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While the B2C segment has learned to speak to consumers in an increasingly human and authentic way, B2B has been slower to realize the value of this approach. B2B businesses still have a tendency to speak to buyers in transactional terms that don’t inspire the necessary trust from buyers. If they want to earn that trust, which transcends the product or service, they must follow the example of the B2C sector and humanize their approach. In fact, there are more than a few voices calling for the end of B2B and B2C, since the two converge in something common: people. Welcome to H2H (Human to Human).

Businesses, just like consumers, want to do business with someone they trust. They want to know “who” the business is and “what” it values, not just what products or services it can provide.

With advancements in technology and the need to stand out from the crowd, humanization offers the opportunity to let the brand stand out as an individual, helping our audiences get excited about who we are. In the B2B environment it may seem like a huge feat, but with a broader view of the field of action it will be much easier for them to get closer to their customers.

As social beings, people value connection and interaction with other humans. Ten times out of ten, customers will choose to interact with a person rather than a cold, distant corporate entity.

Just as B2C growth depends on human approaches to inspire consumer trust, so does B2B growth with respect to buyers. Now is the time to humanize B2B so that it regains the trust on which its growth depends.

10 TIPS TO HUMANIZE A B2B BRAND

  1. DEFINE THE PURPOSE. Focus on the “why your business exists.” Purpose is a compelling reason for the existence of the brand, beyond generating an economic benefit. It combines the ambitions and beliefs that motivate the Organization, as well as the changes it wants to make to its ecosystem.
  2. PROMOTE TRANSPARENCY. No one product or service is right for everyone, and buyers are wary of companies that don’t provide a highly transparent view. In fact, buyers who can’t locate negative reviews as well are likely to give up.
  3. IT ADDS PERSONALITY. Build and define a personality for your brand. That’s the best way to show humanity in a coordinated way between each of your team members, including sales agents. Develop it in a way that accurately reflects what the brand stands for and what it can offer. It ensures that it is transmitted consistently through every touchpoint.
  4. LISTEN BEFORE YOU SPEAK. There is no better source of information than the customers themselves. Show them that you’re listening and that you really care about what they have to say. It’s the best way to gain big fans of the brand, making it easier to repurchase and re-referrals.
  5. SHARE A GOOD STORY. Everyone loves good stories. No matter what business you’re in, you’re sure to have a story that makes your brand unique. You can add customer success stories, employee stories, CSR stories… No more boring reports, give way to life stories.
  6. SHOW YOUR PEOPLE. When you talk about your business, you talk about the people behind the business you’re talking about. Openly show your people, leadership teams, employees… When you introduce them in your communication, you help customers connect with your brand and you also help build credibility.
  7. BE A GREAT EMPLOYER. Identify your employee value proposition (EVP). The way a company treats its employees, the benefits it offers, and how they make them feel about being part of the business speaks volumes more than words. If a company is good for its employees, it’s only natural that it’s good for customers as well. Include specific content in your communication, it will help you establish the human side of your brand.
  8. OPEN THE DIALOGUE. You need to be a part of your customers’ lives and dialogue will make it easier for them to know you’re there. You should add value to their life while sharing with them. Find out what’s going on in the industry, stay relevant, and create communication around trends to be part of their interests.
  9. PROMOTE RECOMMENDATIONS. Recommendations are a powerful tool for increasing conversions, raising average purchase value, and building strong relationships with each customer. The Word of Mouth is especially valuable as it helps buyers find answers more effectively, providing personalized information at the right time.
  10. BE UNEXPECTED. Generating surprise, doing something that no one expects, is an innate way of looking human… We all love happy surprises, big or small.

In B2B, it can be difficult to shift the focus from the benefits of the product to the difference between people, forgetting that B2B customers are also people. Perhaps closing the sale is the end goal, but the difference comes through the brand, able to consider the emotions, desires and attitudes of the person making the decisions.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO of Branward