A recent study on the top-selling points that business customers value most revealed that vendor reputation (53%) trumped price (47%). Vendor reputation is built on trust and a history of mutual benefit between the two companies.
Creating better BTB relationships is the cornerstone of all successful marketing plans. Often times the cold financial forecasts and profit-focused mentality clouds the best judgment of business leaders. The business loses its “human element” and the heart of the organization begins to fail.
How to create BTB relationships that help build a strong reputation as a company other companies can trust? How does a business earn and keep a reputation of integrity and genuine value-based interest with other businesses? Keep reading for our 7 top tips for building BTB relationships that will last and flourish.
Tips for Creating Better BTB Relationships
One of the biggest myths about business is that business is about making money. This mentality of profit over all else may not be the best mindset for creating a value strong product or service.
The truth is – BTB is about helping businesses get what they need to help their customers and clients better than the competition. All of the following tips are methods of doing the same thing – building trust and creating loyalty with other businesses.
1. Create Value Above Cost
The term “customer service” often conjures up visions of cost-sinks and closing profit margins because the long term gains are difficult to perceive while the immediate expense is all too real to the bottom line. Simply put, creating value in the form of great customer service doesn’t always translate directly and immediately to bigger profits.
Creating value is a long term strategy that slowly builds a company’s reputation in the industry. The famous quote “the customer is always right” highlights the importance of valuing the business relationship over potential short-term losses.
2. Proactively Develop Relationships
The business to business relationship is a partnership. You don’t want to have your partners feeling as if you don’t know them, their company, and their company’s needs in the market. Relationships are not magically developed. It takes effort.
A customer advisory board is an excellent way to give your business customers a voice. This will increase awareness and communication of what is working and what needs work. The advisory board should be small yet representative of your customer base.
3. Be Relatable and Personable
The bigger a company becomes the more likely it will start to feel like a cold and heartless corporation void of the humanity that created it. An easy way to combat this is to assign representatives to all your business accounts.
Customer service representatives should develop a close relationship with their accounts as policy. Prioritize training towards personable, reliable, friendly, and regular communication with their assigned customers. Keep detailed files on each business relationship. Document all transactions, complaints, concerns, and suggestions that come up. Use this valuable information to adjust your customer service approach.
4. Electronic data interchange (EDI) Integration
Business communication is largely done online and much of these communications can be more efficient with EDI workflow between your company and your business partners. Electronic data interchange integration can be an intimidating and complicated process but in the end, having such protocols will strengthen your relationship by making business communication constant and consistent. For more information about EDI and VAN integration check out this guide.
5. Look for Additional Needs
It is easy to get caught up with filling orders and requests from your business customers and forget that fundamental principle of business – helping people by providing a product and service they need or desire. Always be on the lookout for ways you can better help your business customers succeed in their business.
A great way to boost confidence in the relationship is to respond to the needs of your customers before they even ask. This is especially true if doing so doesn’t directly earn your company more money. The simple question of what can we do to better serve your business needs will certainly help with BTB relationships.
6. Keep Communication Channels Open
According to Lee Resource for every dissatisfied customer that contacts your company to complain there are 26 other unhappy customers that say nothing. The only way to know if your customers are happy with your service is to ask them.
Consider implementing a once a year customer satisfaction survey and analyze the results. This valuable feedback can be used to proactively tackle weak points in the BTB relationship. Make sure your customers know that your door is always open and what their input is valuable to you.
7. Think Win-Win
A good business relationship is mutually beneficial. If you want to sell more products and services to a company it stands to reason that you will need to help that company increase its own sales to do that. The vendor role of BTB relationships is to provide support.
The vendor is an agency providing an essential service to the business. Is the service you providing enough to keep the business happy? Is there something more you can offer to help your business customer perform better in the market? What is good for your BTB partner is good for you.
The Bottom Line
Ask not what your business customers can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your business customer. Creating better BTB relationships should be approached in the same way as creating deep, lasting, strong, trustworthy friendships.
A spirit of service with honest concern for the wellbeing of the business of others will be well received because that is what you no doubt promised to get their business to begin with. Thanks for reading and we encourage you to check out more business tips on our blog.