Only a small percentage of B2B customers are actually engaged with the companies they do business with. Which is the focus of everything I’m trying to build at SwipeSum, and has been a major focus at the past organizations I’ve been a part of.
This post is from SwipeSum CEO, Michael Seaman, a veteran of the credit card processing industry on a mission to give more power to merchants everywhere.Only a small percentage of B2B customers are actually engaged with the companies they do business with. Which is the focus of everything I’m trying to build at SwipeSum, and has been a major focus at the past organizations I’ve been a part of. Let’s think about that for a minute. If you’ve sold a product or service, and the person on the other end isn’t engaged, you have a weak relationship. It’s possible that your offering, engagement, and culture isn’t sticky and resonating with your client base. In the B2B world, customers expect the companies they’re working with to understand them as individuals. This problem is not new, and I can remember my dad discussing the topic with me as a boy. The faster you realize that each customer is experiencing a life as vivid and complex as your own, the more you will succeed.Communicate with customers in ways that bring value to their unique situation, focus on the development of the relationship, and end goal for both parties. Invest in listening, get personal, and create a shared vision for success. Here are my personal tips for developing a long-lasting customer experience, that will close the sale, keep both parties engaged, and develop your B2B relationships.
Most companies have some sort of culture, whether it was planned or came to fruition organically. It’s a powerful thing. I experienced the power of culture while working at an advertising technology company based in Los Angeles. When a whole company comes together as family, playing hard but working harder, all together hyper-focused on customer success, leaves a lasting impression. Every company has some degree of thoughtful client engagement, especially in marketing and sales. The next step is taking that focus and delivering value during every interaction, including customer support, UX design, and all touchpoints a customer could have.
Take a minute to reflect on the strategic relationship you’re trying to create. Even if it’s a basic understanding, part of knowing your customers as actual people requires you to understanding them both on and offline. This is a challenge for us as we are trying to move to a more automated experience, but we can’t afford to lose that personal touch. The customer you talk to on the phone is slightly different from the one you encounter on social media or through email; no channel gives a full picture. Look for opportunities to learn more about the client’s professional interests and goals. If you know what the client hopes to accomplish, you can find ways to help them do it. It’s about understanding what matters most to the customer and providing a way for them to attain it, through either your company or your connections. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be about something you sell.
Reflect on a few things:
Do you know who your actual customers are as people?
Have you created the culture in your own company that defines how you want your customers to interact with you?
Have you done an in-depth discovery process to understand their needs, pains, and how they measure success?
Do you constantly interact with your customers, and how are you measuring that engagement?
When you approach a customer for advice and actually listen, it advances your company and the relationship. You get clear insights into what reciprocal value looks like, and creating a future together. This engagement will also create some of your best brand advocates. Remember, understanding your customers as unique individuals is key to success.
Use these tips to close sales, develop your customer relationships, creating long-term value for both parties.
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