Perspectives on the key considerations for successful B2B loyalty
There are so many thought pieces published on how to improve your loyalty, rewards, or recognition program, and special considerations are needed to chart the course for successful Business to Business or even Business to Business to Customer operating structures.
But for many companies curious about this specific area of Customer Loyalty, the process starts with answering a basic question: why loyalty and why now?
To get the right answer for your organization, foundational planning coupled with a thorough financial analysis is a must. After that, you should address several key questions to assess your organizational readiness to pursue customer loyalty. Among them;
- What is the current state of your MarTech capabilities?
- Where are the strengths and weaknesses or gaps that need to be addressed?
- How should you prioritize these gaps before venturing further into the customer-centricity space?
Once the essential workstreams listed here are addressed and strategically framed, then your enterprise will be better prepared to take on the competition and in a position to win every business day!
- By creating a program that provides value to the customer, they in turn will share their personal information, insight into their preferences as well as what their future state purchase plans may be.
- This establishes an asset that the enterprise can leverage to the greatest extent possible and adds to the real and perceived valuation of the company in the eyes of the investment community.
- Programs are created for many reasons including concerns that the competition has one and "we do not". A formal program combats this weakness and blunts the competition by creating a program more compelling than what is offered in market. In turn, you can achieve the desired effect of incremental revenue at a profitable rate of return.
- Programs are created and/or influenced by feedback from customers. Your own customers participate in competitor programs and/or in other sectors tangential to yours, and in turn they "expect" or anticipate that you should be offering something to recognize their patronage. They are asking themselves (or you directly via survey, call center, or exchanges with store associates) "why don't you offer one"?
Lack of Differentiation
- Programs are created when the category or sector the business operates within offers "many of the same" products and services that can be purchased elsewhere. The quality or utility or price/value relationship may not be the same, but nonetheless the customer chooses to buy elsewhere.
- The result? A program gives a customer a new reason to pay attention to your communications as they realize they will benefit by spending with you vs. the competition. In many cases these customers will even pay a higher price, buy less on discount, or choose to convert because of offers or incentives that are in place than before the launch of the program.
Weak Business Metrics
- Programs are created to compensate and then improve on weak business metrics. This could be a proverbial "leaky bucket" where a business is losing customers because they have many alternative choices as to where to buy from, or the business model is simply failing to meet their needs and they choose to search and buy elsewhere.
- The BtoBtoC experience may be less than satisfying, or in some cases the end state channel where the goods are sold has a low frequency of purchase over a particular timeframe because the customer either satisfies their needs (think heavy machinery) and doesn't need to convert as often, or they have alternatives to satisfy needs. Without a program in place, they may "go left instead of going right" to your brand during the calendar year.
- By having a program in place, a brand can capture a customer's attention that might not otherwise be aware of the brand. In turn, they decide to engage with the brand and the best way to do that is a "mutual expectation of gain" through a program where spending gets the customer "more".
- As the program continues to delight that member and other decision makers or downstream users of your product/services, their tendency is to become advocates of the program - or at the very least more inclined to recommend the brand and likewise the program, thus fueling new customer acquisition and referral.