B2B, or business-to-business, relationships are likely one of the cornerstones of your business model. They are also a unique breed of client. We’ve seen pretty aggressive B2B growth particularly in the eCommerce space during the last year. This market is expected to hit $1 trillion in sales by 2020 (which is a lot closer than you might think). If you don’t know how your business customers are different than consumer customers, chances are you are speaking or selling to them in ways that simply don’t work. Here are a few ways you can improve your relationship with your B2B clients.
Show Your Value
For businesses working with other businesses, the relationship is all about meeting the customer’s needs. In order to do that, you need to really understand your customer and how their needs are changing over time and through different stages of business. If they are in a growth phase, respond to that and show your clients how your product or service can help them scale up. If they are struggling, prove to them you can help them get back on track. Knowing what they need and then talking about how you add value to the relationship will attract their attention and earn their loyalty.
Nurture the Relationship
Once that first purchase has taken place, maintain the momentum and do everything in your power to extend the relationship. Businesses make excellent long-term clients, so long as you are continuing to meet their needs and prove your value. And it is not enough to provide a service once and expect the customer to come back for more. You need to continue to nurture the relationship, advance along with the client, and communicate how their changing priorities are reflected in your services. Provide additional resources and helpful content that adds value to your relationship. Show them you are fully invested in their success and their support of your product, and they will stay with you through good times and bad.
Focus on Customization and Personalization
Business is a fast-moving market, and companies need to know their consultants and suppliers are keeping pace with their reality. By focusing on customization and personalization of your B2B services, you are not only attracting new clients, you are retaining loyal clients. By showing you know their situation, have invested in the relationship, and are willing to continually meet their needs, companies will come to depend on your services in a deep and meaningful way. That’s what the lifetime relationship is all about.
Similar to a marriage, it’s all about compromise and communication. Really take the time to get to know your B2B clients. Learn what their pet peeves are. Do what you can to help them accomplish their goals and be the support they need in tough times. Leveraging a lifetime customer relationship is so much more rewarding as it is what long-term business success is built on.
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