B2C (Business to Consumer) brands spend a lot in influencer campaigns since they know that consumers always take note of friendly recommendations and bits of advice from known people as the most plausible form of advertising nowadays.
But then what about Business-to-Business or B2B companies?
Until now, people who were seeking B2B products or services reached out to the vendors or collected sales brochures for gathering information. But then again those days are gone.
In the present times, sales cycles are longer with B2B consumers as customers not only research products and services online, but they even talk to peers and read online reviews when considering their requirements- and most often take these steps long before they even talk to any sales representative.
In fact, 95% of customers in the USA, read peer recommendations, online reviews, and conduct original research where the most influential and authentic content is the one that goes into making a buying decision for the customers and prospects.
This is the exact reason why it is so important nowadays to deputize the customers to serve as your brand ambassadors for boosting sales growth in this competitive marketplace.
That is because, when your existing customers are satisfied with your offering(s), they will share positive impressions with their peers, which in turn gets translated into incredibly word-of-mouth advertising for your company.
Therefore, here are four ways you can build an environment to make that happen, regardless of what type of offering(s) you sell in the B2B marketplace:
1. Create a culture for customer success
To convert loyal and happy customers into ambassadors of your brand, you will need to demonstrate your company’s unwavering commitment to their success.
This means you need to center your company culture on customer success and make it your organization’s number one goal.
Moreover, you also need to convey that value to your employees at every opportunity and refer to them the importance of customer success frequently in every company meetings to empathize the critical role it plays in the modern times for consistent business growth.
Now, it is also vital to make sure that your employees understand the nuanced difference between customers support and customer success and makes sure that they focus proactively on helping the customers reach their desired goals instead of just reaching to a product and service issue lodged by the customers or look for up-selling opportunities.
In other words, your employees must never underscore the importance of retention of the customers through value delivery as an indicator of employee success metrics while using business growth technology and tools or an easy to use CRM for evaluating their customer success skills.
2. Focus on communication
Communicating with the customers often and early is critical to customer success which aids in creating brand ambassadors of your business.
Hence it is always a good idea for the members of the customer success team to contact new customers within 24 hours of accomplishing a sale so that your teams can understand the customer’s goals and thereafter agree on a plan for meeting those needs.
For this buy CRM and touch base with your customers regularly and communicate frequently with the users of your offerings which is most essential not only to make sure that you understand your customer’s goals but also because by doing this exercise you will be able to know when new objectives evolve and thereby when you are required to adjust as per the needs.
This is also a great way to find an early head-up on any issues the customer may be experiencing so that you can resolve them before it escalates beyond control.
Therefore, in other words, set expectations for communication with all your B2B customers and then exceed them for creating loyal brand ambassadors for your business in this modern marketplace.
3. Align the customer success and sales teams
It is a great idea that when it is feasible always involve the members of your customer success team in sales transactions before closing the deal.
This is because when your members of sales and customer success teams work together not only the customers get the message that your brand focuses on their success and but the customer success team members even finds an opportunity to get to know their customers prior to implementation or delivery of the offerings along with a scope to establish relationship before any support request comes for customer-facing issues.
Therefore, early involvements by members of the customer success provide the internal teams the golden time to reach consensus on customer expectations and discuss the level of support the customers will require during implementation and beyond.
In other words, if the ‘sales to customer success’ handoffs are handled in an efficient manner, the experience for the customers will be seamless that in turn will help create happy customers who can be your brand ambassadors in the marketplace, and bring your company more revenue in the days to come.
4. Own your mistakes
Every business makes mistakes and inevitably your teams will also do the same sometimes and somewhere along the way.
Now, it is suggested that when this happens do not try to deflect blame or get defensive with your customers.
Rather apologize and own-up the errors and thereafter focus all your energy and attention on making things right.
Research shows that customer satisfaction followed by brand advocacy (in other words brand ambassadorship) in several instances actually increase after problems arise and/if the mistakes are handled appropriately.
Therefore, if you communicate with your customers frequently, you will surely find an opportunity to address problems before it gets public or even if you are alerted to an issue by a negative remark by the customer you can still turn things around and make your customer feel happy with your services.
Let us end this write-up with an example.
Consider you are visiting a new city and making plans for dinner. It is natural that you would always find a friend’s review of a fabulous meal they always enjoy at a local restaurant more trustworthy and convincing than an advertisement of an unknown eatery you saw on the airport shuttle bus on your ride to the terminus.
Now, this same principle also applies to B2B and B2C consumers when they evaluate the products or services they want to purchase since there is nothing more credible than a real-life testimonial from someone they trust while buying their desired commodities.
This is reason it is so important that companies must nowadays cultivate their customers to serve as ambassadors for their brand, by centering their culture on their customer’s success, work with their colleagues internally to achieve a seamless customer experience, communicate frequently with their customers, and finally address mistakes honestly and quickly which are the keys for building up great customer relationships and thereby create a fan-base for their brands that is capable of providing the type of advertisement that money just cannot buy.