We know how valuable loyal customers are. They’re five times more likely to make a purchase, five times more likely to forgive mistakes and seven times easier to upsell.1
In the B2B landscape existing customers are even more vital. There are far less available customers than in the B2C marketplace, plus there’s a far higher cost associated with converting prospects to clients. Not to mention, each client offers signifigant value: a single client can serve as a steady source of revenue, and their brand advocacy carries more weight than most marketing campaigns.
Loyalty, therefore, means everything in B2B.
That’s why loyalty programs, once the domain of the B2C world, are now becoming prevalent in B2B. In a competitive market, a strong loyalty program can safeguard your clients from poaching, and maybe even help land a few new customers at the same time. If you nail the emotional significance and the material offerings of a loyalty rewards program, it can help drive sales and stop churn—here’s how.
Create a Personal Relationship with Your Client
The big advantage B2B companies have in developing a customer loyalty program over B2C is that their smaller customer base allows them to foster truly personal relationships with their clients. Because your marketers and salespeople should already have a good sense of your clients’ personalities and needs, they can customize their service accordingly.
Going the extra mile in servicing your loyal clients impacts decision-makers on a personal level. Remember, your clients are human and make emotional decisions as easily as rational ones. Make sure your service representative knows how to present your brand effectively when interacting with each particular client: if it’s a family business, your salesperson can make a point of talking about his or her own family, and how your business provides benefits that prove they respect the demands of family life. Major investments like working with a nonprofit in an area of the client’s concern can go a long way in building their respect and enthusiasm for your brand.
But even small changes have a big impact. According to researchers, something as simple as including your client’s industry in the subject line of an email results in the conversion rate multiplying by a factor of six.2 A good option is to provide simple but effective tools that make a big difference in user experience. An open enrollment form solidifies communication through preferred channels, and online shopping profiles, perhaps with digital reward credits, can offer product recommendations based on purchase history and notifications on special deals.
Look for opportunities that will help your own business as well as the client. Many B2B companies depend on their customers to evangelize their product, especially if they’re re-selling or managing sales reps that push the product or service. Offering rewards in return for participating in quizzes and surveys not only let’s you know more about what your customer thinks of your brand, it can also educate them on your product or service and how you want your brand to be perceived. Intertwining your rewards program with your onboarding program will aid in that education from the beginning.
You’ll want to track the effectiveness of your efforts, so make customer retention a KPI. Use Google Analytics to track at-risk customers, and have Google send you an alert when activity drops so you can contact them before they stop engaging.
Offer Personalized Rewards
The personal advantage of B2B holds true when offering rewards as well. Rewards should be larger than in B2C, but whatever amount you spend, they should be highly personalized to add an emotional element to the material advantage.
This means customizing for the nature of B2B transactions as well as for the individual client. A discount on bulk purchases is great for all your clients, but a discount for a certain go-to or much-needed product for a particular client can inspire devotion.
Take this to the next level by incorporating a personal bonding element in your reward. Invite your best clients on corporate trips, whether to conferences, special locales, or conferences in special locales. This provides a relaxed environment to understand your client more deeply and even strategize together. If you’re looking for something a little more close to home, try a short fishing trip before a meeting. Of course, knowing your client well and sending a personally written holiday card and other simple gestures can go a long way as well.
Don’t save rewards for only your most trusted clients! It’s up to you to start the trust cycle and provide incentive to deepen the relationship. Studies show that free rewards just for signing up immediately increase engagement by up to 15%.3
Increase Sales and Stop Churn
By combining emotional and material advantages with a loyalty program, you’re inspiring more passion in your brand. Clients are much more likely to evangelize the service or product of a friend rather than a distant salesperson, and it becomes a lot harder to terminate a business relationship when you also have a positive personal relationship with that person. Increased trust will help you upsell and gain insight into customer preferences and challenges and make it a lot easier to spot any potential dissatisfaction with your company. That’s why a great loyalty program can drive sales and stop churn, and increasingly serves as a vital asset for B2B companies.
Need help building a great B2B Loyalty Program? Contact Sagefrog Marketing today.
- 5 Ways to Make Your Customer Onboarding Experience Memorable|B2B Marketing Academy
- Study: Personalized Emails Deliver 6X Higher Transaction Rates | Marketing Land
- 9 Creative Marketing Strategies for Your B2B Loyalty Program | Loyaltyworks