Relationships are important in the business world. They’re the building blocks of your company’s success, determining whether customers will keep coming back and interacting with you, or not.
Although relationships make a significant difference to the success of all kinds of companies, they’re particularly important in the B2B landscape.
Generally, B2B purchasing cycles are longer and more complex. After all, when a person makes a purchase they regret, it’s disappointing, but when a company makes a bad purchase, the performance of the brand and the livelihood of its employees are both at stake.
Fortunately, there are ways you can improve your chances of building better B2B relationships. Here are some top tips to get you started.
1.Get to Know the Client
The first step in building a positive B2-B relationship is getting to know the other business. While you can use market research to generate a basic understanding of what a buyer in your industry might look like, the better option is to usually do extensive research into each specific customer.
When starting a conversation with a new potential client, use the company’s website, LinkedIn presence, and other social platforms to learn as much as you can. When you’re ready to reach out, you can use an email finding tool or connect via phone call to discuss options with your client.
The most important information you can gather during your research session includes:
- Challenges the company is struggling with
- Their long-term goals, or what kind of results they’re looking for
- What experiences they’ve had with other brands
Remember, you can also collect information outside of direct conversations with surveys, and forms sent directly to members of your target audience.
2. Arrange Regular Video Meetings
While emails and messages on LinkedIn can start a rapport between you and your B2B clients, it’s difficult to create a sense of trust with these tools alone. Often, we feel more likely to trust someone if we have an opportunity to speak with them face-to-face.
If you can’t connect with your B2B client in person, you can still recreate the impact of an in-person experience with technology. Video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have emerged as powerful tools for building relationships with all kinds of clients.
Companies in the B2B sector can even leverage “white label” video conferencing tools, which allow them to add their colors, branding, and logo to a video meeting, to create a more professional aesthetic. Video will allow for a more “human” interaction, where people can get more context from facial expressions and body language.
3.Use Email to Stay in Contact
If you’re wondering how to build and nurture relationships with SMBs who have already purchased something from you, or engaged with your brand, but haven’t yet converted, an email is a great tool. Although commonly used for B2C conversations, email can be just as valuable for B2-B brands.
It’s an opportunity to share useful, targeted content about your products or services to B2B customers who have yet to convert. You can even share exclusive discounts and deals with your customers later in their purchasing cycle, to convince them to re-subscribe to your service or make another purchase.
Email is also an excellent way to keep your business top-of-mind with other SMBs. With regular newsletter updates, you can keep companies up-to-date on what’s happening with your company, and even share insights into your latest products or services.
4. Make Customer Service a Priority
If you want to maintain a positive relationship with a B2B client, and ensure better chances of repeat sales, you need to be committed to excellent customer service. Just like consumers, B2-B companies expect phenomenal service and support, even when working with another small company.
Customer experience should be a top priority for any B2B brand. Following a purchase, make sure you reach out to the company and ask whether the team needs any help adopting the services or solutions you’ve provided. A dedicated onboarding strategy could even provide demonstrations on how to make the most of your product or service.
It’s also worth ensuring you have numerous ways for your customers to reach out to you if they have an issue that needs to be fixed. For instance, live chat tools are now available to implement into a range of website builders, so users can reach out to you through an instant messenger experience. You can also look into investing in a cloud-based service desk, for managing support requests.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re delivering the best possible experiences to your B2B customers, and strengthening your relationships with every interaction, is to listen to feedback. There are countless tools that can help you to gather information from your customers about how they rate your service, or what features they like most in your products.
Companies can even set up automated tools which ask other companies to rate their experience after they’re finished with a live-chat session on a website. The direct feedback you collect from your customers will give you an insight into where you might be missing out on opportunities to generate loyalty and bigger future purchases.
Managing Modern B2B Relationships
B2B relationships can be complex, but they’re worth the effort. Businesses are often cautious about the purchases they make and want to ensure they can trust any organization they do business with. Investing in strategies to nurture and maintain your B2B relationships can lead to better profits, and increased growth in the long term.
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