Improve Customer Retention with Business Reward Programs

by Bistriti Poddar |

Improve Customer Retention with Business Reward Programs

Business Reward Programs

Don’t we all agree that it costs a lot more to acquire a customer (which is almost 25 times more expensive) than to retain them? The same is true for your relationship with B2B customers. Which means retaining your B2B customers is vital to the growth of your business. Hence business rewards programs are the … Read more

B2B Customer Loyalty Programs Best Practices

B2B Customer Loyalty Programs Best Practices

Loyalty initiatives have been commonplace in the B2C space but, due to increased competition, B2B businesses are waking up to the fact that investing in loyalty is vital. In today’s times when change is the only constant, retaining your loyal customers is critical for success. The payoff for customer retention is big: a 5% increase … Read more

Case Study: How to Build a Successful B2B Loyalty Program

B2B Loyalty Case Study

B2B Loyalty Overview:

It is very true that there is no one-size-fits-all loyalty program. Especially not in the business-to-business industry. The B2B space is such a specific market with a narrower audience, so it must be treated as such. That means audience segmentation and personalized incentives are that much more important. This study will review how Annex Cloud helped two industry-leading companies build out their B2B loyalty programs and what impact it had on those brands.

Goals of B2B Loyalty:

Though the strategies may differ, there are several common goals of a B2B loyalty programs. These businesses both needed to increase customer spend and increase customer lifetime value. This can be challenging in B2B because the market is not only competitive but niche as well. They wanted to build brand advocacy and basically create a community of ambassadors. They also needed to reduce discounts on items. We live in an economy so deeply entrenched by discounting that retailers and B2B companies alike have the challenge of migrating away from it as to maximize product return.

Our Solution:

Every loyalty solution has its challenges but B2B requires another level of personalization. Both of these companies opted for Annex Cloud not only because we have a unified marketing platform with customer loyalty, user-generated content, and referral marketing capability, but also because we work with businesses to create a custom implementation strategy.

Annex Cloud also helps companies nurture their relationships with existing customers through personalized incentives, which in turn increases customer spend and average customer lifetime value. These incentives inspire customers to become brand advocates where they’re more likely to take actions like referring a friend or reviewing an item. It’s about following the customer journey from beginning to end and building a true community around their B2B brand.

B2B Rewards:

The key to rewarding in the business-to-business space is allowing your customers to sample your products risk-free. If you offer an impressive product catalog with a great loyalty offering, they are more likely to purchase. It’s a low risk scenario if built surrounding high-margin products. This B2B model implemented by Annex Cloud has proven to help support sales and drive revenue.

Consumer Electronics

Client A: Consumer Electronics

Objective:

Our client, a leading consumer electronics company, built a very successful model around selling office electronics like computers, monitors, copiers, and printers to small businesses around the world. They wanted to implement a B2B loyalty program that would sign up more users and build a community of brand advocates.

They had so many questions about best practices for strategy and segmentation. How do we best incentivize with the B2B model? How do we grow our customer base while creating meaningful relationships with our existing customer base? They chose Annex Cloud for its experience in creating very personalized incentives specific to the B2B industry.

Results:

Soon after launch, we saw major wins for the program. By designing a solution specific to our client’s B2B sales goals, we positioned them as a leader in SMB loyalty. Since initiating this campaign, we have already signed up over 100,000 businesses for the program. We also saw a 7% increase in repeat purchase rate and a 9% increase in customer lifetime value. However, probably the largest takeaway from the program has been building a community of 10,000 brand advocates. By building a custom solution with Annex Cloud and by leveraging their user-generated content, our client is seeing a huge increase in partnering businesses and overall brand awareness.

b2b loyalty

Client B: Physician Loyalty

Objective:

Our other client is a large specialty healthcare company with an array of products like over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals. Their primary objective was to build a loyalty program targeting physicians, which of course brought a lot of challenges. How do we keep a physician’s attention when there’s so much competition in healthcare? How do we reduce discounting and still keep them engaged? Luckily, Annex Cloud specializes in using long-term incentives to keep attention and to help reduce discounting.

