A distinguishing feature of business-to-business marketing over business-to-consumer marketing is the importance of personal relationships. A consumer pay purchase from a large clothing retailer without ever knowing who owns it or who selected the clothes they just purchased, but when it comes to getting the clothing into the store, a series of personal relationships is essential. The business-to-business customer base is typically a lot smaller and more personal, and you’ll often rely on one or two strong connections that you foster over a long period of time. Therefore, knowing how to develop and maintain business relationships that are also personal is highly important.
- Focus on a small group of people. The less people you have to concentrate on, the easier it will be to remember their face, name and details about their life and company. In B2B marketing, it is more efficient to spend a lot of time and effort nurturing one relationship that will continue to grow and provide returns than it is to spread your efforts around a range of different people. You’ll find that many people will be looking to do the same thing in return, allowing you to both focus your efforts and get what you want.
- Go above and beyond. If you have a good relationship with a client, go out of your way to let them know it. Sending gifts at Christmas time, checking in with them via phone calls or email, or otherwise making other thank you gestures is all part of building a good relationship that sets you apart from other B2B clients they may deal with, and gives them a positive experience that they’ll want to continue with. Forming small, good habits is a large part of developing successful business relationships.
- Provide excellent service and support. B2B business relationships tend to be long-term and therefore require you to provide long-term support. Be ready to explain the product or service, offer extra tips or advice, and troubleshoot if it doesn’t work out. This builds up trust and faith that you stand by your own products and won’t leave them high and dry. You yourself become an invaluable resource to them, which is a huge part of a successful relationship.
- Offer customised deals. B2B relationships are fewer and therefore have room to be more nuanced. If you can provide someone the exact solution they’re looking for rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, they’ll be more likely to want to continue working with you over others who don’t do the same.
Creating unique, personal relationships is an essential part of B2B marketing and will serve your business well for years to come.