Retaining your existing customer base offers several benefits, like saving costs incurred for lead capturing and resource utilization. This is the main reason companies explore different B2B customer retention strategies.
In fact, acquiring a new customer is five times costlier than retaining current ones. This statistic is a testament to customer retention significance.
As a company owner in this age, you should know how to retain B2B customers in a customized way. Since every business operates distinctly, aligning the well-known strategies after a detailed evaluation of your end goals is vital.
So, how can you leverage top strategies to build brand loyalty? Let’s find out.
Understanding the Basics of Customer Retention
Simply put, customer retention is a term that companies use to measure brand loyalty and assess overall business performance.
This strategy is different from merely increasing the customer base. It focuses on implementing B2B customer retention strategies to enhance the experience of its clientele.
To initiate proper retention tactics, you should focus on three main pillars:
- Onboarding: In this stage, customers purchase and start using your products. As a company, you need to optimize this stage and analyze how the customer values your product or service.
- Adoption: This stage witnesses a rise in the interest levels of your customer. They begin to adopt and utilize different features of your product or service.
- Renewal: The crucial final pillar is the decision of the customer to renew or repurchase your product. This stage depends on the experience during the first two steps. You need to convince your customer and highlight the positives of your service in this stage.
Overall, your strategies for retaining B2B customers will revolve around these primary facets.
10 Actionable Retention Strategies to Maintain a Solid Clientele
Here are some prominent tactics that can help save customer acquisition costs and improve your brand loyalty.
1. Focus on Nailing the First Impression
This B2B customer retention strategy focuses on creating a solid impression during and just after the onboarding stage.
Companies leverage tools like AI chatbots, video tutorials, and more to enhance their customer service experience. Such strategies should focus on guiding customers during the initial exploration phase.
It is natural for customers of any level to have some initial queries. So, the onus is on businesses to solve such challenges. Here are some of the main tools that you can use to create a personalized experience:
- Artificial intelligence;
- Dedicated customer support staff;
- Video tutorials;
- How-to guides and informative content.
A self-accessible knowledge base elucidating the features of your product can leave a good first impression.
2. Cater to Customer Queries and Offer Prompt Resolution
B2B customers are well-informed and have invaluable insights for customizing products or services. This feedback can prove to be helpful to augment your output and cater to the existing clients.
So, this strategy focuses on the following aspects:
- Take insights or feedback from your customers constructively
- Ensure that you have a customer success team that caters to the feedback
- Use technology to reply promptly to queries and suggestions
These simple steps can help build trust in your client base. So, ensure that you implement such B2B customer retention strategies actively.
An excellent example of delivering prompt resolution through efficient query management is Mailchimp. The brand incorporates both AI and manual resource employment to quickly resolve queries.
3. Stay Proactive in Customer Communications
Building on the same lines of customer feedback, companies need to pay close attention to their communication channels. In most cases, B2B clients do not offer feedback due to time constraints. You have to interact with them and develop a good rapport.
For this purpose, you can use a communication calendar with the following elements:
- Time to send an email or message;
- Periodic follow-up with customers;
- Supply of promotional offers;
- Reminder to update subscriptions.
This way, you will know how to retain B2B customers as the level of engagement increases exponentially.
Hootsuite has incorporated the strategy of quick communication with its B2B customers through social media accounts. The brand launched its Twitter account to inform users about the latest changes and proactively seek feedback.
4. Provide Unique Services and Sell Your USP
Today, competition in any B2B segment is fiercer than ever. With several start-ups across the globe, you need to offer something unique to retain existing customers.
So, ensure that you pay attention to the following points:
- Unique features of your product or service;
- Easy resolution of common customer pain points;
- Leveraging technology like automation.
A simple act of solving a common issue can enhance the experience of existing customers. So, they prefer your services over exploring other companies in the same domain.
Amazon is renowned for its B2C services. But, it's also popular for providing one of its kind B2B services through Amazon Business. It offers a complete package to ensure easy B2B workflows such as multi-user accounts, approval workflows, and so on.
