For a retail outfit, or a business that offers a product or service directly to the consumer, marketing comes with a very clear aim in mind. The brand’s goal is to get their product or service in the eye line of the consumer, and then to convince them that they need it in their lives.
This same principle has rung true since the dawn of modern marketing, early in the 20th century. When a business offers a product or service that is tailored towards other businesses however, it is a different matter entirely.
While an individual consumer may have a clear view in mind of what they want and how much they want to pay for it, a business is much more regimented in their spending and may be ordering with a view to make repeat purchases. For this reason, businesses engaging in B2B sales must make additional effort to communicate the quality of their product and to incentivise the purchaser to order again — if not, the purchaser can easily move to a competitor.
Communication is key
According to this article from Forbes, the success of a B2B company hinges largely on strong client relationships. Every client believes that their business is more important than anyone else’s, and to them it is. There is no reason why you can’t have a dialogue with clients with this principle in mind, as long as you can deliver on whatever it is they want from you.
Ideally, you will have a member of staff whose role it is to do just this — communicate regularly with clients. A client relationship manager may seem like a bit of a vanity project if you are a small business, but you will be grateful for the extra time to focus on your own role without the distraction of client queries. Client retention is hugely important, and ensuring this is a full-time job in itself. Another great idea, as suggested by this article from Client Heartbeart, is to add your client on LinkedIn and let them into your world a little bit more. This is a personal touch that will allow them to explore your business a little further by getting a grasp of who you are and who you deal with — just make sure you have nothing to hide!
Individual consumers may be incentivised by free gifts, engaging marketing, or brand prestige. When it comes to business customers, however, the biggest incentive is cash. That’s ultimately what it always comes down to. If a business can find a similar product or service cheaper elsewhere, they won’t hesitate to purchase from them instead. This is why you must always be sure that your rates are competitive.
A great way to retain a B2B customer is to offer periodic discounts. Have your client relationship manager communicate to the client that their loyalty will be rewarded with price breaks in the future. Perhaps offer a new discount annually on the anniversary of their sign-up date. If the client knows they have a price break coming up, they will be less likely to move on. Even though a discount will obviously mean a lower profit margin, the retained customer is worth more to you than a one-off purchase from a new customer.
A bit of good old fashioned PR certainly won’t harm your chances of customer retention, particularly if you are being celebrated by the quality of your product or service. Be aware of the available awards in your sector, and don’t be too humble to nominate yourself — everybody does it!
You would also benefit from making note of your most impressive achievements as a business and celebrating them. Glass and solar experts Romag takes great pride in the ambitious projects they have helped to complete, and has dedicated a section of their website to showcasing these. Letting your clientele know about these achievements will legitimise and elevate your brand to the point where your business customer won’t be able to imagine a future without you.
While a lot of it comes down to cold, hard cash, there are many ways you can increase the chances of client retention — listening to your customer and dealing with their queries is the very least you can do to make this happen.
Something you do to help your business grow is keep B2B marketing data lists, this will surely retain a good client base for you and your company