Acquiring a new customer is always a cause for celebration for any B2B organization, regardless of the fact that it is brought through a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
Okay, just kidding.
But still, it requires a lot of extensive time and hard work, starting all the way from generating leads to nurturing them along the pipeline and finally turning them into paying customers. Also, the fact that retaining an existing customer is way more difficult than landing a new one, doesn’t help our case either.
So, how do we nail the art of wholesale customer acquisition and retention? Simple, by deepening your relationship with key decision-makers through giving value strategically. But more on that later, right now, let’s get acquainted with the two processes.
The primary goal of customer acquisition is to gain new customers through effective marketing. It uses targeted messages to communicate with and attract new customers. Some common components of this strategy include
- Identifying potential customers
- Designing marketing strategies
- Following up on potential sales
- Measuring the success of strategies
Where acquisition focuses on finding new customers, retention mainly aims at nurturing the relationship with existing customers so as to encourage them to continue using the products and services your ecommerce website is offering. Its main focus points are-
- Customer service
- Quality of products and services
- Creating a customer-friendly environment
- Loyalty programs
Must-have features for customer acquisition and retention
Getting back to our subject at hand, let’s take a look at some of the tactics that can not only help you forge new relationships with the prospects but also to get more out of the relationships you already have with your current customers, meanwhile driving serious revenue in the process.
1. Get to Know Them
Are you looking to build long-term relationships with your B2B customers? Of course, you do. But to build that, you will need to earn their business every day after the first sale. So, what is the most effective way to communicate with them?
Simple, by knowing them better than anyone else.
Think of it more like a dating relationship; if you are successful in making a connection after the first date, you’d be inclined to spend more time with him or her. Eventually, with passing time, as you work on your relationship, you will start learning a lot of new things about your significant other. This personal understanding between the two plays a huge role in a long-term partnership.
Your wholesale relationships work in a similar way (though much less romantic)
Learn as much as you can about your prospects and existing customers, such as what are the challenges they are currently struggling with? Or, what are their long-term goals? Or, what type of results they were looking for while searching your website?
Now that you know which questions to answer, how exactly do you plan on pursuing them? Not by one-on-one interfacing. Don’t get us wrong, this strategy works great but we all know, in B2B, there is not always enough time, especially when things get busy. Below are some simple ways to help you out.
- Use the forms filled by your prospects and customers to collect the necessary data. This data can be used to personalize your business relationship. Customize your form fields to include key questions about their business details, interests etc. Email marketing can be used at this point to follow up post form fill.
- Conduct online and offline surveys and get direct feedback from your clients with the help of collected data. Use an ecommerce platform that makes it easier to automate your marketing with inbuilt tools and easy integration with third-party tools. StoreHippo with its gamut of tools, makes the task of collecting the response data much easier.
- Lastly, you can track the route your prospects and existing customers took to navigate through your website. It will help you understand where they spend the majority of their time and in turn, you will be better able to understand their behaviour. Based on these behaviour patterns, you can easily target your interactions with them.
2. Stay in Touch
Do you know what is the best way to lose your wholesale customers? Sell them a product or service and then disappear from the face of the earth, and then re-emerge only when you have something else to sell to that customer.
Seriously, don’t do that.
The key here is to stay in continual contact even if the prospect hasn’t converted yet, or in the case of existing customers, especially after making that first sale. Do not just reach out to whenever you have a product or service to pitch.
Here’s what you can do.
- Get yourself organized with the help of a CRM tool. It will allow you to record all your interactions with your B2B prospects and existing customers to be used for scheduling activities for the future.
- As stated above, send them regular emails. Let them know you care by keeping them in the loop on what’s happening with your business. It will help add value to your relationship.
- Stay visible to your prospects and clients with the help of social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter (yes, they serve much more than just sharing your content). Send them Newsletters, any interesting ecommerce industry related articles, congratulate them on their success, or simply wish them around major holidays.
- Lastly, review your sales funnel periodically to ensure that the information you share is up to date and that there aren’t any opportunities slipping through the cracks. This review will also help you see how opportunities are progressing and whether you are making good on your commitment to stay in touch.
Maintain this regular cadence in your communications and you will be better able to keep your wholesale clients around for the long term.
3. Prioritize Customer Experience
Only 1 out of every 26 customers facing bad experiences ever complain. Do you know what the rest of them do? They churn.
Which is why customer experience should be at the top of your priority list.
Imagine a prospect while browsing your website comes up with a query, or a client reaching out to your company with a service request and doesn’t get a response. Or if they did get, it was a poor one and didn’t help them much.
How do you think it will go for your B2B acquisition and retention rate?
