Existing customers are a reliable base for every company. They should therefore be cared for and tied closer to the company. This is no easy task, as disruptive technologies and globalisation have toughened the competition in the B2B segment. Here is where you can find important tips on successfully caring for existing customers.
Why is pays off to cater to existing customers
Loyal buyers who place orders time and time again are quasi the backbone to business success. After all, thanks to their regular purchases, they form a solid foundation for sales. Put plainly: they keep the business running.
The winning over of new customers, however, is also naturally important. But the value of existing customers should not be neglected in the process. Tying them to your company over the long term is one of the key challenges in B2B marketing. The advantages of caring for existing customers are:
- More affordable than winning new customers: To grab the attention of interested individuals and to get them on board, companies spend an immensely high budget and a high amount of organisational time. Discounts or advertising campaigns cost a lot of money.
- Sales increase in the long term: Ideally, existing customers are loyal business partners. They order more products and more frequently over the long term than new customers.
- Ordering processes run more smoothly: Because existing customers know the offering and the processes well, companies experience much less friction when it comes to the handling of orders. This saves time and money.
- Price negotiations are seldom the case: Generally speaking, existing customers are used to the price and are less likely to haggle.
Three approaches to remaining on the ball with existing customers
Loyal B2B customers are valuable. Companies are therefore well advised to care for this group in a special way. When they feel well taken care of, they will have fewer thoughts about changing partners. And thus their willingness to potentially switch to the competition is lower. But to profit from this, companies need to cater to good customer relations with existing customers:
1. Convince your customers with service and competence
Loyalty is based on trust. Which can be built up by showing competence. If you can position yourself towards your customer base as an experienced partner with specialist knowledge, you will have an advantage over the competition. This profile must be continually honed in on and underscored with service. Which is why it’s important to ask your customer base about their needs and wants and to meet these (individually).
This is where digital channels like an online shop come into play. A good source of information is, for instance, the customer journey, which enables you to determine purchasing behaviour. Also important: being all ears and service-centric for your customers – also long after the deal has been closed.
2. Keep your company in customers’ minds with newsletters and surveys
B2B customers are generally very much interested in product and company information from their business partners. This information can be communicated, for instance, via frequently sent newsletters or customer magazines, which also serve other marketing tasks. They enable you to continually call up your company in the minds of your business partner. This can also be achieved with exclusive surveys or prize draws for existing customers.
3. Offer discounts and promotions especially for existing customers
When it comes to years-long business partners, high reliability and comprehensive service count. But this does not mean that they want to forego good conditions. Which is why any kind of care for existing customers includes offering discounts which are exclusive to this target group.
Special offers increase the probability that customers will order additional products and services at the regular price during their purchasing process. Loyal customers also enjoy exclusive advantages like points or bonus programmes, which likewise serve as an additional buying incentive. And not to forget: small gifts foster friendships. High-quality advertising items with the company logo and a personal dedication promote a positive image – and thus close relations to existing customers.