I want to be a b-to-b professional when I grow up

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When I was five, I didn't wake up one day and say, "I want to be a b-to-b online sales and marketing professional." But I am. And, truthfully, it is fun. Along the way, things have gotten even more fun. Although a pirate or a ballerina was the choice of most of my peers, being a b-to-b professional is pretty rewarding.

I've been able to apply my trade across multiple verticals, including CPG, PCs, CE and bio-tech. And I've found that there are two constants in b-to-b sales and marketing: change and the customer.

I learned much of what I needed to know by working on the technology side, doing b-to-b integrations, like EDI, xML and Punchout setups for large customers (if you don't know what these are, you should; they're probably your companies' largest transaction methods). I learned how buyers and sellers interact at the Zero Moment of Truth, the ZMOT, when the order is placed and then when payment is made.

From here, I became interested in how to drive more business through the channel, which also is what I'm getting paid to do. I found out that, yes, we needed more than just a solid transaction engine, we needed customer care, sales and marketing across all channels to complete the picture.

I started to learn more about the b-to-b customer journey, where customers research products, how they make purchase decisions and what the key elements are in getting them to decide what products and services they need.

My vantage point is from the online side, making sure that we are meeting customer expectations in sales, marketing and customer care. I don't so much consider myself “all Web” anymore, since much of my role has been about managing the cross-channel customer experience. I hope most of us realize that, no matter what function we work in, we are all cross-channel customer experience managers, too.

As our data (and our intuition) show, customers don't care where they are interacting with the company, but only what is wrong or what they want and how they expect to get their needs met.

That's really it. B-to-b is as simple as this.

So, what can I offer you today? Take a break, and spend five minutes thinking about your customers, both internal and external. Find one small thing and act on it.

Make a quick change to a landing page, add a social comment, sit with customer care on a call, read a sales ops report, create a win-back campaign for “lost” customers, lead someone else to think more deeply about the customer.

As b-to-b marketing professionals, we know our customer experience can be better. So do your part and have some fun with it. Maybe tomorrow you'll wake up and say, "It's OK that I'm not a pirate or ballerina. B-to-b marketing is kinda fun."

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