The amount of data that B2B organizations have of their customers is expanding at an exponential pace. From customer needs to buying preferences, preferred channel to favorable time of the day to shop, the preferred device to social media interactions, and more it’s all recorded.

The problem isn’t the dearth of customer data; it is how it is stored across disparate systems that restricts organizations from gaining a rounded view of their customers. Having to access a different system every time to gather a different dataset of the same customer is not only time-consuming; it also results in a fragmented, rather than a unified view of the customer.

What is a 360 customer view?

In a world where organizations are struggling to exactly meet customer expectations, 360 customer view provides a birds-eye view of who your customers are, what they need, and most importantly how they interact with your organization. It provides detailed insights into every single interaction your customer has ever had with your company including every email, call, chat, and transaction as well as the content they’ve read, the feedback they’ve provided, and the social media interaction they’ve had with you.

Also, a complete, unified view of the customer includes personal and demographic information that perfectly reflects their true self – including their age, gender, financial preferences, location, and more. It also provides insight into their buying power, their tech-savviness, their purchasing history, and more – providing an end-to-end picture of your customers and the journey and experience they have with the company.

Why it matters

For B2B (and even B2C customers), customer experience is everything. But seamless, gratifying experiences can be delivered only when companies have a unified view of their customers. Such a view helps in anticipating customer wants and needs and thereby helping companies plan (and tweak) their marketing efforts, sales communications, and customer service strategies to drive maximum value and satisfaction.

  1. Identify and maintain key customer relationships: Every customer, no matter how old or new needs to be addressed with utmost precision. However, it only makes business sense to go above and beyond for those who are more valuable to the organization. Customers who share a positive relationship with the company, who generally leave positive reviews and feedback and carry a greater probability of word-of-mouth referrals are worth keeping happy. Having a 360 view of customers makes it easy to identify these valuable customers and enables organizations to maintain relationships with them – thus reaping more rewards in the long run.
  2. Simplify the procure-to-pay process: The B2B customer lifecycle is far more complex than B2C; managing customers across requisition, purchase, and payment is not straightforward and requires organizations to have a deep understanding of customers across every stage of their journey. Having a 360 customer view means you are in a better position to consolidate data from sourcing, procurement, and accounts departments in a single record and use this consolidated data to make key decisions. Such detailed insight also makes it easy to identify challenges and pain-points in the procure-to-pay process while driving efforts in optimizing customer experiences across every channel and at every touchpoint.
  3. Enable demographic-based selling: Understanding the specific requirements of your customers, across geographies and demographics is important to target the right customers, with the right products and campaigns. Having a 360 customer view means you have all demographic-related data of your customers in one place; so, you can better understand where your customers are located, their circumstances, their education and family background, their age, gender, race, ethnicity, and more. Such data can not only help you better understand your customers; it can also help you build and market products in a way that’s most appealing to them specifically.
  4. Drive personalization through business intelligence: Given how unique the needs of customers are, using a cookie-cutter approach to sell products is a futile exercise. Each customer today expects a personalized experience, which is why you need to be able to understand their specific needs and curate a journey that best fits those needs. Having a 360 customer view means you can pin-point unique requirements and tailor products/advertising/offers/communication accordingly. Such efforts can help deliver faster, more relevant, and gratifying experiences to your customers and boost their trust and loyalty for the brand.
  5. Generate up-sell and cross-sell revenue opportunities: For B2B organizations, the job doesn’t end at the first transaction. Since acquiring new B2B customers is much more time-consuming and expensive than retaining customers, it makes sense to be able to identify and enable up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and grow business. Having a 360 customer view helps you in understanding how your customers interact with your business: what products they have already brought from you, what products they are currently eyeing, and what products they are most likely to buy in the future – to fulfill their need. Such an understanding helps in placing the right products or ads at the right moment, thus improving the chances of a purchase. It also helps in increasing ROI and profits as well as customer experience and loyalty.

Having insight into past, current, and future customer relationships is key to increasing loyalty, retention, and satisfaction. A 360 customer view can help in identifying and maintaining key customer relationships, simplifying the procure-to-pay process, enabling demographic-based selling, driving personalization, and generating the right up-sell and cross-sell revenue opportunities.  In the long run, these benefits can help optimize costs as well as boost customer lifetime value.