By using the right mix of technology and strategies to engage customers post-sale as well as pre-sale, B2B marketers can develop loyal customers and turn them into brand advocates, Forrester Research says

Many B2B marketers are dealing with a paradox: They apply most of their marketing efforts to pre-sale efforts, getting customers and prospects to buy something, but customers spend most of their time by far with a brand after the sale.

But by using the right mix of technology and strategies to engage customers post-sale as well as pre-sale, B2B marketers can develop loyal customers and turn them into brand advocates. These advocates do such things as create brand-enhancing content and share it on social media, Forrester Research says in the report, “Now Tech: B2B Customer Engagement Marketing, Q1 2019.”

Figures from recent Forrester studies cited in the report, however, show that while many B2B marketers are implementing customer engagement (CEM) technology, relatively few have learned to measure the return on investment.

“In this post-digital age, a successful company focuses its strategy, budget, and resources on enhancing its knowledge of and engagement with customers, not just winning them in the first place,” Forrester says in the report, which was authored by Forrester marketing analysts Laura Ramos and Matthew Camuso, along with other analysts. “This change in emphasis requires marketers to dial up both strategy and investment in customers—people and accounts who are paying you today, not potentially paying you later—to create engaging experiences that keep them loyal and turn them into advocates.”

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Forrester advises that, to shift marketing from solely a demand-generation effort to “full life-cycle engagement,” marketers need to increase their post-sale marketing acumen and implement CEM practices and technologies to:

Retain current buyers and grow longer-term relationships by maintaining ongoing marketing communications with customers to build relationships with them. “While sales and service teams play key roles, marketers need to keep marketing communication flowing and ensure positive business outcomes result from immersive and differentiated customer experiences,” Forrester says.

Turn passionate customers into advocates. “74% of B2B marketing decision makers are implementing CEM solutions to harvest value from a passionate customer base,” Forrester says. “CEM technologies help identify and manage advocates who willingly create content, engage socially, and support reference programs on your behalf.”

Make customer experience, or CX, a top differentiator. “Better CX correlates with higher revenue growth,” Forrester says. “Great CX also improves customer retention, cross-sell, and upsell while decreasing the cost to serve buyers. And CEM platforms help marketers deliver good CX and distinguish themselves from direct competitors—or indirect ones with whom they compete for budget dollars.”

Forrester also advises B2B marketers to demonstrate the value of CEM technology. “Start by
tracking how advocate-centered programs contribute to cross-sell and upsell opportunities—and how advocate influence helps open the door to new opportunities within existing accounts and net new customers,” it says.

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Forrester reviews more than 20 providers of CEM technology in the report, providing details on the top capabilities, sample clients and how much their applications are geared to B2B marketing.

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