Overcoming Indifferent B2B Clients

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Overcoming Indifferent B2B Clients

August BlogA recent Gallup poll estimates that approximately 71% of Business to Business (B2B) customers are indifferent or completely disengaged from their service providers. Among the 20% who experienced a problem with their product or provider, only 40% felt that the issue had been successfully resolved. These numbers pose a big problem for B2Bs that are struggling to grow.

As a B2B service provider your customers are your partners in business. Their contract sustains your business and your business supports their potential to grow and ability to interact with their direct customers. This means that their clients are your indirect clients. If your service causes your direct client to miss sales and experience revenue loss, your business will likely be replaced.

Even long-time clients have the potential to take their business elsewhere, particularly if the individual who initially contracted your organization is no longer a decision maker. As your clients’ companies grown and new managers are put into place you must work to develop relationships at each transition. Clients who are disengaged from who you are and why your business was selected are more likely to do business with another organization they feel connected to. Financial advisors will tell you that 80% of their business is lost upon the death of the primary account holder. Advisors spend as much time seeking new accounts as they do courting the beneficiaries of existing accounts. A similar phenomenon happens with B2B. Although the account has been with your company for 20 years, when a new manager is put into place it is highly likely that your business will also be replaced.

For indifferent customers, factors in who they do business with are things such as price, product availability, location of supplier, size of supplying organization, quality, etc. By working from a list of needs rather than a list of supplier relationships, B2B customers are likely to jump ship when a better price, product, or local supplier becomes available. To combat this behavior, AYSC offers the following recommendations:

Maintain a Distinct Brand Promise

This can be a difficult piece to implement as customers and agents have different views on what a brand’s promise should entail. Ultimately, your brand’s promise should align with your customer’s needs. This is not to suggest that you change your promise to suit the needs of your customers. Rather, your business should ensure that what it is promising is valuable to the market you have identified as your customer base.

To move from “vendor” to “partner” in the eyes of your customer, your products and services must be useful, valuable, and strategic. Your company must provide more than your customer can provide for themselves. Take time to learn about your customer’s business. Identify their needs and business owners. Bring your clients new and innovative ideas on how they can utilize your services to enhance their deliverables. Doing so will build trust and increase impact between you and your clients.

Effective Communication

What does your last marketing report say about how, where, and when you have the greatest response from your clients? Even if industry standard is to send out a newsletter, if you are receiving higher engagement levels through Social Media use that as a platform for sharing news and ideas. Are email opens higher when you offer a report or free download versus survey requests? All businesses desire greater customer engagement, but as a B2B service provider it is important to remember that your clients have their own businesses to run. Your communications with them should be timely and time valuable.

Consistent Delivery

In order to move from indifferent to engaged, your B2B company must be consistent in its delivery of service. Your brand must be identifiable from purchase to production. The delivery system, methods, timeframe, and associated cost must be maintained across platforms and customers. By developing reliable internal systems and processes your clients will receive the same service each and every time. Empower your team to work consistently at upholding the company image as a best effort to providing consistent client service during every contact.

For further insight on this topic check out Gallup’s Analytics for B2B Leaders.

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