Any B2B organization should consider themselves an extension of their client’s marketing team. Great partners aren’t just involved in the growth and performance of the channels they are managing. They’re truly invested in the overall business and have close relationships with the individuals on the client’s team.
However, building great B2B partnerships can be tough. A recent Gallup study found only 29% of B2B customers feel engaged, with the remaining 71% feel either indifferent or actively disengaged.
If you’re a B2B business, this should be concerning. When your client is disengaged or otherwise unsatisfied with your services, the chances of them leaving are high.
Wondering how you can increase your client relationships and retain B2B clients? Besides making sure they feel engaged and invested in your work, we’ve identified two effective ways your B2B business can build its retention muscles.
Find your sweet spot
From the minute your B2B organization identifies a prospect, your sales team should have a good idea of how long they will be a client.
“Drive-by” buyers who are price shopping, looking for fancy bells and whistles you don’t offer, and have no connection to your organization should be considered immediate red flags.
These prospects likely won’t stay clients for long. Short-term partners can drain internal resources, negatively impact your perceived brand value, and take away time from your more valuable clients.
Your B2B company should always try to cut through the noise of the drive-by buyer and identify your partner sweet spot. When you have a better idea of what kind of business is more likely to stay an engaged, happy client for longer, you’ll do a better job with client retention.
Of course, identifying that sweet spot starts with a lot of questions. Knowing who you should partner with is a constant process—but it’s worth it.
The value of creating a bullseye for your business is not only productive in initial marketing and sales efforts, but you will also be rewarded with a happier, healthier and longer-lasting client base.
Once you start working with a new client, your B2B organization should focus on building trust. Through my years of experience in the B2B industry, I’ve heard clients say time and time again that they value trustworthy relationships.
Everyone agrees that trust is important. The hard part is identifying what building trust looks like within the context of your business and how to establish a clear process for excelling at it within each client relationship.
This will differ for each business. Still, there are some universal strategies you should use to strengthen your client relationship.
At your next client meeting, have your team implement a few trust-building tactics like:
- Asking about recent events outside the confines of the workplace. Chatting about weekend plans, vacations, and sports shouldn’t just be a formality. This really does build a personal rapport and allows you to get to know the client better.
- Requesting feedback on any items—including emails, reports, and newsletters—that the clients received since the last meeting. Showing that you’re open and interested in their feedback opens the door to transparent communication.
- Sharing news about your organization’s recent activities like volunteering, networking events, or even team social gatherings. This helps the client learn more about your business and become more invested in your work.
Of course, this isn’t an ultimate guide to keeping clients. The client retention equation is complex. Performance, fees, and even external factors that you don’t have direct control over will impact any B2B client relationship.
Still, making sure you work with clients that are the right fit and focusing on establishing trust is vital. If clients feel disconnected to your business—no matter how well everything else is going—the relationship is likely to suffer.