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B2B Personalization for CX Vendors

One of the key strategies used by business-to-consumer (B2C) companies to improve CX is to personalize each interaction. By capturing and using customer journey data, companies can provide a more personalized experience across marketing, sales, and customer service interactions, and then develop deeper and longer-term business relationships.

Business-to-business (B2B) companies can also reap the rewards of offering a more personalized approach. After all, professional buyers are also B2C customers away from the office, and have become accustomed to sleek, personalized experiences. Moreover, these buyers have specific business needs and requirements, and are often more likely to seek out suppliers that can accommodate their specific product needs, purchasing processes, and support needs.

Research conducted by McKinsey & Company conducted in April 2020 found that digital channels became more important for B2B buyers during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating a trend that began in the years prior. According to McKinsey survey data, B2B buyers, on average, rate digital channels about twice as important now as they were before.

This shift to digital can provide specific benefits to both buyers and sellers of B2B software and services. Digital sales can be more efficient and accurate for the buyer, and sellers can often capture significantly more information on their customer’s preferences, sentiment, and purchasing mindset, compared with traditional phone or in-person sales calls.

However, even in a digital world, B2B buyers value relationships, and the key to relationship-based selling and service is understanding the motivations, preferences, and mindset of the customer to customize products, services, and processes for each individual customer.

A key example of this shift to more personalized B2B sales can be found in the CX industry. Customer relationship manager (CRM) vendor SugarCRM, which targets mid-market customers across manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services, and other data-rich industries, uses a relationship-based approach to both sales and support, noting that the company often competes against much larger providers.

Jason Rushforth, SugarCRM’s senior vice president and general manager for the Americas, says many of SugarCRM clients are seeking, but are not receiving value from the large, incumbent CRM vendors that tend to be focused on providing one-size-fits-all solutions that are more suitable for larger customers. Instead, Rushforth says SugarCRM will work with the customers to provide them with a customized offering that is “right-sized to meet their needs.”

“[Prospects] come to us with [specific] requirements,” Rushforth explains. “We show them what kind of company we are, how we have transparent pricing, and how we work with our customers. And then we let them talk with other customers and get comfortable with ‘why SugarCRM?’”

Delivering excellent CX is not limited to pre-sales or sales activity; ensuring customer success and satisfaction throughout the relationship is paramount to winning and retaining customers. “We work closely with our customers in a pre-sales capacity, but also in a post-sales capacity,” Rushforth says. “We have to be customer centric, and we need to have our customers love us.”

Rushforth says that clients have a choice of using a third-party reseller to deploy their solution, or they can choose to use SugarCRM’s professional services team to configure, integrate, and tailor the application to their business’ specific needs. “Every customer has an assigned customer success manager,” Rushforth says, noting that they also offer a SugarCRM Care Services package, which is a retainer to use technical and business resources as they see fit to solve their problems. Perhaps most importantly, SugarCRM takes the approach of working closely with each customer throughout the deployment, as well as after the go-live launch date. “It’s about ensuring their success, and providing access to the executive team,” Rushforth says. “It’s important when you’re deploying your solution, you can pick up the phone and call [SugarCRM’s] vice president, or even the CEO, to hash out any road bumps you might have along the way.”

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek,, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.


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