Results:

By implementing a tiered program where discounts depend on the physicians’ spend, we have been able to see major benchmarks in performance. We have now signed up 70% of our client’s current customer base since the launch of the campaign. We also saw a 6% increase in customer spend and an 8% increase in customer lifetime value. But what we’re most impressed by is the 25% decrease in discounting. For a healthcare company of that scale, to reduce discounts by a quarter is a huge plus. By working with Annex Cloud to award returning customers and by personalizing incentives, our client was able to surpass its goals in customer acquisition and discounts.

To learn more about how Annex Cloud can help your business grow, contact us or schedule a demo today.

Boosting B2B Sales with Customer Loyalty + Advocate Marketing Software

B2B Sales with Customer Loyalty

In recent times, loyalty programs have gained more ground in the B2B segment, but same can’t be said about advocate marketing software.

Reasons for this disparity are apparent. More than a transaction, customer loyalty has always been a sentiment, regardless of the business type or segment. But advocacy, which isn’t just restricted to sharing and referrals, but also includes other solutions, such as Ratings and Reviews, Questions and Answers, and Visual Commerce has always been about virality.

Many B2B marketers have lived with the thought that their buyers will not find any motive to spread positive messages about their purchases, as unlike B2C products, B2B products can be too “technical” and less appealing to the masses. Yet advocate marketing–when done properly–is highly targeted, and can be used to appeal to the executives of the companies who make the buying decisions. The arrival of LinkedIn and other B2B forums paved the way to the means of catching and influencing those decision makers. All these factors, along with the following realizable benefits have strengthened the case for B2B advocate marketing software.

How B2B Advocate Marketing Software Shortens the Sales Cycle

A B2C sales and marketing team has to convince only a single person for the sale, as he is the sole decision maker. That’s not the case with a B2B team, as B2B products are often high ticket products. A lot is at stake with every purchase. Thus, there is no scope for impulse buying. To make sure that the decision is right, on an average, the corporate decision-making group involves 5.4 people. The number of people may increase if the deal is costly and complex. This is what delays the sales cycle of B2B products.

As it’s obvious, time is eaten by the lack of immediate trust in whatever communication has been put forth in front of B2B buyers. They remain suspicious. But if a recommendation for that product comes through referrals, one of the most powerful advocate marketing solutions, the trust deficit tends to reduce in size.

One study found that a referral from a brand advocate is 50% more likely to convert than a referral from a non-advocate. Furthermore, 86% of B2B buyers consider word-of-mouth to have the greatest impact on their purchasing decisions. Also, 49% of B2B marketers list their peers and colleagues as a top source of information, rising significantly from 20% in 2015. That’s why referrals are typically the highest converting lead source! On average, leads generated by B2B advocates are 4 to 10 times more valuable than regular leads. It doesn’t just shorten the sales cycle but also increases the win rates and larger order sizes. And all this is achieved by without breaking the bank. According to eMarketer, a company could fund an ongoing advocate marketing program for an entire year for about the cost of two full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal!

How B2B Advocate Marketing Software Aligns Marketing and Sales

After surveying 750 B2B marketers, Gleanster Research found that 90% of respondents believe that inability to align marketing activities with sales is one among their top concerns. The reason for this is that your sales people are ready with a list of customers who they can call on when they need references. But before they do that, customers are in no mood to listen to them. Because as per Forester’s report, 74% of buyers go online for business purchasing, and more than half (53%) would rather research online than speak with a salesperson.

This grim scenario can be changed by advocate marketing solutions. Advocates can easily identify, organize and mobilize the customers best-suited to each of these requests from a larger pool of advocates. It allows your sales people to choose the advocates who are most applicable to your industry, seniority and use cases.

How B2B Advocate Marketing Software Energizes Content Marketing

The B2B segment is notorious for not sending content to its target audience. It is believed that up to 70% of content produced by B2B marketers goes unused. As content is the only way to bring your business in front of people who don’t want to initially be bothered by your sales team, this is too huge a loss. But by getting advocates to share your content to their networks and other important channels, advocate marketing solutions can form a well-oiled content distribution channel.

Moreover, advocates can also assist you by crowdsourcing content through surveys, interviews, product reviews, and more. With the help of activities such as blog commenting and online reputation management through Ratings and Reviews, they can also boost your SEO efforts and inbound lead capture.

