How to Build B2B Customer Loyalty & Retention Whilst Selling Through the Channel
Customer Loyalty is Key
In today’s fast moving global marketplace customer retention and loyalty is key; particularly in the B2B market where companies will often talk about 85%+ of their business coming from existing customers … but this is under pressure and changing.
Customers have access to more information about the world in which they operate than ever before. They expect to be able to access information online about existing and potential supplier organisations. They feel, rightly or wrongly, that they can make independent buying decisions and don’t need the input of a salesperson. The days of salespeople putting catalogues in front of customers is long gone; sales teams are now far too expensive to operate as ‘talking brochures. Customers are happy independently making purchasing decisions, which previously would have involved dealing with a salesperson; even multi-million pound purchases – such as buying a jet engine for an aircraft – are now confidently conducted online through sophisticated procurement portals.
Increasing competition with decreasing customer loyalty
The global marketplace, deregulation, and supply chain sophistication have fundamentally changed the ability of suppliers to operate in markets and areas of the globe which were not previously accessible or economically viable. This, coupled with huge variations in manufacturing costs around the world, has led to global competition on a level which few had accurately predicted.
Fast-moving nimble competitors are incredibly quick to provide alternative spares, consumables, and service to compete with those of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs); ‘me-too’ products are everywhere. OEMs who could previously expect a level of repeat business and on-going sales from hard-won customers are seeing that after-market eroded, both in terms of product and service sales.
B2B customer loyalty has become increasingly fragile as customers see alternatives to paying a premium to buy from the OEM. The importance of relationships and continuity has been eroded in the customer’s mind, which in turn has led to much greater price sensitivity and commoditisation of products and services.