Business to business relationships are different from those that companies develop with consumers. Strategies that you develop to draw consumers often fall flat when dealing with vendors and suppliers.
On the other hand, some avenues you use to reach consumers are also viable paths to developing B2B relationships – if you adapt them properly.
One Size Does Not Fit All
The major focus of B2C strategies is to draw as many customers as possible. In some cases, this requires business owners to segment the market, and target outreach efforts accordingly. However, the emphasis on B2C communications is group oriented.
This is not the case with B2B relationships. Each relationship is unique, and each relationship requires an individual focus. Even when you have more than one vendor or supplier for a specific product or tool that you use in your business, your approach with each vendor should be personalized.
Communications between you and your vendors or suppliers should be individualized. You don’t have to resort to handwritten letters, although they can be a nice touch if your company is small enough. Instead, you must tailor your communications to each B2B supplier, client or vendor based on factors such as the length of the relationship and the nature of transactions that take place.
The preferences of your vendors or suppliers also play a major role in how you handle B2B communications. Don’t guess at what your B2B customers want; ask them. Surveys are acceptable if your business is very large, but for small and medium sized businesses, it’s better to pick up the phone or send written communications by hard copy or email
Simply keeping in touch is essential, and not just when you have something to sell or a service to offer. Set aside regular intervals on your calendar to reach out to clients, whether you’re working with them currently or not. However, in-person visits are not always welcome, especially if your B2B customers perceive them merely as sales calls. Again, your customers’ preferences determine whether to make outreach attempts by telephone, in writing or face to face.
Social Media and Your Website
The Internet has altered nearly every aspect of 21st century life in post-industrialized countries. B2B communication is no exception. Social media represents a tremendous opportunity to engage with your B2B suppliers, not with “likes” or fans, but by enabling two-way interchanges and providing information that potential clients or customers need to make a decision to use your services, with the intention of motivating them to pick up the phone or send an email to you, thereby initiating one-on-one communications.
For instance, your LinkedIn profile should include enough information about your credentials to give potential B2B customers confidence that you can handle their jobs. Your company should also have a profile on LinkedIn that is coordinated with your business’s website.
Organize your website with B2B customers in mind. If you have several pages on your website, include information on your landing page to answer potential initial questions B2B customers may have about your products or services. Provide more detailed information about your operations on interior pages, and include clearly indicated contact information, either on a dedicated contact page or near the bottom of an interior page.
Consumers may make purchases based on brand loyalty or even based on a clever commercial, print or Internet ad. B2B customers work with merchants or service providers that they know and trust. Building and maintaining the trust of B2B clients takes time and effort, but the rewards are substantial. On the other hand, failing to do so can cripple or even kill your business.
For Further Information
- • Building Business to Business Relationships With Service
- • Cultivate Business Relationships on Your Website
- • How to Build Business Relationships
- • How Women Entrepreneurs Get Social When Selling to the Government
David Kendall contributed this guest post on behalf of WhoIsHostingThis.com – find out more about their hosting reviews. David is a freelance business writer and his articles appear on various online business publications.
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