With ever-changing business environments, recalibrating your marketing and outreach methods are often required to ensure you and your partners capitalize on new market opportunities. If it’s been awhile since you’ve evaluated your outreach methods, it’s definitely time to talk strategy with your partners. Technology is rapidly shifting how B2B brands engage with their customers, and your ecosystem needs to be able to shift with the times to keep up.
In this space, new trends are popping up everywhere; listed here are five methods that our clients and partners use to increase their B2B customer engagement.
1. Testimonials and brand promotion.
Perhaps it’s a byproduct of our often-confusing technological age, but direct referrals and word-of-mouth are even more critical when making B2B sales than ever before. HubSpot research suggests that more than half of B2B buyers rely on testimonials and referrals when making purchasing decisions.
It's important to use genuine testimonials in your marketing materials, and look for ways to encourage your existing customers to promote your brand. Having a referral program in place is a great way to promote your brand.
2. Account-Based Marketing strategies.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) means putting additional focus on your best\biggest existing customers, and attempting to sell more to them. ABM strategies are like scale-model marketing, treating each large account as a market niche and marketing directly to its most influential decision-makers. Properly conducted, ABM can greatly increase the value of your existing customers, while costing less than the usual new-customer acquisition costs.
3. Collaboration via interactive user groups, events, and activities.
For many brands, forming a true community among their product is among their top goals. This is another great way to promote your brand, as well as reducing the likelihood of customer disloyalty. Virtually anything you and your partners can do to get your buyers in one place, talking about your products will be of benefit. An idea for these would be, webinars, special virtual events, or face-to-face meet ups.
Speaking of collaboration, check out FUSE - a digital ecosystem for the manufacturing industry (formed by LogicBay).
4. Customer satisfaction and suggestion tracking.
Businesses today are expected to be increasingly responsive to buyer needs. Businesses that aren’t can quickly find themselves falling far behind. (Just ask any cable company exec watching their users flee to Netflix in droves.) It’s critical that customer satisfaction and suggestions be tracked in your CRM or PRM system alongside other core KPIs, and treated with similar levels of respect.
If large numbers of your customers are reporting specific problems, or requesting certain changes, you should be doing everything reasonably possible to accommodate them. Otherwise, you risk losing them to the next vendor who can meet their needs.
5. Periodic updates.
Oddly, one of the oldest forms of outreach is seeing something of a resurgence. Newsletters are still being used heavily and -when they’re made well- can be an excellent tool for keeping mindshare among your customers and leads. One new twist is using automated marketing style systems to build personalized newsletters based around individual customer profiles, such as creating a digest version of recent blogs which would be of interest.
How is your indirect sales operation looking to increase its own outreach? We’d love to hear some of your ideas for forming better B2B connections!