Apart from these key benefits, advocates also help in enhancing customer engagement. But all these lucrative and shiny benefits of advocate marketing solutions can be milked in a much better way when linked with the loyalty software. This claim has stemmed from the below listed two reasons.

How B2B Advocate Marketing Software and Customer Loyalty Address Data Deficiencies 

The same Gleanster Research has also concluded that access to existing customer data as well as failure in collecting the right customer data is also the top concerns raised by B2B marketers. Implementing a B2B customer loyalty program along with advocate marketing software will give a complete picture of buyers’ behavior.

You’ll get data such as addresses, social networks, buying frequency, overall spend on the purchase, total reviews written, total questions answered and total referrals sent. It’s almost like a 360-degree view of your customer. After analyzing all these data, a B2B marketer can decide which customer needs which types of products and communication. He can also activate those customers who have been at the forefront in praising his brand by bringing them into the circle of brand advocates.

How B2B Advocate Marketing Software and Customer Loyalty Makes Your Audience More Vocal

A loyal customer doesn’t just spend more money by buying from you again and again. He spends more time enhancing your brand’s image too. More than a non-loyal customer, he will be more likely to write more positive reviews about your product. Likewise, he will send more referrals and will fight your case more strongly by ridiculing the false criticism directed towards your brand through writing apt answers in your Questions and Answers platform. But to do that, he needs all these advocate marketing solutions. It can be made possible if and only if loyalty and advocate marketing solutions get into the groove of an alliance.

Note: To run a successful advocate strategy, you need have advocates first. Go through our white paper to know how to convert your loyal customers into advocates. Plus, this white paper of ours will enable you in setting up your own advocacy program.

B2B Loyalty Statistics: Take Advantage of an Overlooked Opportunity

b2b loyalty statistics

B2B is a field that thrives off of retention due to its typically long sales cycles and high acquisition costs. That’s why more and more marketers are turning towards B2B loyalty programs to help them keep clients coming back. Our collection of B2B loyalty statistics will give you a much better picture of the landscape.

B2B Loyalty Statistics: The Value of a Retained Client

  • Reducing churn by as little as 5% can increase profitability by 20% to 125%. – Destination CRM
  • The likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, compared to 5% to 20% for a new one. – Marketing Metrics
  • The average mid-sized B2B company receives 30% of its revenue from existing customers. – Ko Marketing

B2B Loyalty Statistics: Customer Engagement

  • 29% of B2B clients are considered to be fully engaged. – Gallup
  • 28% of business service buyers rate their vendor relationship as “very good,” while 56% mark theirs as “good.” – LinkedIn
  • 40% to 50% of companies haven’t introduced a new vendor in the last 5 years. – B2B International

B2B Loyalty Statistics: Marketers’ Priorities

  • 68% of B2B executives say that clients are less loyal than they used to be. – Bain
  • 55% of B2B marketers say that improving engagement is a top priority for their content marketing programs. – Ascend 2
  • 81% of B2B marketing executives are shifting their budgets to become more customer-focused. – Leapfrog
  • As of 2016, 54% of B2B marketers said that making customers more loyal was a leading business challenge–a 10% increase from 2015. – B2B International
  • B2B marketers think that customer experience, personalization, and big data present the biggest opportunities for the next five years. – Adobe
  • 82% of surveyed B2B marketers at mid-sized firms say that they have management objectives tied to acquisition revenue, compared to 48% who say the same for retention revenue. – Ko Marketing
  • 43% of surveyed mid-size B2B firms have customer satisfaction as a key goal. – Ko Marketing

Amid these B2B loyalty statistics, it’s clear that most clients don’t feel engaged, despite a quality experience being a differentiating factor in sales and retention. Some marketers are realizing the greater need for systematic retention tactics to minimize churn and maximize profits, but others are still facing a lot of pressure to put acquisition first. The fact is that by 2020, customer experience is expected to be the primary differentiator for B2B sales.

B2B marketers can’t just make experiences entertaining and easy for new clients and then forget all about their existing ones. A loyalty program is the simplest way to gather and store actionable data, nurture engagement, and boost retention. You can even get happy clients to spread the word about you by offering them incentives like loyalty points in exchange for actions like referring colleagues or writing reviews!

