When selling B2B products, you are faced with a number of barriers. Customer acquisition and support require professional marketing and a personalised customer relationship management. How can you convince business customers of your company? Find out here.
B2B customers want an honest dialogue and responsible supply chain management
If you want to win over new business customers, you should first think about what potential buyers in the B2B business actually want. Many companies seem to not be familiar enough with the needs of their B2B customers, or don’t integrated this knowledge strongly enough into their marketing. This is confirmed by a survey from the business consultants at McKinsey. The notion of which aspects make a brand strong and thus attractive as a trade partner differ, in part widely, between suppliers and customers.
What B2B customers most often want:
- Open, honest dialogue
- Responsible supply chain management
Both points are at the bottom of or not at all on the list of advertising messages among the companies surveyed. Additional important topics for customers are:
- Specialist competence
- Matching of one’s own values and convictions with those of the brand
- Market leadership in the respective field
B2B customers are not really persuaded by good deeds
The B2B companies surveyed often focus their communication on topics such as social responsibility and sustainability – but these good deeds apparently do not have an influence on the brand’s image. Likewise, the global reach or the number of innovations, which are happily mentioned, do not grab the attention of more customers. Reduced prices in the messages of B2B companies are even counterproductive to reinforcing the brand, according to customers.
You should first think about what potential buyers in the B2B business actually want.
Customer acquisition in the B2B segment: 5 special characteristics
B2B customer acquisition and customer relations are different in many points from B2C commerce. If you truly want to reach your B2B customers, you should keep the following special characteristics in mind for your marketing strategy:
Targeted communication with business customers
Online or email campaigns – unlike in B2C – are not entirely promising. To win over B2B customers, you should seek personal contact more than anything else. Trade shows, in particular, serve as an important communications measure in B2B marketing for making connections. Talks and free seminars are also suitable for increasing your customer base and reinforcing your reputation. Moreover, listing your company on B2B platforms, such as Europages, is also relevant to reach professional buyers.
Heightened need for information and advisory before the purchase
Due to higher costs and the complexity of B2B goods, the purchasing decision leads to a longer sales cycle. The customer requires extensive information and good advisory throughout the entire decision-making process. The advertising must be personalised and tailored to the customer – at the right time, the right place and with the right content.
Payment conditions are important in the B2B segment
While B2C businesses can lure the customer to a buying decision using discounts or overall low prices on the market, in the B2B segment, the payment conditions are often more important. When does a portion of the entire invoice need to be paid? Is there the option to receive a loan? Is a barter arrangement possible? The more the company meets the customer half way, the more likely a sale.
Comprehensive after-sales service
Unlike in B2C, a transaction is not usually closed with the purchase. The products are normally longer lasting and more expensive, so that repairs and defects or upgrades make more sense than a new purchase – and are often expected (free of charge). A comprehensive after-sales service therefore plays a vital role when gaining B2B customers.
Cultivating individual customer relations in the B2B segment
B2B customers are rarer and buy more seldomly than B2C customers. This means the building-up of customer relations is especially important if you want to remain a player on the market. Personal trust and interpersonal relationships create a strong tie between the company and the buyer, which can be an advantage when it comes to the next buying decision. What’s more, convinced customers also serve as effective influencers who can significantly influence potential new business customers.