_The limited number of business contacts, the difficulty of recruiting new business customers and the cost of some business products or services all mean that maintaining customer loyalty is key to B2B marketing success. Sara Goodwins looks at some popular approaches to this problem_
Is it easier and less expensive to sell to existing customers than to find new ones? Of course it is. In the B2B arena, however, sales cycles are longer. If customers are not to be tempted away by competitors, marketing needs to encourage them to develop a relationship with the brand. Anthony Green, sales & marketing director of Concep, comments: “If businesses keep in touch, customers become familiar with products and services on offer and the company will be taken into consideration when a purchase is made.”
When keeping in touch with customers, communication should achieve a number of objectives. Firstly, it should reassure the customer that they made a good choice of partner/supplier. It should also add value to the relationship, above what has been contracted, seek additional opportunities for further business, and inform business and client about new developments.
Existing customers, lapsed customers and prospects should be approached differently. Marketers can assume that customers are familiar with the business and currently prefer your products/services or have done so in the recent past. Ideally no customer should ever go elsewhere, but there will be events such as changes in personnel, expiry of contracts, upheavals in the market, that change the relationship.
Julie Cooper, co-director of events management company Fab, points out, “If a key contact within the client company is replaced, you have to establish confidence and trust with a new person – and the new contact may well bring with them pre-existing relationships with competing suppliers.”
Keep in touch
Lapsed customers, because of the past business relationship,... [continues]
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