Attracting and retaining customers begins and ends with relationship building. In the face of fierce competition, finding ways to solve your clients’ problems and help them increase their revenue can be a distinctive advantage in B2B relationship building, but there is no shortcut to establishing strong relationships with clients. It takes time, dedication and the ability to provide the insight, guidance and advice that is just right for each of your clients.
With more than 125 years of expertise, Allianz Trade’s global business intelligence is unrivalled. Tap into our insight and actionable information about B2B relationship management strategies appropriate for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors.
How to Build B2B Relationships
Building trust in the initial stages of a B2B relationship is imperative. Early on, you want to prove that you and your organization are reliable and a trustworthy resource for valuable insight and support. Here are four important ways to initiate a buyer-seller relationship in B2B:
Utilize “Top-to-Top” Relationships
While your organization likely has account management and sales teams in place, there is no substitution for the peer-to-peer relationships that exist between your executives and your prospects’ leaders. These peer-to-peer connections help to solidly establish frontline relationships, gain brand buy-in and remove barriers to decision-making.
With senior executive relationships in place, your organization then benefits from firsthand knowledge about the challenges and priorities your prospects and clients must manage. That information helps position you to understand where your clients are going and what you can do to help them get there.
Regularly Communicate Through Multiple Channels
Research shows that businesses that communicate with their customers often and via multiple channels – blogging, email, social media and more – see better business and more loyal customers. Regular communication via channels that your customers are most comfortable using can enhance engagement with your brand and more deeply build your relationships.
Ask yourself: How often are you touching base with your clients? How are you reaching them? Remember that the best communications are about solving your customers’ problems, not selling your products. Keep your content relevant to your customers and incorporate soft sells when appropriate. This kind of content not only provides value to your customers, it shows them that you care about their success and not just your bottom line.
Delivering exceptional service is bound to enhance any B2B relationship. But to exceed expectations, you must first establish what your service criteria is with your new client. You want your client to understand how they can expect to measure your performance, not determine for themselves what to expect from you. Once that understanding is in place, you will further establish your B2B relationship when you exceed expectations, showing that you prioritize value delivery over price.
While you shouldn’t oversell your business or lose money on every deal, customers will recognize and appreciate when you make an extra effort for them, which will in turn take the buyer-seller relationship to the next level. It can’t be every time and every month, or they will come to expect it, but demonstrating your value in one-off ways will keep you top of mind for when the next sales cycle or need arises. They will remember your efforts.
Focusing on The Right Customer Segments
Whether you are interested in developing new relationships or growing profitable customer segments, it’s important to focus on the right customer segment. No matter if you choose to focus on customers in a wide group or those within a similar industry, look for those that have challenges that your service or product solve. Then, narrow your search to the most promising target segments. To help you more easily refine your search, assess client risk with Allianz’s free Sector Reports.