It wasn’t that long ago when the most advanced B2B marketing solution was a Rolodex and a great cold call pitch. These days, automated software and other technology has rapidly changed the B2B landscape. Software solutions have changed many aspects of B2B operations including marketing techniques, allocation of team resources, and the overall customer experience.

Here, we’ll cover 6 of the B2B software solutions you need to know about in 2018.

1. Data Visualization

We live in an era of big data. Every second of the day millions of emails are sent, thousands of searches are conducted, and countless hours of video are added to the web. What’s more, your customers are interacting with your technology every day. All that data is more than just noise added to the machine—it’s an opportunity to learn about your customers, how they view and interact with your brand, and how you can improve your messaging.

Understanding data can help your firm create more effective marketing campaigns, develop new products and offerings, and execute more actionable, intelligent decisions. But how do you channel all that static data into action? Data visualization can help.

Data fatigue is very real. There is simply too much information available, and it can cause data overload. Pulling usable, interesting information out of the data and then visualizing it in relevant, pleasing ways can help you get the most from your data.

Don’t just tell customers how great your products are, show them. Data visualization is a powerful way to market your brand.

2. Self Servicing

Customers increasingly want to help themselves. Whether it’s looking up basic information, placing a new order or reordering, or managing their inventory—your customers want the option of self-service. Automated ordering, chat bots, and other software solutions that promote self-service can improve overall customer experience.

Self-servicing may seem like a lost opportunity to upsell or make a deeper personal connection with your clients. However, delivering services and experiences your customers want is always a good idea.

What’s more, because customers are able to order products and have questions answered automatically it frees up your staff to focus on more productive tasks. Sales reps can focus their energy on clients that need more personal attention. Your support staff won’t have to waste valuable time answering basic queries. Your customers will have a positive experience that encourages repeat business.

3. Focus on Mobile

Obviously, mobile technology and mobile software solutions aren’t new to 2018—but they’re more important now than ever before. Your customers are searching for you and your products on their mobile devices. That means you need to have platforms, marketing, and storefronts that operate smoothly and look good on mobile devices.

While you need to ensure that your mobile platforms help you engage and capture customers, you also need to focus on providing mobile options for your sales reps. Traveling sales reps should have full access to your operations from their mobile devices.

Cloud-based solutions give your sales reps everything they need to be successful in the field. They should be able to place orders, check inventory, check shipment information, communicate with staff, and look up customer information all from their mobile devices. This flexibility gives your sales staff the up to date resources they need to be competitive.

4. Queue Management Software

No one wants to wait in a line, especially a digital one. Most customers will abandon a queue if they feel they are waiting too long. That could translate to an upset customer, a canceled transaction, or even a lost opportunity to capture a new customer. A queueing management solution can help you eliminate the frustration customers feel when waiting in line.

Queue management software allows your customers to wait in line while they do other things. Your customers are given a wait time forecast that provides updates and notification alerts when they move to the front of the line.

While queue management is great for your customers, it’s even better for your staff. Instead of interrupting their flow by focusing on line management they can focus on what’s really important—getting their work done.

Your staff will be better able to focus on their tasks, which moves the line along faster. Giving your staff the tools they need to better serve your customers makes everyone happy. Queue management software eliminates long lines and reduces walkaways, shortens wait times, boosts staff productivity and efficiency, reduces customer complaints, enhances customer engagement, and delivers valuable data that helps you develop more effective customer service.

5. Personalization and Account Based Marketing

Segmented marketing is nothing new. Some of the earliest print marketing campaigns attempted to identify characteristics of specific customers and advertise to those traits. Personalization utilizes big data to segment clients based on demographic data, customer lifecycle, trigger vs. nudge messaging, and much more.

Creating dynamic content that speaks to a specific audience and using automation and AI to identify criteria enables you to target your audience with much greater efficiency.

Personalization helps you develop marketing content and advertising techniques to better target a specific audience. Account-based marketing helps you get the most from personalization.

Account-based marketing aims to nurture existing customers and clients through ongoing and highly personalized efforts. Satisfied customers represent a prime marketing opportunity. That’s because most marketing attempts to cast a wide net and capture new customers. Account-based marketing requires fewer resources to grow existing customer relationships into something stronger.

6. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (and virtual reality) is a marketing technology that will continue to emerge in 2018. Giving customers and prospective clients contextually relevant visual information enables them to perceptualize your products and services in a new and exciting way.

Along with integrated mobile technology and the emerging cloud, augmented reality will soon become a valued tool in your sales reps’ repertoire. Just like with data visualization, the best way to demonstrate the value of your products and services is to show your clients what you offer. Augmented reality and virtual reality are software solutions that allow you to show off your wares in a new and exciting way.

Author Bio:

Gary Anderson is a freelance writer from Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years of experience writing for many different industries, he is an accomplished and published writer and editor. In his free time, he enjoys gardening.