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9 Stellar Customer Retention Strategies for B2B

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, August 10, 2022

9 top customer retention strategies


It’s no secret that customer retention tends to cost a lot less than new customer acquisition. However, not every organization has a strong customer retention strategy in place.

From boosting revenues to unlocking loyalty, a business-to-business (B2B) customer retention program can support company-wide goals and become a cornerstone for customer success.

Customer Retention Statistics

Customer retention is expressed in a simple equation[ii], by calculating your average customer churn rate. Having a baseline for this percentage will help you set goals and measure results.

Start with the number of customers that you have at the beginning of a time period; add the number of new customers (in case they are retained); subtract the number of customers lost; divide the number of customers lost by the number of customers at the beginning of the month; multiply by 100 to express your retention rate as a percentage.

Use variables that make sense for your industry. If you manufacture ink cartridges that are highly expendable, monthly retention is a valid time frame. If you manufacture printers, the time frame should be longer as printers should last longer than ink cartridges.

Retained customers are worth their weight in gold. In terms of ROI, new customer advertisements are only 5% effective, while existing customers are likely to purchase additional products or replace their older products with your offerings 70% of the time.

There is a growing awareness that customer service and support teams have a role to play that goes beyond resolving issues. For 2022, 64% of customer service and support leaders cited growing the business as one of their top goals. And with market penetration representing more than half of overall spending for B2B companies, a strong retention strategy is more important than ever.

Sales and Marketing Strategies

As the first step of any sales funnel, customer retention begins with sales and marketing.

The first step in selling your product is to know your audience. Your company already has a wealth of information regarding your best customers such as what item(s) they purchase and the frequency with which they purchase. You can also partner with an industry leader in manufacturing companies such as IndustrySelect[iii] to find vital information regarding email segmentation for outreach programs.

This segmentation enables what Forbes calls “humanistic automation”[iv]. A generic email list, company newsletter, Tweet or LinkedIn post can be automated, scheduled weeks in advance so that your customers hear from you on a regular basis. Untargeted, though, such outreach efforts border on spam.

Using segmented lists and hashtags, your sales and marketing forces can tailor the message to better meet the needs of your customers.

Continuing with the ink and printer example, since you manufacture ink cartridges, you know that not all ink cartridges are created equal. Some of your customers use colored ink sparingly. Other customers print everything in color and prefer high capacity tanks.

Still other customers print photographs and use specialized ink cartridges. No matter how loyal the customer is, if he doesn’t print in color, he will not be interested in specialized color cartridges and will view your post as spam. Your photography customers, on the other hand, will be thrilled to hear that your company has created a new printer with high-definition cartridges that will ensure a crisper, cleaner final product.

Top Strategies for B2B Customer Retention

The following strategies will help you build a better customer retention program.

1. Keep your Customers Engaged

Once you have identified your key customers, keep them engaged with your company beyond the point of sale. One simple and effective method is a customer survey. Ask your best customers if they could help your company by answering a few, brief questions. Target the questions to your segmented audiences, analyze and act on the feedback that you receive[v].

2. Changes at the Operational Level

A strong B2B customer retention program calls for a company culture that values customers. There might be some changes needed at the operational level to remove barriers between sales, marketing and customer service teams. This approach will result in a more consistent experience.

3. Value Enhancement

It’s important to understand the B2B customer journey that leads to the initial sale. However, you also need to analyze the post-sale stage that results in retention.

Knowing more about the post-sale stage will help you develop new products and services for value enhancement. While high-effort issue resolution results in a 37% probability of a customer staying with your organization, value enhancement improves this percentage to 82%.

Value enhancement is about helping customers get more out of the solution they adopted. It can be a strong differentiator for your organization. There are different options to explore, including educational resources, training, implementation as a service, improved support, and more.

4. Have a Go-To Person as a Contact Point

Having a go-to contact point means this person will become familiar with the ins and outs of the customer’s organization. Besides delivering better support, they will be able to recommend new solutions aligned with the changing needs of the customer. Plus, having a go-to person the customer can contact will bring a human dimension to their experience and help establish trust.

5. Foster Brand Ambassadors

You can improve customer retention further by turning your highly engaged customers into brand ambassadors[vi] and encouraging user-generated content (USG). Studies show that prospective customers are four times more likely to click on an ad with UGC than they are to randomly click on a company-generated ad. Of course, you are trying to sell your product. It’s your business model. However, having another user of your ink cartridges explain how they are superior to any other cartridge carries far more weight with the average consumer.

Chances are good that some of your members’ friends, family and business associates will also see the UGCs. If so, that’s even better for your company, as 42% of consumers are loyal to a brand that is recommended by someone they know and respect, such as a friend or family member.

6. Teamwork

Working in partnership with your most loyal customers is the easiest and most profitable way to expand your customer base. With their assistance, you will change your new customers from silver to gold, create a cache of ideas for product improvements, and develop meaningful sales and marketing campaigns that will show your gold customers just how much you value their opinions.

7. Lifecycle management

Marketing automation can help with customer retention. It’s easy to set up a campaign with automated messages for customers whose contract renewal date is coming close. You can facilitate repeat purchases by educating customers about the different options you offer or simply by offering deals for value-conscious customers.

8. Use Data and Feedback

A strong data collection and analytics program will support your customer retention efforts. There are different ways of getting value out of your data:

• Product reviews, customer service logs, support tickets and customer interviews can reveal important insights into customer satisfaction and potential pain. Use this data to improve the product or service you offer or to develop new post-sale services.

• Reviewing data points that occurred before a renewal or customer dropping out can help you understand what shaped this decision and what could have been done better.

• Analytics can help you identify the factors that make for a high-risk customer.

• Data can also support a strategy centered around value segmentation. With value segmentation, you can identify customers who are likely to have a higher lifetime value so you can focus your retention efforts on those who have a strong probability of spending more.

9. Get to Know Your Audience Better

The more you know about your audience, the better you’ll be able to target the right customers for acquisition and personalize your B2B customer retention efforts.

IndustrySelect can help you improve your customer retention strategy by providing you with detailed profiles for almost half a million industrial businesses. Sign up for a free demo today and start building a better customer retention program around accurate data points for your target audience.

Article Sources:
[i] https://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/makenewfriends.php
[ii] https://www.fool.com/the-blueprint/customer-retention/
[iii] https://www.industryselect.com/
[iv] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/02/05/five-churn-reduction-and-customer-retention-strategies/?sh=a7fd856d7fe8
[v] https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-retention-strategies
[vi] https://www.annexcloud.com/blog/customer-retention-strategies-manufacturers/



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