Every business-to-business (B2B) company knows the importance of reaching new buyers and converting them into customers. That’s why successful B2B brands invest in strategic inbound marketing campaigns to bring in new business—from optimizing webpages for search engines to creating useful, engaging content that connects with buyers, bringing in more customers and revenue is the name of the game.
And after the hard work of reaching new customers, it’s vital to make sure you keep them engaged with your company.
Nurturing customer loyalty is essential for any B2B company that wants to build long-term relationships with buyers, so it’s no surprise that B2B customer loyalty programs are on the rise. If your business wants to retain clients and revenue, it’s time to consider the benefits of B2B loyalty programs.
The Importance of Customer Loyalty in B2B Marketing
One way for B2B companies to promote consistent growth is to ensure existing customers are satisfied. If customers have a positive experience with your brand, feel listened to, and benefit from a relationship with your company, they are more likely to purchase from you again, tell their peers about you, share their data, and follow your company online.
Improving customer loyalty is essential to expanding your customer base and maintaining long-term relationships with current clients.
Having a loyalty program or other marketing tool dedicated to customer retention can benefit your B2B brand in multiple ways—when it’s done right. You’ll get access to valuable customer data, get word-of-mouth referrals, and have more opportunities to nurture client relationships between transactions.
What Are B2B Customer Loyalty Programs?
B2B loyalty programs are a type of customer marketing that rewards customers for doing business with your company. Their goal is to retain customers by establishing brand loyalty.
These programs have features designed to incentivize customers for behaviors like renewing annual subscriptions, buying new products, referring your company to others, and engaging with your business online.
Compared to business-to-consumer (B2C) reward programs, B2B customer loyalty programs are more concentrated on long-term relationships. Since B2B customers make complex purchasing decisions based on data, go through a more formalized buying process, and make fewer (but larger) deals, B2B loyalty programs are considerably different from their B2C counterparts.
How B2B Loyalty Programs Increase Sales
A consistently good customer experience—with personalized content, robust incentive programs, and consistent communication—makes it more likely for buyers to repeat purchases and refer your company, leading to additional sales opportunities.
B2B customer loyalty programs are one of the most effective ways to increase customer loyalty and sales. Powerful marketing automation tools and data analysis technology has made modern rewards programs more streamlined and cost-efficient than ever while also allowing them to deliver unparalleled sales ROI (return on investment).
When customers join your loyalty program, they’ll be encouraged to build a long-term partnership with your B2B company, thus increasing their purchasing spend and frequency. That’s why B2B loyalty programs are ideally suited to companies interested in expanding revenue and sales.
7 B2B Loyalty Program Best Practices You Need to Follow
No two B2B customer loyalty programs should look the same because each one should be tailored to fit the unique needs of the company and its customers. However, as you start building a loyalty program, keep these best practices in mind.
Define What “Loyalty” Means to Your B2B Company
Be clear about your objectives. What does “loyalty” mean to your company? It may involve customers frequently buying your products, referring your business to new buyers, or renewing annual subscriptions. Choosing how you want your B2B loyalty program to define loyalty will make it easier to measure customer loyalty.
Identify Your Buyers
A successful B2B customer loyalty program has content, rewards, and incentives tailored to your customers—and to do so, you first have to identify and understand your customer segments.
Buyer personas are the ideal way to understand your customers and are the foundation to any well-designed loyalty program.
Encourage Ideal Customer Behaviors
Think about what customer behaviors are a priority for your B2B company and create a loyalty program that rewards those behaviors. For example, if you want customers to spread the word about your company and bring in new clients, offer incentives as part of a referral program.
Create the Best Possible Customer Experience
If you want your customers to be loyal, you need to create a positive customer experience. Make doing business with your B2B company easy, painless, and reliable. The best customer loyalty programs demonstrate the care you have for your customers and help meet their needs.
Maintain Frequent Communication
Constant customer engagement is a key part of building long-term partnerships. Use a variety of communication channels to meet customers where they are and ensure them that you are committed to the success of their business.
If you’re there for your customers, they’re more likely to stick around.
Make It Easy for Customers to Reach You
Who wants to be loyal to a brand that is difficult to contact? Be sure your company’s contact information is available on your website and in any customer communications—and, if possible, offer a variety of ways for customers to reach you, such as by phone, by email, in-person, and via chat.
Keep Careful Records
Metrics like repeat customer rate (RCR), customer lifetime value (CLV), and net promoter score (NPS) are important to track so you can decide who is eligible for your B2B customer loyalty program. By combining these data points, you’ll get a more accurate sense of how loyal your customers are.
Loyalty Program Strategy: How to Build a B2B Loyalty Program
Follow these steps to develop a successful, cost-effective B2B customer loyalty program.
Determine an Incentive and Reward Structure
What incentives will you offer to clients? How will you reward loyal customers? Incentives and rewards could include perks like exclusive content, discounts on future purchases, and early access to new products.
What do you want from your customers in return? What will you reward them for doing? You may want to encourage customers to recommend your business to others, fill out surveys, connect with you on social media, renew subscriptions, or attend trade shows.
Different customer loyalty programs have different structures. It’s up to you to decide the best way to move forward. Consider the products and services you offer, a pricing structure, and customer touchpoints—and let customers know what they will gain by joining your loyalty program.
Clarify the Logistics
It’s important to have a clear plan for how your loyalty program will work. Clarifying the logistics early will help prevent customer dissatisfaction or frustration.
You need to establish terms and conditions, have a plan for expired accounts, and clearly state the objectives of the loyalty program. At what point will an inactive customer be removed from the program? How much do customers have to spend to be eligible for special rewards? Without refining these details, customers will inevitably have disputes, which leads to lower retention rates.
Develop a Clear and Efficient Onboarding System
It should be easy for customers to know how your B2B loyalty program works and how they can become a member. The most successful customer loyalty programs are intuitive, have clear instructions, and include an efficient onboarding system.
Whether you design an app for your loyalty program or simply dedicate a page on your company website, make sure your clients can easily find information about the program and understand how it works.
Be careful not to sound too salesy. Instead, aim for sincerity. Why? You want to give customers a reason to stay loyal to your B2B brand, and the best way to do so is to ensure them that you care about the success of their businesses.
Measure Your Performance
To understand how successful your customer loyalty program is, you need to measure its effectiveness. Consider tracking data that answers these questions:
- How many customers have joined the loyalty program?
- What percentage of customers have become a loyalty program member?
- How much revenue can be traced back to the loyalty program?
- What impact has the loyalty program had on customer retention?
- How many new customers have been brought in by referrals?
By figuring out what parts of your B2B loyalty program are successful and what aspects need additional tweaking, you can continue refining the program until it achieves a positive ROI.
The importance of customer loyalty for B2B companies cannot be overstated: If you want your business to survive (and thrive) in an ever-competitive market, you must invest in building long-term, positive relationships with your buyers and making sure existing customers stay engaged with your company.
How? By creating an effective loyalty program, providing a consistently good customer experience, and tailoring your marketing content to your target audience.
That’s where we come in.
At OneIMS, we are ready to help your B2B company succeed. We have the strategies, tools, and solutions you need to connect with clients and reach your marketing goals. Our team of experts works with companies in a variety of industries to develop innovative and data-driven marketing solutions, and we pride ourselves on producing measurable and sustainable results.
When you’re ready to take the next step in reaching new buyers, keeping existing customers, and growing your business, schedule a consultation with us to get started.