Put simply, B2B fintech is booming.
Today, companies across the entire space are maturing, and reports from 2021 indicated healthy levels of investment—with B2B fintechs collectively securing over $910 million in capital.
But meteoric growth like this also spells change on the horizon. Changes that any business in this fast-paced area should be prepared for.
If B2B fintechs want to maintain their foothold amid increasing competition, there is one area that urgently requires their focus: client-centricity.
Client-centricity is vital to B2B fintechs future-proofing their brand, and guaranteeing continuous success for years to come.
Read on to understand why this is the case, and how B2B fintechs can adopt a truly client-first approach.
The state of play for fintech
In the world of fintech, it’s not just the competition that’s evolving. The demands of the end client are evolving too.
There are three main reasons for this:-
- Growing pressure to keep up with standards set by B2C
- Dominance of the “as-a-service” model
- Customer experience becoming a key business driver
B2C vs B2B: changing expectations
2020 gave the general public no choice but to rapidly improve their digital literacy.
This raised the bar for digital product experiences everywhere, but particularly in finance and banking—as people needed simple and secure access to their funds at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This led to the rapid proliferation of consumer fintech apps, which has since put pressure on the B2B sector to catch up.
Today, data shows that more and more clients across the B2B sector want seamless, engaging and relevant digital experiences from fintech providers.
Experiences on a par with those of the consumer space.
In a poll recently conducted by Fraedom, 95% of commercial banking clients said they expect the same aggregated account view and real-time transaction data from their B2B provider as they get from their personal apps.
In short: if B2B fintechs want to remain competitive, they have to invest in creating better digital experiences—that goes for everything from dashboards, to apps, to client portals.
The impact of the SaaS model
Another factor driving the need for greater client-centricity is the growth of the Software-as-a-Service model (more commonly known as SaaS).
In the space of a few years, this has rapidly achieved dominance across all tech-driven markets. And of course, fintech is no exception.
Broadly speaking, SaaS models enable end customers to lease both software and key parts of their vendor’s infrastructure in exchange for a flat monthly subscription fee.
The huge popularity of this has seen much of the power in B2B purchase transactions shifting from the vendor to the customer—who now face an ever-growing choice of providers, and significantly lower costs of switching.
If fintechs wish to weather this change, they must focus more resources into strengthening and deepening client relationships, and prioritizing loyalty.
CX and the power of social media
For many years, customer experience (or CX) was simply seen as a “nice-to-have”.
A marketing buzzword that didn’t bear much significance when it came to building a business.
But in recent years, CX has fast become a deciding factor in business survival—particularly for markets as competitive as B2B fintech.
Much like the way SaaS models have passed more power on to the customer, brand perception rests far more in the hands of clients than ever before.
This is thanks to the breadth of modern digital communications, and the ease with which we can push our opinions out to the masses.
And in the financial markets, relationships and a strong brand reputation are two of the most powerful tools to help you stand above the crowd.
While consumer fintech businesses are rated, reviewed and held to account on the likes of Twitter and Reddit, more equivalent channels are emerging for B2Bs.
LinkedIn, Trustpilot, Google, and countless other websites give B2B clients a platform to voice their opinions about products and services.
All of the above combined means that, now more than ever, it really pays to go the extra mile with your clients.
So, what’s next for B2B fintechs?
Now you know what challenges lay ahead, the question is: what can you do about it?
How can you turn this knowledge into action?
We thought you might want to know that. So here are three different ways you can get started, and evolve your business processes to be more client-centric…
To keep up with B2C: actively encourage feedback
We get it—client feedback can be scary.
But here’s the hard truth: without it, your service will never reach its full potential.
When it comes to digital experiences, nothing is more effective than putting something out there, and seeing how people find it.
So encourage feedback at every possible opportunity. Incentivize it even.
Especially for the digital or product-driven components of your service—the bits that involve an app, or a customer portal, or a data report, or a chatbot.
Keep what works. Improve what doesn’t. Then rinse and repeat.
This is how you keep up with B2C standards.
Be a consultant, not a salesperson
If you want recurring clients for the long haul, you need to earn their loyalty. If you want their loyalty, you need to earn their trust.
Loyalty and trust are the core tenets of a strong, mutually beneficial vendor-client relationship.
The way to earn these things is to act as a consultant to your client, not a salesperson.
Your focus shouldn’t be on closing a deal, but on actively supporting the success of your clients.
That means supporting them long after a transaction has completed. And in some cases, even before a transaction has begun—perhaps by offering some quick but insightful guidance on that first discovery call.
The time you put in will quickly come back to you in the form of higher client retention and referrals.
Always act with your clients’ best interests at heart, and you’ll build a depth of relationship that won’t easily be found elsewhere.
Use social to the fullest
A truly client-centric approach stretches well beyond your day-to-day interactions with clients.
It starts with the first impression you make on your prospects, and it ends…well, if you get it right, it doesn’t have to end at all.
The point here is to be mindful of how you interact with people at every conceivable point in their customer journey.
This means using social media to its fullest.
Much like client feedback, you should use social media to gather data from your ideal client and gain a really deep understanding of them.
Find out how they feel about your brand and your services—take their comments on board so you can get better with each interaction.
Start conversations with everyone from prospects, to new customers, to those you’ve worked with for years.
It’s all time that is well-invested in your brand perception. Which as mentioned, is a key differentiator for any financial markets business.
Why B2B fintechs must become more client-centric: key takeaways
For B2B fintechs, client-centricity is the key to not just survival, but long-term growth and success.
Here are the reasons why, and what you can do about it:-
- It’s not just competition that’s evolving for B2B fintechs, the demands of the client are evolving too.
- This is being driven by pressure from the B2C market, the dominance of the SaaS business model, and the growing power of CX.
- Invest in digital experiences and encourage client feedback to gather data. Keep what works. Improve what doesn’t. And repeat.
- Actively support the success of your clients and act with their best interests at heart. This is how you earn trust and loyalty.
- Use social media to delight your clients at every possible touchpoint with you, start conversations, and most importantly, listen.