Indeed, Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360, has a good reason to say that “B2B-type loyalty programs are growing significantly.” They provide marketers with valuable opportunities to get client input, educate customers, reward their strongest advocates and top buyers, and more.

Check out our posts about differentiating your B2B brand with loyalty as well as B2B advocate marketing with referrals and reviews!

B2B Loyalty Programs: Give Clients That Extra Incentive

B2B Loyalty Programs

Business to business (B2B) companies are highly dependent on loyalty, perhaps even more so than your standard business to consumer firm. Because so many B2B purchases have lengthy purchase cycles that require significant sales effort, if customer loyalty were to fall by the wayside, tons of these companies would become completely unprofitable. That’s why B2B loyalty programs are quite often an effective way to incentivize contract renewals, differentiate your company, and prompt happy clients to speak positively about your business.

B2B Loyalty: Reasons for Customers to Come Back

The simple logic of customer loyalty programs is that if you give the right incentives to your customers, whether they’re individual shoppers or other businesses,  it will be helpful in cutting short the lengthy buying cycle of this industry. And loyalty programs work like magic in incentivizing your customer’s purchase or any other non-buying behavior, like sharing about your product on social media. Incentives are definitely a huge reason for them to become your regular if not frequent buyers. Through this, the lifetime value of a customer is enhanced and it gets reflected in your revenue numbers. After all, 46% of shoppers change the brands they buy to maximize loyalty benefits.

B2B Loyalty Marketing: Differentiation, Even Before the Purchase

Frankly speaking, there is very little you can do to differentiate your store, online or physical, based on the product segments. Even if you are a manufacturer, coming up with a completely new and magical product is a work of a lot of money and time. Thus, the other thing, in fact the only thing that can differentiate you from the fierce competitors is the way you treat your customers. And loyalty programs are a great tool to do that. Through your loyalty program, if you can give your customers more than a mere product by giving them a discount on their next purchase or exclusive access to your premium products and customer care services, it’s a clear cut differentiating factor. Your innovative ways to reward your customers can become your USP. Remember that it can be a powerful weapon to stay relevant in the market in which ecommerce giants like Amazon are also entering!

Think only the B2C services of your company will benefit from a loyalty program? Think again. Forrester analyst Emily Collins notes, “B2B companies stand to benefit from three core tenets valued by B2C marketers, which have nothing to do with discounting and everything to do with building a flexible, customer-obsessed loyalty strategy.” These three values are:

  • A deep understanding of customer needs and motivations
  • Consistent customer interactions across organizational silos
  • An adaptive strategy that accounts for the changing customer and market landscape

B2B Loyalty, Upgraded with Referrals

Loyalty and referrals always go hand in hand. It’s quite understandable too. Unless and until the customer is loyal, he will not tell friends about your products. Secondly, with a loyalty program in your hand, you have all the basic infrastructure, like a robust dashboard with accounts, points, a reward system, and customer data. That is exactly what is needed to run a good and healthy referral program. The gathering of the above-mentioned resources needs a systematic investment of time and money. It’s wise enough to use the same resources for two activities.

Besides, referrals come from trusted business colleagues, peers, or friends. They are not forwarded by marketers. Thus, the trust level is almost unmatchable to any other paid campaigns. It’s not a coincidence that the vast majority (more than 80%) of Americans seek recommendations when making a purchase of any kind. A whopping 84% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral. What makes it even favorable is the minimum investment that such referral programs need. You are using your existing customers to get more customers from their circle. Despite this low barrier to starting a referral program, only 30% of B2B companies have a formalized one!

Check out our post about B2B advocate marketing with referrals and reviews to learn more about getting your satisfied customers to spread the word about your brand!

For more information about combining your loyalty program with advocate marketing tactics like referrals, check out our white paper, “Advocate Loyalty: A Four-Point Strategy!”

