As a business operating in the B2B or business-to-business field, client loyalty and retention is of utmost importance. This is why loyalty marketing is a necessity for B2B organizations. Retaining clients is more cost-effective than attracting new ones. Therefore, making sure that your clients stay and still patronize your services should be a priority. Retaining clients boils down to two things really:
- positive engagement with the client
- and your care for them.
Nailing those two factors will solve almost 95% of your problems. It is given that quality products and services will be the core of your customer’s satisfaction. However, if your goal is to make your clients actually look forward to doing business with you, loyalty programs are the way to go.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C customer loyalty programs?
Although B2B and B2C loyalty programs have a few things in common, there are still glaring differences. For instance, business to business loyalty programs are more calm and moderate — less aggressive. B2B loyalty programs (also referred to as B2B customer loyalty program) are also more personalized and dependent on the client’s needs for their business. Meanwhile, B2C loyalty programs are made for their general customers — not specialized or personalized to each one. Before venturing into loyalty programs, there are key points you need to keep in mind.
- The buying potential and buying habits of your client. Before offering a loyalty program, make sure that it fits their needs and budget.
- Business benefits. Your clients are business owners themselves. Keep them coming back by creating programs that will surely benefit their business for the long haul.
- Your loyalty programs should fit their business model or type. Every business is different, hence their needs are different too. Deal with this challenge by integrating a CRM platform to keep real-time updates of customer information and communications. It’ll help you create a loyalty program suited to the needs of each of your clients.
How Does Being a B2B Business Affect the Rewards You Offer?
Being a B2B organization hugely affects the rewards and loyalty programs you offer. Since you are not a B2C business, your loyalty programs are going to be different. Your programs won’t be as aggressive. However, they will be direct and pretty straight forward. Your loyalty programs should always focus on the betterment of your client’s business — let them see that staying with you is an investment.
Start this by building trust, which you can foster through transparency. Customers value privacy and clear communication – two valuable reasons that they’d want to work with you again. This is something you can achieve by being transparent. If you study e-commerce statistics, you will see that 50% of customers say they would use a company again if they had a good customer experience. But the opposite is also true: 67% of customers have mentioned a bad customer experience as a reason for not returning as a customer. Also, don’t forget to delight your clients with gifts and rewards. After all, no customers can pass up with something of value, for free (also in B2B). The rewards and loyalty programs will be more personalized for each client and their business.
What Are the Best Rewards and Loyalty Programs?
When creating a business-to-business loyalty program, there are numerous factors to consider. But what makes a loyalty program effective and successful? Loyalty programs are successful when they are well researched and drafted to fit a client’s business needs. Your loyalty programs will best serve their purpose when they are personalized to meet the client’s needs for the long haul. Below we present and discuss four effective B2B loyalty program types, along with an effective example of a B2B loyalty program for each B2B loyalty program type (without diving into the details of a complete case study).
1. Tiered Incentives
The moment that incentives are offered, customer engagement and interactions arise. Who wouldn’t want discounts, right? You can do this by starting with a simple membership rewards program. This will help encourage your consumers to sign up for the loyalty programs you offer. An excellent example of this is IBM VIP Rewards. Through this program, IBM recognizes and engages their clients by allowing them to earn reward points, climb the leaderboards, and redeem their points for physical or non-physical perks.
2. Co-marketing and Support Activities
Partnering with your client in a marketing campaign is a great loyalty program. But it is also a great way to attract and gather more potential clients. Partnering and splitting co-marketing activities will be great exposure for your business to business company. You also get to build your bond and train your partnered client more. You are basically hitting a lot of birds with one stone with this strategy. MailChimp’s Partner Program is an example of this. Those considered partners can take advantage of exclusive benefits, opportunities, and insights that help grow their business courtesy of the company.
3. Referral Programs
This referral program is one of the most popular, easiest and beneficial programs you could run. Referral programs are drafted in such a way that the current clients get incentives to gather potential clients. These newly registered clients will also be eligible to participate in the referral program. This loyalty program is a total win-win for everyone. WeWork Member Referral Program is a nice example of it. The company builds office spaces for other businesses. Its referral program provides the people who refer WeWork with one complimentary month per 12-month commitment. Referrers may be eligible to receive up to $5000 for their referrals.
4. Transaction-based Discounts
Although this loyalty program mirrors a B2C approach, it can still work best in a B2B environment. When a client completes an order, they are offered discounts for the next transactions in a specific time frame. This will encourage them to sign up for the membership program. VitalityMedical, a supplier of medical supplies, offers this kind of reward through bulk order discounts. Customers can get products at a much better price when they buy them in multiple quantities. There you have it. These B2B loyalty program examples are tried and tested loyalty programs that work wonders in B2B e-commerce. Consider them as B2B loyalty program best practice examples; as ideas worth exploring in your own company. Try them and see how your business fares in driving sales and customer engagement!
About The Author
Today’s blog was written for the Insights Unboxed blog by a guest contributor.
Lianna Arakelyan is a digital marketing junkie to the extreme with a knack for social media marketing strategy and implementation at muchneeded.com. She is extreme in her work, with a deep goal of always being updated on online and offline marketing news of the world.