You already know that effective communication is important to customer satisfaction. This is something we inherently understand when dealing with the public. It’s often overlooked when it comes to B2B selling, however.
Selling business to business can be a much more complicated process than a typical retail sale. There are more factors to consider with B2B, a longer purchasing decision process and usually more than one person involved in the decision.
This means that good communication is even more vital to keep your clients satisfied. Making the correct purchasing decisions can make a huge difference to a business’s profit margins. So, business clients want to be more informed, more included and more valued than your average customer.
What Do We Mean by Effective Communication?
According to consulting firm GGA Partners the four pillars of effective communication are:
The most important factor in a business relationship is trust. Your clients will receive your communications better if they know they can believe what you say.
Follow through on your promises. Manage expectations and deliver to build the reliable reputation of your brand.
B2B selling is more about partnerships than one-off sales. Build a connection between you and your clients and you can improve the relationship over time.
Maintain consistent messaging to avoid confusion. Let business clients know what’s happening at every step of the buyer’s journey and continue to support them beyond their purchase.
These principles form a solid foundation on where to build an effective communication strategy with your B2B clients. But what are the practical ways you can use this to grow your business? Here are five of the most impactful ways that effective communication can boost your B2B relationships.
1. Drive Improvement by Incorporating Feedback
Business clients are especially interested in being included in the process. You can use this to your advantage by requesting feedback on your products and services. Listen to your clients when they tell you what they like and what they don’t like.
When you make changes based on the feedback you receive it lets your clients know you’re listening. Since customers will often identify similar problem areas, you can effectively use this to satisfy a wide range of your client base.
Look at how you implement different types of testing in production. If you can incorporate customer feedback directly into your QA process, you can bring your product closer to your customer’s needs. This can cut down on costly redesigns.
2. Improve Your Customer Experience
In the B2B world, the customer experience needs to stay consistent across the buyer’s journey. Marketing, Sales, and Customer Engagement need to communicate effectively for this to work. You’ll need to optimize the customer experience for each department.
AHT call center stats are vital. Business clients can move at different paces and a quick response to an enquiry can mean the difference between a sale and lost revenue. Reducing average handling times across sales and customer service goes a long way for customer satisfaction.
Look into easing your process flow wherever possible to keep the customer happy. Automation can be used to varying degrees from production to sales to ensure a more streamlined experience. Be prepared to invest where necessary.
3. Efficient Problem Solving, Smooth Pipelines
Opening up the lines of communication with your business customers will lead to more than just increased revenue opportunities. When you build more communicative relationships with clients, it’s easier to work together to solve problems.
The requirements of business clients are often highly specific. Being highly communicative with your clients makes it easier for them to approach you for more complex requirements. This smooths the sales pipeline and increases long-term business prospects.
Allow your sales team to respond effectively to changing client requirements. There are various types of sales enablement software available that can help your team deliver an excellent customer experience.
4. Increased Long-Term Retention
Long-term client retention requires strong business relationships. Trust is not easy to acquire in B2B sales. It’s something that you can only build over time. Responding to client feedback, implementing a smooth customer experience, and working together with clients to solve problems helps to build this trust.
Providing dedicated after-sales support to business clients is important for building long-term partnerships. 86% of B2B buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. That includes ongoing support.
Ensure that the trust you build up isn’t damaged by poor data security. Your ability to keep client data secure is becoming ever more relevant.
5. Focus Your Omni-Channel Strategy
Effective communication includes communicating in the places your clients will actually hear you. In B2B marketing, it’s vital to be active in the spaces your potential customer base is. 60% of B2B buyers recently said that mobiles were used for purchase decisions.
Work with your clients to narrow down their desired channels of communication. It can be much more effective than to blanket-target a wide range of social media channels.
Narrowing your focus like this also makes it easier to target personalized content to your B2B clients. Serving personalized ad content has proven to be a highly effective part of B2B marketing.
Effective communication should be a top priority for your B2B business and not just because of the benefits. Poor communication is often cited as a key reason for lost revenue. Even the presentation of the words on your product packaging can impact the customer experience.
Always aim for clarity, build your credibility, develop relationships and continue to listen to your clients. You can’t go wrong with open communication. In the worst case, you’ll identify your biggest problem areas.
Remember that good communication needs to apply to your business’s internal communication as well. According to Forrester, marketing, sales, and customer engagement are the core of the B2B “revenue waterfall.” Make sure these departments have open lines of communication.