Better Your B2B: What Marketing Leaders Can Learn from a B2C Approach to CX

Better Your B2B: What Marketing Leaders Can Learn from a B2C Approach to CX

The benchmark for a slick, connected customer experience is very different in 2022 than a decade ago.

It’s become the norm to expect a beautiful, easy path to purchase from the B2C companies we buy from. It’s no surprise then, that those high expectations are creeping into B2B purchases too.

But, let’s be honest: the customer experience provided by most B2B organisations is stuck in 2010 (and that’s if we’re being generous). 

If we’ve learned anything from the last two years, it’s that we have to make it easy for people and businesses to buy, and B2B is really lagging here.

In fact, HubSpot’s APAC marketing director, Kat Warboys said: “In a HubSpot survey, we learned that 77 per cent of B2B buyers surveyed said that their most recent experience was clunky and complex.”

HubSpot, a leading CRM platform, believe it’s time for B2B to match the experiences that (B2C) buyers have become so accustomed to in their personal lives and that marketing departments are well-positioned to lead that charge.

This is what motivated HubSpot to speak to Adam McCurdie, CEO and co-founder of Humanitix, Karen Kavanagh, the marketing director of Rentokil, and Jackie Lee-Joe, global head of customer, content and marketing at Money by Afterpay. 

Lead by Kat Warboys, the mix of industry experts on both sides of the “B2” fence engaged in a discussion about what exactly B2B should be borrowing from B2C. The topics covered included how to align your teams, strategy, and systems to level up your customer experience – starting with marketing, and getting buy-in throughout your entire organisation.

The overarching theme when asked about why B2C experiences tend to be better than B2B was efficiency, primarily in the internal systems operations of an organisation. 

As Warboys said, “in a Blissfully Trends report, they found that the average mid-market company has 137 Different SaaS apps, and the average enterprise company has more than 280.”

In contrast, Lee-Joe who represents the B2C-adjacent side, said: “tech companies that are new or in the ascendancy don’t have as many incumbent systems to worry about, and whose entire ethos is about disrupting the status quo, and so everything has been built with that customer obsession.”

Kavanagh said: “I think systems are a big part of the clunky CX experience for B2B, and sometimes it just goes into the “too hard” basket.

Probably, more successful businesses know they need better CX, but they’re just afraid to get under the hood from a cost and change management perspective.”

McCurdie sympathised with Kavanagh’s sentiment, noting that with the growth of a company comes the risk of increased complexity in the acquisition process as existing CX systems are relied upon to keep up: “what we’ve seen is there’s just a hell of a lot of fatigue that happens in the procurement process, the bigger and more complex the client is.”

The greater this occurrence, the more complex it may become on the buyer’s side, as well. And although the idea of overhauling incumbent systems that suffice but don’t excel is often on the bottom of the priority list, Kavanagh points out the capital costs: 

“You know, if you look at hiring really expensive talent and then they have to go through so much pain to engage with the customer, the unseen erosion on profits to get that customer over the line, if you don’t have a seamless experience, is pretty big.”

In McCurdie’s words, “the real question is, how do you reset once you get the ‘Yes!’” to treating the first interaction with your B2B customer like “this is day one, as though this is somebody that’s just walked into the store, and want to show them the best experience that they’ve ever seen in their life.”

Warboys summarised the issue as “siloed teams are the result of siloed systems.”

So how do you create an internal culture that is focused on the B2B experience? The general consensus appears to be one of employee empowerment: try and make people in your organisation feel like they’re influencing the experience or making them at least have ownership to their goals around it.

Warboys explains, “Our former CCO, now our CEO, Yamini Rangan, talks a lot about the art and science of the customer experience and creating a culture that really is focused on the customer.”

Kavanagh said “everybody in our business now knows that the accountability for great customer experience is with every individual. I think that’s really important.”

Lee-Joe explains “You have a job to do as well, which is to provide feedback across the organisation. But you have the freedom and the responsibility and the empowerment to do it.

“At Afterpay it’s really about understanding very deeply key audiences and seeking to really create products that are obsessed about fixing, and solving for those problems.”

Of course, it’s one thing for employees to have the onus on feedback, but another to see the data actioned into a tangible, positive user experience.

At Humanitix, McCurdie says “we give our account management team genuine agency to influence our engineering team.”

“They have all this knowledge of what they (customers) care about, what matters, what doesn’t matter.”  

When it comes to something utilising customer data, Lee-Joe described “the ability to build out truly four-dimensional views on who these customers are and to evolve your learning of these customers is absolutely incredible.”

“We have a two-way stream of that data and that information going from merchant to consumer and back again, which enables us to do a better job of servicing our clients, our merchants, with a better understanding of who your customers are on the one side. And then on the other side, of course, we can give you much more individualised and targeted offers.”

So, where to start? 

According to Kavanagh, when it comes to brands that are doing a great job of the B2B customer experience, “I am going to call out HubSpot.” 

“As someone coming into a business that wants to revolutionise and seize the opportunity, not just to be great at and improve CX, but adjust data systems change management, you need a strong partner. And I’ve had a couple of really strong partners in HubSpot as we’ve started the journey.”

HubSpot provides software and support to help businesses grow better, including marketing, sales, service, and website management products. Find out more at

Latest News

Sydney Comedy Festival: Taking The City & Social Media By Storm
  • Media

Sydney Comedy Festival: Taking The City & Social Media By Storm

Sydney Comedy Festival 2024 is live and ready to rumble, showing the best of international and homegrown talent at a host of venues around town. As usual, it’s hot on the heels of its big sister, the giant that is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, picking up some acts as they continue on their own […]

Global Marketers Descend For AANA’s RESET For Growth
  • Advertising

Global Marketers Descend For AANA’s RESET For Growth

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has announced the final epic lineup of local and global marketing powerhouses for RESET for Growth 2024. Lead image: Josh Faulks, chief executive officer, AANA  Back in 2000, a woman with no business experience opened her first juice bar in Adelaide. The idea was brilliantly simple: make healthy […]