5. Reward Customer Loyalty in an Apt Manner
One of the best B2B customer retention strategies focuses on appreciation and reward emotion.
It is well-known that B2B clients have high expectations from their vendors. Be it seamless service or personalized assistance, the customer base expects you to stay professional and prompt.
In addition to these requirements, you should understand the importance of their loyalty. So, how can you take care of this aspect?
Well, you can implement the following tactics to reward their association:
- Free upgrades on a service;
- Exclusive sneak peek of your upcoming product;
- Discounts on certain offerings;
- Seasonal gifts or coupons.
Such appreciation helps build customer loyalty and increases the chances of retaining your client base.
Lenovo's loyalty program, Lenovo Expert Achievers Program, was used to retain its existing business partners. The company saw impressive growth by keeping existing partners while attracting new ones to increase sales.
6. Invest in Customer Service Tools
Technology can be a great aid in retaining customers in any segment. A dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) tool such as Zendesk or Salesforce is a an investment that will help you nurture your customers' along their buying journey.
In addition to buying these platforms, you can also bolster your customer service team. Regular technical training on existing or new tools, growing the team whenever needed, and career development initiatives can enhance the output of your service team considerably.
7. Invest in Trust-building Activities
In some cases, establishing yourself as an authority is sufficient to retain your customers and build brand loyalty.
Consider the example of Microsoft. This B2B and B2C enterprise has credibility in the market. Hence, its customers stay loyal and opt for the renewal of their software and other products.
So, how can you develop such credibility in the market?
Well, such B2B customer retention strategies require a steady supply of informative and accurate content. Here are the channels that can help in such content distribution:
- Case studies;
- Product guides.
The main intention of ‘trust-building’ activities is to highlight your services and educate customers simultaneously.
8. Create a Unique Identity
The USP of your company can help retain the client base indirectly.
For communicating the unique offerings of your business, it is crucial to pay attention to these facets:
- Brand voice;
- Content quality;
- Product or service highlights.
Companies like IBM are great examples that elucidate their USPs online. You can take inspiration from such organizations and establish your unique attributes in the market.
Strausak revamped its brand identity to enhance its outreach to customers faster than its competitors. From changes in the visual element to the messages getting delivered, the company transformed its voice to acquire a unique presence in the competitive manufacturing industry.
9. Invest in Customer Education
To augment brand loyalty in the B2B scene, you need to provide value to existing customers. Why would a client intend to stay with you despite several similar options?
Well, in addition to your product USPs, factors like information and data are pivotal to answering this question.
Consider a business looking for a solution to troubleshoot software. Instead of connecting directly with your customer service team, such a company will explore your information base. In this scenario, your resources should educate them on solving simple problems.
With this in mind, Landbot recently revamped and restructured its Academy, in order to better tend to customers' needs.
So, customers will naturally subscribe to their services and prefer the business over other alternatives.
10. Create a Comprehensive Customer Retention Program
All the B2B customer retention strategies can become integral to a cumulative program. Regardless of the nature of your business, the following tactics can serve as common choices to build brand loyalty:
- Customer communication;
- Subscriptions and loyalty programs;
- Use of social media for updates;
- Gifts and rewards;
- Exceptional customer support;
- Gamification and referral program;
One of the vital aspects of creating a robust customer retention program is the inclusion of realistic goals. Develop a systematic framework and measure the results through proper analytics.
Take the example of HeidelbergCement. The company managed to enhance its retention rate with a 70% response rate by employing extensive retention strategies. The tactics involved geographical challenges' analysis, program evolution, structured report delivery team, and customer follow-up.
Always keep track of your return on investment (ROI) and the number of loyal customers after implementing all such tactics.
Brand loyalty and customer retention are synonymous parameters that relate to your company’s services. First, you need to establish a unique presence and offer solutions to solve a bottleneck.
Next, you should include technology and personalize customer experience to enhance the B2B interactions. Communication is crucial in creating a loyal clientele. So, your B2B customer retention strategies should optimize the different communication channels.
A comprehensive retention program is an amalgamation of simple tactics. As a company, it is thus crucial to pay equal attention to all the strategies and allocate apt resources.