The Dynamic Duo of B2B Advocate Marketing: Reviews and Referrals

BUSINESS SUPPLY MARKETING

The B2B products and services sector is massive. It includes tools, equipment, motors, hardware machines, office supplies, and many other items without which the infrastructure and functioning of other industries might suffer a severe dent. But it has stayed away from modern marketing ploys like user generated content and referral programs owing to its longer life cycle and higher price range. But no business exists without loyal customers who will refer your products to their peers. Here we’ll talk about these two keys to B2B advocate marketing: reviews and referrals.

B2B Advocate Marketing with Reviews

It’s very natural that people want to know everything in detail about the products that they are buying. Whether it’s a printer, desk, or industrial vacuum, buyers need to know about durability and reliability.

While ordinary B2C consumers have their own concerns about the products they buy, they’re responsible to only themselves or, at most, their families. Business buyers, however, have entire organizations that rely on their decisions. Think of an office manager tasked with getting new chairs for 50 people, or an IT team leader who needs their project to be on time and under budget.

These buyers need to make reliable purchases. They need a sense of trust and the credibility that comes with authentic user generated content from people like them.

That’s where in the form of ratings and reviews plays a huge role. The significance of ratings and reviews lies in the fact that they act as social proof. When more and more people are sharing good reviews about your products or services, trust in your business increases.  The following graph shows how the number of stars in reviews directly affects the number of orders for a given product.

Reviews and Referrals

 

For more information about ratings and reviews, take a look at our brand new white paper answering your top ratings and reviews questions! Or, read our ratings and reviews best practices ebook!

B2B Advocate Marketing with Sharing and Referrals

The trust and reliability factor discussed above can also be addressed through sharing and referral solutions. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend or colleague.

Some people associate referral marketing with quick discounts, which can be a valid tactic for certain B2B marketers. However, sharing and referrals cover a flexible range of solutions that have different configurations. You can make the incentive for referring, sharing, and buying be anything you’d like!

If your B2B business has an AOV of, for example, $100, maybe a 10% referral discount makes sense. If you sell expensive software or machinery, perhaps the incentive should be something like 3 months of free maintenance and support.

Word of mouth marketing solutions have the adaptability to generate impressive ROI across many verticals. In our most recent case study, for example, a footwear manufacturer is seeing a 10:1 ROI and a 38% increase in orders over 1 year thanks to our Sharing and Referrals and Social Login solutions!

To Conclude…

B2B marketing professionals as a whole have to understand that the benefits of reviews and referral programs are immense and many other industries are benefiting from them. Given that a fair amount of industrial and business supply companies sell to both the B2C and B2B markets, there’s a dual purpose that each of these tactics can serve.

Don’t forget that both reviews and referrals can be enhanced with omni-channel components. Find out more about offline reviews here, and get all the details on omni-channel reviews in this post!

The Differences Between B2C and B2B Advocate Marketing

B2C and B2B Advocate Marketing

There is a basic difference between B2B and B2C companies when it comes to many of their marketing and sales activities. Brand advocacy is not any different and thus there is a difference between B2B advocate marketing and B2C advocate marketing. But at the same time, they strive for the same goal and that is to influence people to bring more and more sales. Thus, some lines, colors, and hues will be there in the both the paintings of B2C and B2B advocate marketing.

Whether we’re discussing the similarities or the differences between the two, it helps to start with a definition. Both B2C and B2B advocate marketing can be said to be:

The practice of pinpointing, targeting, and activating your most vocal customers to market on behalf of your brand by referring friends or colleagues, writing reviews, connecting with you on social media, and so on.

A) Communication: As there is a fundamental difference in the people that B2B and B2C marketing target, the way they communicate also has to be different. B2C communication can me more fun-oriented and aspiration arousing. Spicy taglines laced with slang may work here. But that’s not so much the case with B2B advocates. They have to look and sound like knowledgable professionals.

More than being entertaining or enthralling, they have to be able to articulate the benefits of your products in a scholarly and factual way. B2B advocate marketing messages should be backed up by a strong platform of common sense and logic. The reason is, at the end of the day, you are pitching your product to business people who are very well acquainted with all the marketing and psychological ploys that your advocate might be using. So, it’s very difficult to win their hearts based on pure emotional or psychological tactics. They need facts!

