The Digital Marketing Service Provider, Accenture Interactive, published some interesting research last year entitled SERVICE IS THE NEW SALES. It points out that 44% of B2B buyers have switched sellers in the past 12 months and suggest that the strongest, most differentiated B2B relationships are driven by experiences that connect human and digital means to provide a deeper, more personalized level of service.
The research identified a rift between buyers’ expectations and average seller experiences, underpinning the cited and unprecedented seller-switching trend. This disconnect means buyers are often finding ways of obsoleting existing vendor relationships and welcoming new disruptors in order to best serve their needs. The major reasons for switching were: uncompetitive pricing, long lead times for delivery and fulfilment, missed delivery dates, lack of integration between sales channels, and even poor commerce functionality.
The Accenture survey was global and, while their survey was across many different B2B categories, I also hear many of these comments from marketers when talking about their software vendors.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve discovered many separate vendor landscapes in my own Vendor Selection Matrix reports with my business partner Research in Action. In these projects, I’ve interviewed thousands of marketers on their business processes automation and, since earlier this year, we have been asking the marketers whether or not they would recommend the vendor they have provided feedback about to their peers. We call the resulting indicator: the Research in Action Recommendation Index (RI).
Over time, we see our Recommendation Index becoming a significant leading indicator of customer satisfaction and also propensity to switch. So I thought I would list out the current RI values for vendors mentioned in the last 6 months and provide an update on a regular basis in the future.
Vendors. I think that any RI 95% or over is satisfactory, an RI between 90-94% should raise some alarm signals about your customers’ emerging propensity to switch, while below 90% is a state of alarm.
Buyers. There is nothing stopping you interpreting the numbers in a similar manner.
The data below shows clearly that the classical Marketing Automation vendors listed in our Marketing Lead Management landscape are mostly threatened by a propensity to switch, with perhaps the exception of Marketo. These vendors are being threatened by new innovative vendors who talk about CX, customer engagement or even ABM and cover the MLM functionality as a routine orchestration component.
Many of the Sales Engagement Management vendors also have a precarious customer standing. There is, indeed, a lot of churn in this market as businesses replace their initial investment with a more suitable SEM solution. But Brainshark, Clearslide, Seismic and Showpad have a more loyal following.
Here is even a sneak preview of my next report, on Marketing Resource Management which is coming out later this month. The table shows an impressive scoring of all Recommendation Index values in the 90s.
Always keeping you informed! Peter