Doesn’t matter how much you deny, we are living in the era of the customer. Whether it is about the marketing strategies that are becoming more ‘customer centered’ or discussing how to improve ‘customer experience’, ‘customer retention’ or ‘customer loyalty’, the word ‘customer’ is going to follow you everywhere, irrespective of the business niche you belong to. And it isn’t just the talking. Let us have a look at the stats: according to a recent survey, it was the customer retention that held the priority over revenue growth as the #1 strategic focus point in the year 2017.
You might think that yeah, customer retention is important for any store, be it online or physical. In other words, your focus is on the retail market or B2C. Well, it is definitely important as it is the returning customers who are responsible for one third of the money that is spent on the online purchases. Moreover, the returning customers spend at least thrice as compared to the first time visitors. And acquiring a new customer is definitely expensive and time consuming.
Well, it isn’t only in B2C; when it comes to the customer loyalty in B2B, it is something that is giving B2B traders, sleepless nights for ages. Just like in B2C, retaining the old clients cost most of the businesses five times less as compared to the expenses that they have to incur to get the new clients. And that is why, emphasis is always given on client retention, rather than client acquisition. Moreover, client retention has another understated benefit of referrals which is always beneficial for the business. According to The New York Times, most of the companies state that 65 per cent of the business is generated through referrals.
Despite all the above mentioned facts and figures, the marketing strategies of numerous B2B companies revolve around client acquisition and lead generation. Another fun fact: many companies don’t even have a set client retention policy in the first place. Formulating such policies can be a tedious task, but all you need is clarity regarding the different approaches that you can use to enhance B2B customer retention and loyalty and it won’t be too hard. To help you with this, we have accumulated a few strategies to help with client retention in the B2B market.
Use Extraordinary Account Management as Launch Pad
Before understanding the strategies for client retention, it is better to understand the root of customer loyalty. And the whole concept of customer loyalty boiled down to exceptional and extraordinary account management. Over the top account management becomes crucial when you are the player of a saturated market and the competitors you are competing against know what they are doing. Here becoming the best in keeping your customers happy is the factor that is going to make you stand apart from the rest of the crowd. There are certain companies where the best product of a specific niche isn’t the best performing product at all the fronts. Then, these are the products that are most customer centric and are the ones that were the earliest to solve the problems of the customers even before going gaga in their promotions.
Events, with Focus on Training and Education
Nothing can beat the various in-person events when it comes to celebrate and promote brand loyalty, launch the new innovative products and services, display the various case studies and the success stories featuring the clients and ask for the reviews and feedbacks. Such events are a perfect opportunity for the companies to interact with the clients and gather as much information as possible that would help them to give their clients more personalized service in the coming time.
Highly Personalized Service with A Separate Account Manager
Though this seems highly expensive and hard to achieve, this one approach can easily ensure that your best customers remain with you. This one tactic should be reserved for the clients that add the most to your revenue or the ones through which you get most of the leads. Providing personalized services at the micro level is the key to success with such clients. And for this, there is a new approach known as account based marketing or ABM/. According to technologyadvice.com,“Account-based marketing (ABM) is about focusing your campaigns on specific prospects that you single out ahead of time. It’s becoming a more prevalent tactic as marketers align their efforts with revenue, and especially recurring revenue (i.e., contracts). Since ABM requires narrow focus and a unique approach for each account, it’s a great example of personalized B2B marketing.” When you provide your clients with such kind of bespoke services, you not only delight them, but also give your business relationship a new dimension.
Customer segmentation is one of those least expensive approaches to keep the customers happy by providing them the recognition that they are actually looking for. Keeping in mind that the business is business and no two customers are same, this recognition varies from customer to customer. That is why it becomes crucial to divide the customers post sales according to their worth to the company and the kind of business contract they have with you. In this approach, the most important factors are the qualifying criteria that you are using for segmentation. This would help you to decide on the rewards according to the clients and you don’t have to spend the same on all the clients.
Display the Success Stories of Your Clients
It is always beneficial for any company when you can hit two birds with a single stone and down the recognition path of your clients, one of the best ways of doing so is through the case studies. In other words, the case studies of your company are the success stories of your clients. Ask any market expert and they would tell you the case studies are the most effective ways of giving your clients the desired recognition and to promote your business as well. Praise and appreciation are something that is a great way of getting into the good books of your clients, only if the compliments are thoroughly justified. Companies can showcase these case studies in their business brochures and on the company website as well.
Exclusive access to high-end corporate gifts, latest launched products, promos, exceptional services and various benefits are some of the ways by which you can always earn brownie points from your clients. This approach is definitely the best tactic for the companies that have customers who are more into exclusivity.
Constant Education of the Clients through Updated Information
Do you know that enhancing the knowledge of your customers about your products can benefit you? When the clients have more information about your product, they can vouch for your company in a better way. This approach is one of the important parts of the account management approach that is explained in the above mentioned points. Most of the times, the content generation focuses on lead generation rather than client retention and one of the amazing ways of client retention is often overlooked.
Rewards and Points
Just like the discounts, rewards are also straightforward. Moreover, this one approach works for those companies that have a definite control over their business niche and the way their retention plans are formulated, they are turning their clients into evangelists. Most of these rewards are in the form of promotional products, company sponsored tours, various add-ons and free services.
Other than these, you always can go an extra mile and think out of the box about the strategies that would help you to retain your clients for longer periods. Always keep in mind that one client retained is equal to ten clients acquired.