3 Ways to Build Stronger B-to-B Customer Relationships
If you can compare customer relationships to romantic ones, you could say that B-to-C customer relationships are like a first date, whereas B-to-B is more of a long-term committed courtship. When you're trying to appeal to a B-to-C consumer, the point is to make your brand and product as attractive as possible, capture their interest, have a great experience, and then maybe meet up again down the road. For B-to-B, on the other hand, you essentially have to “woo” your customer, gain their trust, and keep feeding the relationship as time goes on.
As a B-to-B company, the goal is to build meaningful relationships to keep clients around long term. Keep in mind, a loyal customer is worth 67 percent more than a new one.
Ready to start building and maintaining strong relationships with your clients to increase conversions and boost returns? Here are three easy ways to get started.
1. Understand their position in the sales journey.
Seventy-four percent of B-to-B buyers conduct their own research online before they decide to buy. So how frustrating would it be for a customer to hear all of the information they already know when they meet with a sales representative?
Statistics show that by the time a B-to-B customer reaches out to a company, they're already about two-thirds of the way through the sales journey (pictured below).
Be sure your website has the content that a client may look for as they conduct research. This can include detailed product descriptions, case studies, etc. Train your sales staff to communicate for any point in the buyer’s journey. An integrated CRM system that records each interaction (e.g., email correspondence or sign-ups) can be helpful for a sales team to pinpoint what the client may be looking for.
2. Offer highly intuitive online checkout options.
Ultimately, all online shoppers want the same things: an exceptional customer experience (CX) for a smooth buying process. As 93 percent of B-to-B decision makers prefer to make purchases online, your online checkout process must be highly intuitive for a positive CX.
B-to-B e-commerce platforms that have data analytics included make it far easier to build a smarter checkout. Partnering with a hosting service that includes integrations for personalization can make this task far more attainable. Furthermore, offering different options for the checkout process, such as payment plans or customized packages, can make things easier for the buyer.
3. Wisely incorporate B-to-C personalization into B-to-B content.
In the B-to-C realm, personalization is becoming increasingly important to CX.
While B-to-B personalization is certainly a little different than B-to-C, it's still very important. According to Everage’s survey, B-to-B businesses are actually more likely to personalize their website and email campaigns for customers.
However, including some B-to-C-type personalization tactics, like targeted recommendations, can do a lot for B-to-B buyers. By customizing website landing pages to include ultra-relevant content for visitors, up to 92 percent of customers will be more likely to make a purchase, per Kibo’s Consumer Trend report.
To support a successful personalization strategy, you must invest in a strong data analytics tool (like one that includes machine learning or artificial intelligence) for accurate customization that's relevant to your buyers.
Relationships take work, no matter if they're personal or professional. By putting more effort into your sales and marketing strategies with highly insightful content and multiple sales options, your B-to-B organization can offer its customers the type of experience that will result in long-term happiness and profitability.
Related story: Why 2018 is the Year to Amplify B-to-B E-Commerce Sales
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Co-Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.