As the impacts of coronavirus continue to place a damper on global spending, businesses are left wondering how they are going to keep their customers. At the risk of sounding insensitive to the more pressing issues at hand, the job of the B2B marketer has become exponentially more difficult. When growing your business and acquiring new accounts seems like an impossible feat, focusing your strategies around customer relationship marketing is the next best step.
Today we’ll be looking at Peter Isaacson’s “7 Tips to Prepare B2B Marketers for the New Reality,” and the benefits of customer relationship marketing as it relates to better customer loyalty in the altered B2B landscape.
Consulting Your Customers
You can’t spell “pandemic” without the word “panic” (but really, it’s true!). Fear in unprecedented times is high, and the businesses who solidify themselves as a source of knowledge and practical solutions will have channel partners naturally gravitating toward their messages. This customer relationship marketing strategy is exactly what it sounds like: focusing on the immediate needs of the customer, which most likely does not include your product.
But what is a marketer to do if they aren’t selling the product?
Peter Isaacson refers to it as “more guiding, less selling,” and goes on to explain the benefits of approaching communication with this customer relationship marketing strategy in mind:
“Taking a consultative approach, in which you are legitimately offering advice and guidance, along with concrete tips on how to adapt to these extraordinary times, goes a long way. Maybe this will lead to a meeting to discuss how your products or services can help. Or maybe it just positions you as a thoughtful leader during difficult times.”
The foundation of customer loyalty is an emotional connection that keeps your customers choosing your brand over your competition. People remember who help them the most in times of hardship, and while your B2B partner might not be in the position to buy your product now, the services you provide will help them think of you when times are better.
Digitally Connect with your Customers
B2B marketers are well aware of the coronavirus restrictions on their go-to, in-person conference and event opportunities. Luckily, like you, your customers have all moved online as well. Isaacson provides a variety of ways for marketers to implement customer relationship marketing digitally, citing “website personalization” as a way to make “every engagement on [your] site as relevant and meaningful as possible.”
If your business is working to build an online presence, the best way to attract your customers is through a customer loyalty program. Here at Incentive Solutions, we provide all your incentive software needs, including designing a website that channel partners will want to visit in order to track and claim rewards. Omnichannel communication capabilities lets you connect with your partners on their terms, and deliver messages of specialized promotions to drive sales behavior. And for the partners who are struggling to buy or sell at this time? Boost morale and provide engaging education opportunities around your product to plant seeds for sales growth once normal business activity can resume.
Customer Relationship Marketing After the Pandemic
Fostering your established customer relationships is going to be the best strategy for maintaining business growth in this time of uncertainty. Investing in a customer loyalty program is a great way to bring that customer relationship marketing strategy to life. Serving as a one-stop site for digital engagement and sales tracking, your loyalty program helps your brand stay top of mind during downtimes, and ensures you are the go-to brand during the good times. With the right loyalty program provider, you can begin to access these innovative, long-term solutions that will continue to increase your profitability and customer loyalty in the future.
Customer Relationships = Customer Retention
If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a connection between customer retention and profitability, wonder no more. Research shows a direct correlation between customer retention rates and profits. According to five to 25 more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones loyal. The best way to increase your customer retention rate is by developing great customer relationships. Here are three areas where you can improve customer relationships:
- Communication – Have you ever had a relationship with someone that you’ve never seen or heard from? Neither have I. If you want to remain top of mind with your customers, you must reach out to them to let them know you care. This communication will foster a relationship that is invaluable to retaining their business. Most often people buy from who they know, and when they know you because you communicate with them, they buy from you more.
- Social Media – Social media is not going away and is used by a large majority of the population. If you want to engage in relevant communication with your partners and customers, use social media to promote your products and services, or to give a shout-out and promote your clients. It even allows your clients to engage with each other. To top it all off, aside from the investment of time, it’s completely free! Also, don’t be worried about negative press. Social media allows you to find solutions in front of all, spinning the negative into a positive and creating loyalty and free PR.
- Promotions – The promotions you advertise must be relevant to your customers, and also to where they found said promotion. You wouldn’t run a promotion that gives discounts for sharing a post through PPC, so make sure that where you post a promotion makes sense with the promotion itself.
The Gartner Group statistics say 80% of your future revenue will come from 20% of your current customers. That makes the promotions and communications to your customers very effective and necessary ways of keeping them actively engaged with your brand.
With over 30 years of customer loyalty experience, Incentive Solutions is here to help you take your customer relationship marketing strategy to the next level. We are happy to provide free consultations, so why not see how you can continue to grow your business in this new reality?