation but then go one step beyond so that we notice that our customer works with this company, that we understand what he does and what the challenges are, and how we might address that. We try to move away from feeling like we’re just sending an automated email – we put in an effort.
We have invested in data systems that pull together multiple data points so that we know we’re touching on the right issues when reaching out to a client. However, each member of our commercial team will look it over and pull together notes by hand, and we won’t fully automate that outreach because we think it puts people off.
At the same time, we started to use video where we’d have someone from the commercial team introducing themselves and the solution, telling the customer about the issue. We saw a massive, massive increase in engagement. The engagement completely changed because we’re putting a face to whoever was behind that email communication. It goes back to people buying from people, even if how people buy has changed. We invest more now on social media rather than paid advertising on traditional channels but focusing on that human element.
“We try to move away from feeling like we’re just sending an automated email – we put in an effort”.
“We’re trying to keep a balance where we focus on the quality of service and finding those channels where we’re not getting diluted”.
How is your marketing budget changing to balance digital marketing and traditional telemarketing?
Our spending changed on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on where the market is moving and what customers need. With social media there are these new channels that pop up left, right and centre, with new opportunities to target people in different ways. It’s almost impossible to keep up, so we’re always looking at what’s happened in the previous months and quarters.
The digital trend has definitely grown, but you need to look at it carefully. If we take PPC as an example, that used to be a very cost-effective channel for organisations like mine, but many companies are moving into PPC and it’s now driving the costs up. You need to find the right balance, so you don’t potentially over-pay to acquire new business, which is easy considering some prices have doubled or even tripled compared to three years ago.
Right now, we’re trying to keep a balance where we focus on the quality of service and finding those channels where we’re not getting diluted.
Trust Payments helps businesses to optimise sales and customer experience through fast, seamless payments with loyalty and data management. The company’s payment experts work with clients all over the world, while Trust Payments’ Global technology platform connects to 50+ banks to support multi-acquirer processing. The group holds an Authorised Payment Institution (API) License from the UK FCA, Principal Memberships with Visa and Mastercard, as well as money transmission and gaming vendor licences in the US.