How to Build the Best B2B Customer Relationships
Customer relationship management is key if you want your business to grow and thrive, as it forges strong customer bonds and loyalty. Building relationships with your customers is the best way to find out what they need, gain repeat purchases, as well as get valuable referrals. B2B purchases are definitely more researched and less emotionally charged than other purchases, therefore getting your customer relationship management on point can be a game changer for your business.
Think about what you want to say and how you’ll say it!
Communication is key in any relationship, however in B2B sales you have to make sure you use the right tone, medium, and show your expertise in the best way possible. You have to ensure the communication isn’t one sided, so don’t focus only on promotion but also on listening. You should aim to have conversations with your customers, to find out what their needs are and then offer the solution. A good communication strategy can be the push your company needs to get an improved bottom line.
Try to personalise your communications wherever possible. Think of it like going clothes shopping. Would you rather have the sales person present you items you actually asked for or the same clothing they showed to five other people that came before you? Don’t be a sales rep who doesn’t listen and just pushes their product. A good approach to take is to become an advisor to your customers. Send newsletters and other forms of email, and make sure you engage on your customers’ social media platforms.
Provide More Than Expected
Surprise your customers by exceeding their expectations!
Don’t just focus on your product - make sure your customer service is at its highest potential as well. When you deliver your promise or exceed it, delighted customers are bound to come back, which is extremely important in a B2B setting. This is because with most B2B transactions, profit doesn’t come from one-time purchases through many customers. Instead, it comes from a smaller number of clients that keep coming back.
A key to providing exceptional service is to make sure you do your background research on the customer and personalise your offer as much as possible. It’s also best to prioritise value over price. It’s probable that companies working with you will appreciate the extra service or quality added. Customers want an experience not just a transaction.
Develop a positive word-of-mouth!
Invite customer feedback and don’t worry if it won’t always be positive. Showing that you care, and that you are listening, is more important than always getting excellent feedback. You can also offer the option of anonymous feedback, to better understand your customers’ issues and adjust your products accordingly. When it comes to your website though, working in the B2B market means you have to make sure any feedback you post is of high quality and inviting. And if you receive a complaint, make sure to react promptly and professionally.
Keep building bonds on multiple platforms!
Make sure your customers can reach you on multiple platforms for further engagement and try to make them feel appreciated. Having your good relationships on display can attract further customers, building your business. In the B2B market it’s best to personalise your product/ service as much as possible. Keep in mind that some businesses will want to stay in touch and be often updated whilst others might not, therefore try to stay authentic and sensitive to individual needs.
Stay true to your brand!
Chances are that your potential customer has researched your company before getting in touch with you, and to a large extent likes your product offering. You have to make sure you uphold the image you put out there, if you don’t want to disappoint. Make sure your employees model your behaviour and they know how you would want the customer to be treated. Essentially, you need to ensure you are consistent with your branding on all levels of the sales funnel. Consistency puts your money where your mouth is within your organisation.
Specialise and narrow your niche, so that you can target customers who will be the best fit for your company, especially when you are a part of an affiliate program.
Quality CRM Tools
Use software programs to help you build good customer relations!
There are many CRM programs out there that can keep track of customer details, purchase history, preferences, habits and more. These systems can provide you with the tools you need to “level up” your service. With the information they provide, you can suggest further purchases that your customers may be interested in. Make sure after every interaction, they walk away fully satisfied, and take a note of any areas in which your product/service could improve.
Being upfront and honest will help you build a sustainable, long lasting relationship!
Whether you're expecting a customer to sign a long term contract with your company, or just offering a one-off transaction, you have to be transparent. This is because sooner or later, the customer will discover any inaccuracies or exaggerations given. If you try to hide key points, or any errors, the customer may feel tricked, and might not repeat their purchase or give your company negative feedback. It’s best to address any issues directly - that way you can build a trusting relationship which is mutually beneficial.
Start new relationships with other businesses!
By organising events, conferences, or parties you will be able to keep in touch with your customers and ensure your relations are growing stronger. You could even involve your customers in building up your company - as people working in business, they might have some useful advice. It could be beneficial to treat them a bit like partners, not just customers, as you would in the B2C market.
With B2B customer acquisition it’s better to focus on smaller numbers and build strong relationships. This is opposed to focusing on an aggressive growth strategy, which can under-perform.
Customer relationships are worth investing in, especially because customer retention is easier and cheaper to achieve than customer acquisition. Just like with any relationship, strong customer relationships also require work, but the payoff to your company’s bottom line is worth the investment.