The cornerstones of B2B customer retention

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Date: 11 November 2021

Woman drawing on a board with the words Attract, Convert and Retain written on it

Customer retention and acquisition are two things any B2B customer strives for - whether a start-up or an established business of ten years. Arguably, retention is just as essential as acquisition - which is why it's interesting to learn that 44% of brands focus on acquisition and only 18% focus on retention, according to SemRush. This means many businesses aren't focusing on their customers at all - a detrimental business tactic. 

Speaking specifically about customer retention - the probability of selling to an existing loyal customer is 70%, compared to a mere 20% for a new customer, making retention somewhat of a holy grail. Below you'll find some examples of customer retention techniques every business stands to benefit from.

1. Offer customer rewards

You can't go wrong with a reward. Rewards are great for both acquisition and retention - most of us will have been lured in by a new customer discount at some point. Rewards work just as well for retention, and that's where an enticing loyalty program for B2B customers comes into play. A B2B customer loyalty programme offering rewards for purchases, referrals, and long-term loyalty works very well - with 58% of customers signed up to a B2B rewards programme purchasing something at least once a month. 

Long term growth is easier to achieve with a sea of loyal customers who end up as an integral part of B2B business success. Robust B2B incentive programs give customers another reason to shop and deepen the connection between brand and consumer, something that's not always easy to achieve.

2. Offer impeccable customer service

You could argue that most relate customer service to B2C sales, when in fact, B2B customer service is more crucial. B2B sales differ because there is usually a long list of people involved in one purchase - commonly known as a buying team. And, 80% of B2B buyers expect their experience to match that of B2C sales, with quick access to customer service and easy transactions.

The simple way to offer impeccable customer service is to use account managers - especially for big clients with big money. Account managers are the first port of call for any client seeking support or advice, or an update on account activity. According to Oracle; 89% of customers move to a competitor because of a poor customer service experience. Therefore, you must consider the best ways of providing individualised customer support if you want to hold on to your customers.

3. Make purchasing easier for customers

The buying cycle for a B2B sale is much longer than B2C, making the buying process an essential consideration for customer retention. Naturally, customers want a smooth experience from start to finish, but the experience as a whole differs somewhat from B2C sales. The steps for B2B sales will remain the same:

  1. Find a problem to solve.
  2. Find information that can help solve it.
  3. Evaluating and comparing options.
  4. The purchase itself.
  5. Post-purchase evaluation.

Yes, these steps are similar to that of a B2C sale. For example, you might discover you need a new microwave (the problem), and you might Google the best microwaves on the market (the information). You might then compare the price and spec of different microwaves (the evaluation). And then you might purchase the product. 

B2B sales are more complex because of the number of people involved, which is why you might consider Omnichannel, live chats, and one-click purchase options to make the buying cycle much easier to manage.

Those are three of the key cornerstones of B2B customer retention, along with product quality and communication, that are bound to improve retention in your business. Many of the strategies used for B2C sales work well for B2B when tailored right.  

Copyright 2021. Article was made possible by site supporter Ocere.

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