The stronger the relationship, the more trust, the more commitment, and ultimately the more satisfaction. It all sounds so simple, and yet B2B relationships are lagging behind their B2C counterparts massively when it comes to building and maintaining a professional, mutually beneficial connection.
Within the last few years we’ve witnessed exactly how a breakdown in B2B sales relationships can have drastic effects, both in terms of end users and in terms of reputation. Building better relationships should be a priority for all B2B sales businesses, although this is an area that is often overlooked in favour of focusing more directly on the products and services themselves, rather than on the people buying them. Here are 3 excellent tips for sales teams looking to build strong B2B sales relationships:
1. Make it a 2-Way Street
What your customer can do for you is obvious: they can buy your products/services and help you to continue growing your business. But what can you do for them that they can’t get somewhere else? The secret is to ask questions, and to not be afraid to be a little bit intrusive. Find out what your business customers are working on and find ways that you can help — or recommend someone that can! Give them a reason to want to maintain this particular relationship. B2B buyers want relationships, not sales.
2. Get Out and About
There are more startup enterprises than ever before, and these small businesses will likely have little in the way of solid organisational structure. Without putting yourself in the midst of things and understanding who’s responsible for what, it can be difficult to know who you need to build relationships with. So get out and about! It all comes down to engagement. In one study, 21% of high engagement accounts grew by more than 20% within 12 months, compared to just 15% of low engagement accounts.
3. Be Around
Of course, visiting your long distance B2B sales partners isn’t always possible. But being around is. We all have that one friend who only bothers to get in touch when they need help moving, right? Don’t be that friend! Try to avoid only getting in touch when you need something, or when you hear of a big project in the works. Instead, dedicate a portion of your day to reaching out. It may be useful to create a database of contacts, recording communications and jotting down key information to help with continuity.
The ‘6 Pillars’ of B2B Sales Relationships
Professional services expert KPMG states that there are 6 pillars to building a strong B2B relationship: personalisation, integrity, managing expectation, time and effort, empathy, and offering resolution. By focusing on these 6 pillars alongside your product/service development, you can help to build relationships that not only last, but also improve loyalty, along with boosting your value to your customers. Relationships are essential. After all, if the people aren’t there, who’s buying your products?