B) Content Strategy: Virality of content is the keystone to a B2C advocate content strategy. To be sharable is the prerequisite for B2C content advocacy success. Thus, blogs and social media accounts are vital tools for a B2C brand advocate. By adding share buttons on your blog, you will enable your readers to share your content across social channels with a single click. Of course, the option of visual content is also open.

With B2B advocate marketing, as we have discussed, content has to be somewhere on the level of thought leadership, coupled with a complete explanation of the product functionality and benefits, proofs of its success to appeal to the rationality of the decision maker and so on. And thus more than blogs, other content forms like white papers, case studies, one-pagers, e-books or infographics might work better for the B2B brand advocate. The likelihood of B2C advocates sharing case studies or white papers about anything but extremely expensive purchases is low.

C) Number Of People To Convince: As the only entity that B2C brand advocacy understands is the single and isolated customer, it has to deal with a single decision maker. Even though people take advice from many people while buying a car or selecting a foreign trip location, the decision-making powers solely lie with them. In short, as a B2C advocate, you will have to convince only a single person per buying decision.

But with B2B, there’s rarely an individual buyer. On average, the corporate decision-making group involves 5.4 people. The number of people may increase if the deal is costly and a lot is at stake. It simply means you have to answer to more people and you have to convince more people for a single purchase decision. No wonder then that B2B has a lengthy buying process as it generally takes a time to reach some consensus when the decision-making unit is large.

D) Channels:

Social Media Channels

Every business activity intended to reach people is incomplete without social media. It’s more than true irrespective of whether you’re doing B2C or B2B advocate marketing because your target customers are there on the multiple platforms of social media. But as every platform has a different purpose and usability, it’s important to understand which platform is more natural for which sort of advocacy.

For B2C, Facebook has been a staple due to its enormous reach and effect. But with the growing importance of the visual content, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are also becoming favorite destinations of B2C advocates. The reason is simple…the very nature of these platforms is like a digital hangout where you can speak whatever comes to your mind. It’s a way to display your personal feelings and thoughts.

For B2B, LinkedIn still remains the most important.  As it was created as a professional network where professionals from every sector can communicate, it’s obvious that B2B advocates should use it as much as possible. Many important people from the business world have their presence on LinkedIn. You can tap them. Besides, discussion groups, in particular, should be leveraged as much as possible for not only engagement but content distribution. Believe me…understanding the platform and its behavior have paramount importance. It’s unlikely that the CEO or MD will talk about your software solutions on Facebook. For him or her, LinkedIn is better suited. It may make or break your advocacy game!

E) Different Challenges: Both B2C and B2B advocate marketing have to face different challenges. In B2C advocacy, you have to create a pitch which is full of personalization with the undertone of why the product, which you are recommending, can make a little or big change in the lives of your target customers. Similarly, the scale of B2C is huge. Just imagine how many coffees Starbucks must have sold in the last year. You will have to reach and convince most of them either to come back again or refer their friends. Naturally, it has to have quality monitoring.

The biggest challenge for a B2B advocate is that each company has a different buying process. Buying is never an impulsive decision in B2B purchasing. And thus each company follows certain steps before they decide anything on the final purchase decision. You will have to understand their process. You will have to mold yourself to see where you can fit in their things of schemes along with interacting with the right prospect at the right time. It’s not as easy as it sounds!

To Conclude… Indeed, even though the basic concept of advocacy remains same in B2B and B2C setups, there are some obvious differences. And those differences primarily stem from the difference in the target customers. But few things remain same- need to communicate powerfully and effectively with the customers naturally pops up in the mind in that context. Because whether its B2C or B2B, ultimately it’s B2P, i.e. business to people!

Note: To run a successful advocate strategy, you need have advocates first. Go through our white paper, “21 Ways to Turn Your Customers into Advocates” to discover how to convert your loyal customers into advocates. For a bigger-picture approach, check out “Advocate Loyalty: A Four-Point Strategy!”

