4 Effective B2B Digital Relationship Building Strategies
B2C and e-commerce businesses have taken to digital marketing like ducks to water and many have reaped the rewards of this approach during the pandemic. Even with the high streets shuttered up, retailers have continued to build and sustain strong relationships with their customer base. But what about B2B businesses? Do the same rules apply?
Perhaps surprisingly, yes, they do. B2B businesses can all benefit by using targeted digital strategies to form solid relationships with prospects and existing customers alike. It’s simply that the messages and approaches you use need to be different from those found in the B2C arena. B2B buyers are making purchase decisions on behalf of a company, rather than for themselves individually. The process, therefore, has to be far more involved, logical, educational, and reason driven than B2C marketing.
Here are four effective digital communication strategies to help you build stronger relationships and greater engagement with your customers.
1) Focus on ROI and productivity/efficiency benefits
Your business customers are looking for a product or service that makes them more productive, more efficient, and/or more profitable, so bring all your marketing messages around to return on investment, value for money, reliability, and expertise. B2B buyers are more value-motivated than money-motivated, so talk about how your products and services help your customers achieve their goals first, and not so much about prices and discounts.
2) Be aware of B2B purchase motivations
Business buyers don’t personally want to buy your products or services – they are not motivated by individual desire or emotion and would rather not spend at all. Rather, they are seeking out a particular solution for financial or practical reasons. Recognise this motivation by presenting a logical and well-reasoned case for how and why your particular product or service is the solution that meets this need.
3) Don’t talk down to customers
B2C marketing material is often criticised for being light on content, but this is because individual consumers don’t always require a hugely detailed case to make a purchase (excluding some high-value items). This approach doesn’t work with B2B buyers because your company contact’s professional reputation hinges on making a good decision on behalf of their employer. You have to be prepared to provide a higher level of technical detail with B2B and be transparent and educational in the content you publish.
4) Work in partnership with your prospects and customers
B2B sales is a collaborative, group decision. There are often multiple decision makers in a company to consider, and most B2B buyers like to work with an authoritative salesperson or account manager to guide them through the sales process. Your buyers may need to consult line managers, directors, and other stakeholders before deciding, so don’t make the mistake of pushing sales too aggressively. Additionally, don’t expect B2B buyers to take the initiative or want to make direct purchases (again, very unlike B2C marketing and sales, in which almost all purchases are made directly). This can mean that B2B sales cycles take significantly longer than B2C and require multiple levels of marketing content and communications in order to secure a purchase – not just ‘one shot’.
5) Commit to a relationship
Whereas most B2C purchases are made individually ‘in the moment’, even in the case of repeat customers, most B2B buyers are looking for long-term solutions and won’t want to change suppliers very often. Make it explicit in your marketing material that you’re looking for long-term partnerships with customers and explain how you work with them to generate better long-term value.
Digital marketing – a powerful relationship building tool for B2B businesses
Businesses are built on face-to-face relationships, and there is no substitute for the trust and rapport that comes from genuinely getting to know your prospects and customers. Digital marketing doesn’t mean stepping away from this relationship-focused approach to sales. Quite the opposite in fact. Adopting digital B2B relationship building strategies enables you to sustain stronger relationships with your prospects, as you are no longer bound to a handful of face-to-face meetings. Using digital platforms, you can now have more touch points with your prospects and be more responsive in your relationship, while simultaneously using less time and resources. To find out more about the best B2B communication strategies to use in digital marketing, please give one of our marketing team a call today or send us a message through our website.
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