A thriving B2B eCommerce business needs more than just successful products and services; it also needs a successful market to get the supplies they need to operate well. And in that market, there have to be strong relationships between business and client.
Here are 5 tips on how you could improve your B2B eCommerce relationships:
Have A top-to-top relationship
The best business partnerships have a ‘top-to-top’ connection with senior executives having relationships with other executives at the client, customer, or partner organization. In this way, an organic trickle-down effect occurs on both sides, allowing employees at both companies to get connected and establish their own professional relationships – a big unofficial merger, perhaps.
It’s about value, not price
Once the sale is made, it shouldn’t end there. Therefore, it’s important to focus on value rather than pricing, because the value of the customer’s relationship plays a huge role in the pricing process. Thus, your customers will love your services, when you appeal to the heart.
One of the best ways to strengthen any B2B eCommerce relationship is to present benefits to your customers, especially ones that can relieve their biggest pains or solve annoying business challenges. When done correctly, you’ll receive the following business benefits:
- Protected margins from justifying products/services costs with tangible business benefits
- Recognition as a trusted advisor who can concoct creative solutions to pesky problems
- Makes you more likely to receive a contract renewal
Organize customer advisory boards
Instead of viewing customers as paychecks, and limiting relationships to overdue notices and contract renewals, B2B organizations should consider the contrarian approach, where they invite customers/clients to join a customer advisory board. An advisory board consists of a small group of individuals from customer organizations who serve as a representative sample of your entire customer base (ranging from customer segment to longevity). And, you can either hold meetings formally, or have one-on-one conversations with said advisory board.
The ultimate goal is to provide regular updates on product and marketing decisions to both existing clients/customers and new visitors (non-members), while soliciting feedback on your ideas.
Don’t manage accounts as a faceless company
Since humans are social creatures, it’s not surprising to see that we all want to interact with human employees, not a faceless company. So, when doing business with customers and partners, let them see faces, hear voices, and establish relationships with team members (professional at first, and then personal when the time is right).
Relationships are extremely important in your business, because customers are more likely to be loyal to other people, rather than companies or brands (especially if they’re faceless).
Help customers succeed personally and professionally
Most account management processes fall short, when they don’t consider customers’ successes. Just like you and your employees – who are human beings on the other end of the phone or computer screen – so are your customers. Customers have their own set of goals, aspirations, challenges, and needs. Therefore, manage your relationships with customers in ways that will make a positive impact on their lives, rather than solely focus on business wins.
Consider the following practices, to better foster strong personal relationships:
- Helping account managers deliver results that earn them a desirable promotion
- Lobbying executives at the client organization to solicit additional funding or resources
- Supporting individual stakeholders (personally or professionally) in various ways
“Addressing both personal and professional wins when managing customer relationships is an effective way for them to see your company as a trusted advisor,” adds Lewis, “and it shows them that you care about your customer’s success.”
Improvements in much-needed areas are crucial for businesses; and strong relationships in the B2B industry can go a long way when talking about how to improve their business practices. Therefore, there’s no need to solely on the status quo, since competition calls for more than that. You have to take into account the data, and then tailor improvements according to such data. And, having customer feedback and behavior added into the equation makes improvements – and even B2B eCommerce itself – be more effective for both customers and companies.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
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