Running a business-to-business (B2B) company is different from managing one that serves consumers directly.
While there are some similarities between any type of organization, there are also some unique considerations for B2B. If you want to build your customer base and help other businesses find success, you must follow a few guidelines.
SiriusDecisions found around 80% of B2B buying decisions come from past relationships. If you do one thing for your company, focus on the customer experience (CX) and build bridges between you and your top clients.
The way you run your company makes a huge impact on whether other businesses choose you to cover their needs. From marketing down to logistics, there are many do’s and don’ts that can make or break your corporation.
Do’s of B2B Operations
It’s always easiest to start with what you should do. These four do’s will make your business more efficient. Plus, your customers will be more likely to recommend you to their contacts if you do these things.
Do: Invest in Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is one of the first things you should invest in for your B2B brand. As mentioned before, relationships are everything. There is likely at least one other brand offering the same products or services you provide. Stand out by making your CX stellar.
CRM systems help you track when a customer hasn’t ordered in a while, so you can reach out. You can offer a discount on special days, let clients know when a product that matches their profile comes in and organize the little details that make your service better than anyone else’s.
Do: Speed Up Logistics
How fast do you fill orders and get them out the door? Look at every aspect of the process. How do you secure large orders so they arrive safely and in excellent shape? Talk to different delivery service options and find the one that works best for you from a pricing standpoint while also accounting for the length of time to deliver.
You should dig into your warehouse’s analytics if you sell physical products. Does anything need to be improved? Think about your delivery service through the lens of your typical buyer. What could use some improvement from a consumer standpoint? Your customer service complaints provide valuable clues.
Do: Ramp up Online Marketing
The cost of acquiring new customers is high. However, you can specifically target the demographic you’d like to reach on social media and get your brand name in front of buyers. Your online marketing efforts allow you to extend your reach and find new customers in expanded areas.
Start a referral program where your current customers can recommend you to others who own businesses. A one-on-one review is more powerful than other forms of advertising.
Do: Understand the Buyer’s Journey
People tend to land on your website at different phases of the buying process. Make sure you fully understand the journeys that different types of buyers take and the stages they go through. According to Gartner, 90% of buyers take a path with twists and turns before looping around to the decision stage.
Once you understand the sales funnel’s layers, it’s easier to meet the user’s needs wherever they are on the path. At the same time, you need to make info easy to find. If people are looping back to an earlier stage, they likely didn’t fully grasp something. Look into adding explainer videos and infographics to illustrate your main ideas.
Don’ts of B2B Operations
There are also a few things you should avoid as a B2B brand. The last thing you want is to leave the user with a negative impression of your company, so follow these tips to prevent customer dissatisfaction:
Don’t: Hard Sell Your Company
If your business is mainly about developing relationships, don’t charge at a new lead like an angry bull determined to make a sell. People rarely respond to the hard sell positively. You may even create a scenario where the other company avoids yours at all costs.
Instead, spend time getting to know what the other firm is about, so you’ll better understand how you can meet their needs and help them.
Don’t: Send Messages Out at Weird Times
Studies show many executives open their emails just before or at lunchtime. Your audience may vary, so pay careful attention to your messages’ open times. Invest in a newsletter service that tracks the timing of email opens.
Once you know when most of your audience engages with your content, it’s much easier to schedule your notes to go out at a time when they’ll be at the top of the email folder and most likely read.
Don’t: Forget Intense Training
Business owners don’t have time to hold your hand and explain what they need and how you should deliver it. Train your customer relationship employees to go above and beyond to meet the needs of those they work with. Spend time working on your team, and it will show in your business’s reputation.
Training should include customer service and team-building activities. Help your staff feel comfortable sharing their ideas so you can benefit from the knowledge they gain from working one-on-one with your clients.
Never Stop Improving
No business gets things right 100% of the time without a lot of effort. Your B2B business should continually strive to improve and get better. Pay attention to complaints, reach out to customers with surveys and know your industry.
As changes come along, embrace them and find solutions to the problems your target audience is most likely to face. With a bit of grit and a positive attitude toward growth, you’ll soon be the most successful company of your type.