Not well, there’s no rocket science there.
So, how can you ensure a superior quality of customer service experience? Let’s find out.
- The first step in customer service excellence is to be committed to satisfying customers. You should be passionate about your customers to the point that customers recognize the brand’s efforts in going the extra mile.
- The second step is to understand and deliver on customer needs. Think of them as individuals with emotions and attitudes, it will help your ecommerce support team display empathy, the next time your customers report any issues.
- Implement seamlessness, it is central to smooth customer experience. Never forget, seamlessness is synonymous to simple, convenient and hassle-free. Anything you do to reduce customer effort is pivotal to delivering superior customer experience.
- Next step is responsiveness, i.e. facilitating a timely response, delivery and resolution. Failing on any one of these will only decrease customer defection. Studies also show that wholesale companies that excel in providing a quicker response are more likely to deliver a superior and memorable customer experience.
- The last step is proactivity, the art of resolving issues even before the customer feels the pain. Be the company that is good at fulfilling customer needs and you can easily foresee customer needs and pain points, in short, making life easier for the customer.
Influenced by the consumer world, many business customers seek an improved experience from their suppliers, one that is seamless, more convenient and hassle-free. And savvy B2B suppliers know well that they are selling experiences and outcomes, and not products. So, what experience are you delivering to your business customers?
4. Give Away Your Best Content
It’s amazing how in order to get our clients to buy more from us, we give them certain things for free, more specifically, the content.
It explains why in recent years, the role of content marketing in product and brand promotions has grown manifold. It has not only helped businesses improve their visibility in front of existing clients but has also helped generate more ecommerce leads. Moreover, it establishes you as a thought leader and shows your customers that you are invested in providing value- without asking anything in return.
Do you have a blog that is regularly updated? Why don’t you encourage subscriptions?
Do you have an ebook or whitepaper that, you believe, will be interesting to your customers? Go forth and share it with them.
Are you looking forward to hosting a webinar? Invite your business customers to register.
Whatever you do, just treat your content as a conversation you are having with your wholesale customers and you would be fine. However, there’s a catch. Content marketing is good but randomly publishing blog posts just for the sake of publishing is not.
Here are a few tactics to improve your content marketing skills.
- Begin with identifying your target audience. You can do so by creating a customer profile or persona for your ideal business client. This persona will, in turn, help you realize and understand the needs and expectations of your target audience for delivering a better content strategy.
- Next, you need to set clear and precise goals for your B2B marketing campaign such as to improve engagement, to grow site traffic or to increase your search engine rankings.
- Now that you have a specific audience and goals in mind, it’s time to generate content ideas for your B2B content marketing campaign.
- And lastly, create content that will help you convert your site visitors into paying customers. While doing so, try to deliver a personalized experience through your content. Your b2b customers want to feel special and appreciated, and it’s your responsibility to make that happen.
In the end, all we can say is stay relevant and offer helpful content regularly via your ecommerce website. Because when you add that value, you will become an indispensable part of their business.
5. Share Your Success Stories
One of the key elements of successful customer acquisition and retention strategy is the ability to connect with your audience.
And sharing your success stories allows you to do just that. So, what are these success stories?
These are basically the case studies that show how your products and services have helped your customers.
And why do we need success stories?
Simple, in order to show prospects examples of how your products or services solve an issue or fulfil an unmet need. It makes your claims about your wholesale products or services more believable besides helping your prospects understand how other companies have benefited by it.
In simple words, it enhances the selling aspect and simplifies the process. And since every business has some success stories to tell, this shouldn’t be difficult to implement. Right? Not entirely.
You see, like everything else, sharing your company’s success stories require some jostling to do. Here’s something you need to keep in mind while creating them.
- Get a holistic view and understanding of your B2B client’s business.
- Map out a clear and distinctive journey for the customers.
- Create success stories that educate both prospects and existing customers with informative and insightful content.
Just remember, good success stories are one that delivers context, relevance and credibility. At the surface, it might not seem compelling, but for the right audience, it involves plenty of emotions. Emotions that help them make better decisions.
So, there you have it, 5 must-have features that marketers can use not only to boost customer acquisition and retention efforts but also to help boost brand loyalty. We hope these ecommerce features will help you better understand why a focus on acquiring new customers is as important as reducing customer churn. You know how they say it, acquiring new customers might be great but those customers will be more valuable if they come back again and again.
Why choose StoreHippo?
StoreHippo is a comprehensive B2B e-commerce solution. It helps both manufacturers and distributors by offering them vast functionality and endless possibilities. Moreover, it delivers unique user experiences with the help of these and various other features that make it way easier to acquire new and retain old customers.