A recent study commissioned by Google and conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), revealed that mobile drives or influences about 40% of revenue in leading B2B organizations. This was specifically in industries that have traditionally depended more on sales than marketing to drive their revenue.
This is hardly surprising. It’s not just that mobile usage is growing, but the demographics of the people using it are changing as well.
Millennials now account for more than a quarter of the global workforce, as we noted back in February. Millennials are digital natives who are accustomed to researching products and services from their phones and this has had a direct impact on the modern B2B landscape.
In this post, we’ll review some of the key points of the Google/BCG study and provide some takeaways that you can apply to your B2B marketing strategy.
B2B buyers use their phones a lot
For many of us, our mobile phones are essential tools that connect us with the outside world. And, just like all consumers, B2B buyers often start their quest for information with a search query. The Google /BCG study found that half of the B2B search queries in 2017 were made on a smartphone, with that number predicted to grow to 70% by 2020.
Data Source: Google
B2B buyers are increasingly multitasking with their phones and using multiple screens to get work done. The amount of time they’re spending on their mobile phones is also increasing, with mobile usage expected to increase from about two hours a day in 2017 to three in 2020.
Mobile as a driver for B2B purchases
The Google/BCG study produced some compelling examples of how mobile is helping to increase businesses’ bottom line. Here are a few highlights.
- Mobile can increase time to purchase for B2B buyers by up to 20%, particularly for more complex purchases.
- Leaders in the B2B mobile space generate higher levels of mobile engagement (measured by search queries, site traffic, lead generation, and transactions).
- A positive mobile experience increases loyalty, with more than 90% of B2B buyers likely to buy from the same vendor after a positive mobile experience (versus 50% for a poor mobile experience.)
B2B leaders who prioritize mobile do so consciously and with intent. For example, they create website layouts favorable to mobile devices such as pages that feature minimal text and a vertical format. They also review data across all devices, including mobile, to gain a better understanding of their prospects and customers, so they can create a better overall customer experience.
Companies that use Google Analytics (or a comparable website analytics tool), can compare the amount of mobile traffic they’re getting versus desktop traffic.
In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Mobile > Overview to see this information as follows:
Google Analytics Mobile Overview Report
In the above example, this website received about 67% of its traffic from mobile devices versus only 26% from desktops. However, they’re getting 71% of conversions from desktops versus 24% from mobile devices.
This disparity could be caused by a combination of things including a poor mobile experience, the length of their sales cycle and the nature of the product that’s being sold. More complex and expensive B2B products or services may be purchased offline or on a desktop, even when research is initiated on a mobile phone. Understanding how your audience is accessing your website is an important step in creating a mobile-friendly strategy.
Examples of how B2B companies can leverage mobile
You may be wondering how to leverage mobile in your B2B marketing strategy (beyond creating a mobile-friendly website). Here are a few examples.
Use SMS messaging.
B2C businesses have already started adopting SMS messaging as part of their customer retention strategies. If you’ve ever gotten an appointment reminder sent to your phone or a text alerting you about an event, then you’ve seen this in action firsthand. But SMS messaging technology goes way beyond appointment reminders. Many SMS marketing services include robust CRM features such as mobile subscriptions that allow people to sign up to receive alerts from their phone, automatic replies, comprehensive analytics and more.
Build mobile into your CRM strategy.
Poor customer service can lead to a staggering loss of revenue. One study found that businesses lose more than 60 billion each year due to bad customer experiences.
One way to counter this troubling trend is to provide multiple touch points for customers to reach out to you using their mobile devices. This can include incorporating chat onto your website or Facebook page via the use of live operators or chatbots (or a combination of both) and incorporating SMS functionality into landline numbers (which enables you to receive and reply to text messages on your existing business line).
Make your content mobile friendly.
Most B2B companies already have a wealth of content about their products and services. This may include brochures, demo videos, webinars, and white papers. Not all of this material is easy to consume from a mobile phone, but it can be reworked and repackaged so that customers and prospects are able to view it more easily from a mobile device (e.g., turn a whitepaper into an explainer video and share it on social media.).
Mobile’s impact on how we do business is significant and will continue to grow over the coming years. By engaging with customers via multiple mobile touchpoints, B2B marketers will be poised to meet the expectations of an increasingly mobile-savvy audience.