Pretty much everyone is familiar with the concept of loyalty programs, but not everyone is as aware of the different ways they can positively affect a brand's business success. Especially for B2B companies who deal with long buying cycles, complex decision-making processes, procurement issues, and more, loyalty and incentive programs can provide a number of beneficial factors that help attract and retain B2B customers as well as help businesses operate smoother and more efficiently.
If you're thinking of starting a B2B loyalty or incentive program, here are a few of the top benefits to doing so:
Detailed & Actionable Data Collection
Loyalty programs play a central role in helping brands identify, connect, and interact with customers at multiple touchpoints. For B2B businesses, loyalty and incentive programs can help identify potential opportunities to grow the value of key customer segments and develop more effective segmented marketing. Before, it was difficult to share purchase or sales data between distributors, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and end-customers. But with an integrated B2B loyalty or incentive program there can be more data sharing and transparency across the entire channel without having to disclose any proprietary or sensitive information. These loyalty data insights can measure the effectiveness of product promotions, see what referral incentives have high ROI, identify key beneficial customer behaviors and actions, and more. With it B2B brands create more differentiation from their competitors.
Offset Pricing & Margin Pressure
Loyalty programs can help to counter pricing and margin pressure relief. According to research from McKinsey, strong brands are more protected against erosion of market share because they’re able to create consumer trust, reduce risk, and benefit from a strong foundation of loyalty customers who stick with their trusted brands. Strong customer loyalty is a natural deterrent when markets stumble or difficult times happen. Loyalty programs build these types of strong customer relationships by delivering both monetary value and emotional connections via recognition and appreciation, all of which creates brand affinity. The brand-customer relationship grows beyond transactions into a mutual partnership where both parties have a vested interest for the other to succeed.
Create Two-Way Communication Channels
A vital part to growing B2B loyalty is ensuring your customers are getting the maximum value and use from your products. If they are happy with your products, then there’s less motivation for them to look to your competitors. Loyalty and incentive programs can helps by creating channels of communication within the entire channel - from sales reps to end-customers. Within the program your brand can provide content, guides, educational material, and product sheets that helps your different audience segments learn more about your products and utilize their full benefits. These communication channels also work both ways - your channel partners and end customers can send you feedback, questions, or service issues rather than having to go through convoluted venues to find answers or assistance. This enables you to identify, address, and solve any issues or problems quicker, increasing customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty.
Sell More Effectively To B2B Buyers
B2b buying is fundamentally different from B2C. While B2C will most likely have a single customer, B2B purchases will most likely involve multiple individuals across the organization; each with their own expertise, needs, and concerns. A B2B loyalty and incentive program can help identify, target, and appeal to the different types of B2B buyers. By researching different customer segments you can identify their value drivers and utilize your loyalty or incentive program to provide the right type of messaging or offers at different buyer journey touchpoints. Your program can provide useful content and product information during the research stages, promote special deals or offers, and provide different types of incentives that can appeal to various types of buyers within the organization: free shipping, dedicated customer service channels, product discounts, access to special events, etc.