When a product is sold for reuse, the buyers expect utility and flexibility to such great standards that retaining such buyers becomes pivotal for survival and is a safe haven when compared to the arduous process of acquiring them.
The B2B sales team needs to be armoured with powerful negotiating and hospitality skills, to maximise the performance of customer LTV. Long-term business relationships are formed only when a constant process of customer engagement is in place. Such strategies need to be within the reach of the marketing budget as well.
Training and development of B2B sales force must be on-going
The problem with the sales force of the B2B sector is that they become acquisition-obsessed and do not take cognisance of the power of retention and retention-based strategies. They must trained regularly, especially with regards to:
- Engage customers effectively. Using a frequent communications calendar, customers need to be reminded of free services, free webinars on usage or any other offers extended by the business.
- Identify the customer defection syndrome and take immediate measures to curb the same. Customers who tend to deflect must be properly identified and instant measures to assuage their drift in loyalty must be taken by the sales team.
- The team must be adept in providing excellent on-boarding for the customers and work with the key stakeholders in customizing the product seamlessly and be proactive when it comes to troubleshooting.
Harness your data for meaningful analytics leading to strategy formulation
According to Pathwwway Panama, the B2B sector is yet to bank on the richness of vast amounts of data that is generated as a result of everyday sales transactions. These data represent a minimal cost strategy towards retention marketing. Data must be aggregated and synthesized scientifically so that those passive numbers can be crunched to measure:
- Customer satisfaction, which is very important in B2B sector, as it is, in B2C. The customer must be convinced that the product will generate consistent revenues on resale.
- Leverage customer advocacy. By gathering data on frequency of purchases, reward your loyal customers by engaging them in advocacy.
- Adopt customer profiling and understand peak-time demands when customers are most receptive to your marketing campaigns. Deploy online analytical tools that throw light on purchase patterns and usage patterns.
- Identify the areas or features in your products and services and find out how they have appealed to the users. Building on positives and ironing out negatives will result in shaping up your offerings for repurchase.
Document and act on customer feedback
If customer feedback is an asset, critical feedback is more so. Whenever a customer shares a concern or an issue, the feedback must be received in good sense and acted upon at the earliest, so that the customer believes intently that your business traverses all extra lengths to pursue a healthy relationship.
- As you resolve negative feedback, your B2B sales team is mastering the art of relationship selling, the key determinant of customer retention.
- Well documented feedback is a databank that can track customer acceptance of your brand and can be the foundation for your future upselling campaigns.
Customer service is the key to customer retention
There is no substitute to efficient customer service. Surpass customer expectations by getting in touch with them before the need arises. Nothing can achieve customer retention like the human edge. Incentivize your customer relationship team and fix KPIs around customer query resolution.
- Some opportunities for the customer service team to interact and keep customers in good relationship include, thank-you calls, on-boarding assistance, post sales calls, query resolution and service reminder calls.
- This is a strategy that costs less than other expensive promotional methods and yet is very impactful in earning customer praise and retention.
- Man your help desks with professional knowledge, so that when the irritated customer calls, he is immediately put at ease by assuring he is in expert hands.
Loyalty programs sell well in B2B too
Loyalty drives and membership rewards are not B2C exclusives. The B2B sector has replicated the model successfully by getting in place:
- An on-going rewards and recognition program that bring businesses together and make them see sense in future relationships.
- Providing price subsidies on spare-parts, add-ons, services and placing customers on privileged membership, offering them introductory rates to new products before they hit open market etc are all variants of loyalty marketing plans.
Content marketing; Keep your B2B clients well-informed
One of the most economic yet influential new client retention strategies is content marketing. Publish high-quality and unique content in the form of articles, blogs and newsletters, that will be instrumental in keeping clients connected and informed.
- The blogs can be about research and development measures undertaken, involvement of the business in ecosystem preservation, market statistics and critical comparison and evaluation of leading products.
- Writing blogs, publishing newsletters with the sole intention of building knowledge and favourable product perception in the minds of customers. Well-informed customers will come devoted to the product line and will think twice before switching brands.
Create customer-focussed selling campaigns
Your B2B sales team must be geared to place customers in the centre-page when it conceptualizes selling campaigns. The campaigns must accord special privilege to the returning customer.
- Loyal customers are a storehouse of information. They need to analysed for purchase frequency, preferred product and sales volume. Accordingly personalized sales strategies must be developed.
- Targeted remarketing efforts, place loyal customers in the forefront and provide ample opportunities to re-engage with them, ruling out the possibility of active customers becoming dormant.
B2B sales teams are entrusted with the task of keeping its customers in regular engagement. New client retention strategies must include conscious and persistent efforts to keep them coming back and prefer your brand over others, even in a competitive market.