3 Essentials for Business Supply Marketing

BUSINESS SUPPLY MARKETING

The business supplies and equipment industry is huge. It includes tools, equipment, motors, hardware machines, office supplies, and many other items without which the infrastructure and functioning of other industries might suffer a severe dent. But it has stayed away from modern marketing ploys like loyalty programs and referral programs owing to its longer life cycle and higher price range. But no business exists without a need of loyal customers who will refer your products to their friends. Here we’ll talk about these keys to business supply marketing…

Business Supply Marketing with Loyalty: Reasons for Customers to Come Back

The simple logic of customer loyalty programs  is that if you give the right incentives to your customers, whether they’re consumers or other businesses,  it will be helpful in cutting short the lengthy buying cycle of this industry. And loyalty programs work like magic in incentivizing your customer’s purchase or any other non-buying behavior, like sharing about your product on social media. Incentives are definitely a huge reason for them to become your regular if not frequent buyers. Through this, the lifetime value of a customer is enhanced and it gets reflected in your revenue numbers. After all, 46% of shoppers change the brands they buy to maximize loyalty benefits.

Business Supply Marketing with Loyalty: Differentiation

Frankly speaking, there is very little you can do to differentiate your store, online or physical, based on the product segments. Even if you are a manufacturer, coming up with a completely new and magical product is a work of a lot of money and time. Thus, the other thing, in fact the only thing that can differentiate you from the fierce competitors is the way you treat your customers. And loyalty programs are a great tool to do that. Through your loyalty program, if you can give your customers more than a mere product by giving them a discount on their next purchase or exclusive access to your premium products and customer care services, it’s a clear cut differentiating factor. Your innovative ways to reward your customers can become your USP. Remember that it can be a powerful weapon to stay relevant in the market in which ecommerce giants like Amazon are also entering!

Think only the B2C services of your company will benefit from a loyalty program? Think again. Forrester analyst Emily Collins notes, “B2B companies stand to benefit from three core tenets valued by B2C marketers, which have nothing to do with discounting and everything to do with building a flexible, customer-obsessed loyalty strategy.” These three values are:

  • A deep understanding of customer needs and motivations
  • Consistent customer interactions across organizational silos
  • An adaptive strategy that accounts for the changing customer and market landscape

Business Supply Marketing with Loyalty and Referrals

Loyalty and referrals always go hand in hand. It’s quite understandable too. Unless and until the customer is loyal, he will not tell friends about your products. Secondly, with a loyalty program in your hand, you have all the basic infrastructure, like a robust dashboard with accounts, points, a reward system, and customer data. That is exactly what is needed to run a good and healthy referral program. The gathering of the above-mentioned resources needs a systematic investment of time and money. It’s wise enough to use the same resources for two activities.

Besides, referrals come from trusted business colleagues, peers, or friends. They are not forwarded by marketers. Thus, the trust level is almost unmatchable to any other paid campaigns. It’s not a coincidence that the vast majority (more than 80%) of Americans seek recommendations when making a purchase of any kind. A whopping 84% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral. What makes it even favorable is the minimum investment that such referral programs need. You are using your existing customers to get more customers from their circle. Despite this low barrier to starting a referral program, only 30% of B2B companies have a formalized one!

For more information about combining your loyalty program with advocate marketing tactics like referrals, check out our white paper, “Advocate Loyalty: A Four-Point Strategy!” Don’t forget that our most recent case study shows a 10:1 ROI and 38% increase in orders with our Sharing and Referrals and Social Login solutions.

Business Supply Marketing with Reviews:

It’s very natural that people want to know in detail about the products that they are buying from you. Whether it’s a printer, desk, or industrial vacuum, buyers need to know about durability and reliability.

Nothing is as trustworthy as experiences of other ordinary buyers like themselves. That’s where ratings and reviews play a huge role. The significance of ratings and reviews lies in the fact that they act as a social proof. When more and more people are sharing good reviews about your product or customer service, it’s like getting a validity. At a subconscious level, people start to believe it which is in accordance with the human nature. The following graph will show how the number of more stars in reviews directly affect the number of orders for a given product.

Business Supply Marketing with Reviews

 

For more information about ratings and reviews, take a look at our brand new white paper answering your top ratings and reviews questions! Or, read our ratings and reviews best practices ebook!

To Conclude… Business supply marketing professionals as a whole have to understand that the benefits of loyalty, reviews, and referral programs are immense and many other industries are benefiting from them. Given that a fair amount of industrial and business supply companies sell to both the B2C and B2B markets, there’s a dual purpose that each of these tactics can serve.

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