Chief Marketer recently chatted with several featured speakers at B2B LeadsCon—Aug. 24-26 in New York—to get their thoughts on the best ways to cultivate and retain B2B customers.
CEOs know that current and past customers are an extremely valuable resource to be nurtured and cultivated, notes Ruth Stevens, president of eMarketing Strategy. But traditionally, most of B2B marketers’ efforts were focused on acquisition, rather than retention.
Why? Typically, retention and account management lives in the province of the sales team, while marketing is viewed as the arm for new customer acquisition. All too often, marketers aren’t brought into the loyalty discussion.
“There are wonderful things that marketers can do to assist sales in account penetration, to develop cross- and up-sell campaigns, and referral stimulation programs when new products are being launched,” says Stevens.
Marketing and sales can also benefit from listening to input from customer service reps to help create loyalty, adds Cyndi Greenglass, senior vice president, strategic solutions, Diamond Marketing Solutions.
“We’re seeing crossover much more, because technology can facilitate that interaction and sharing of metrics,” says Greenglass, noting that Net Promoter Scores are also increasingly considered to gauge customer satisfacation and loyalty. “Marketing automation has really helped in this area.”
Gamification in B2B can be successful in B2B to create engagement, but marketers have to be cautious not to get to gimmicky in offering intangible statuses and badges with no real benefit, Stevens notes. Of course, you also have to be wary of going too far with tangible generous gifts to B2B clients, as these could be looked upon as bribes, violating regulations and/or company policies.
With millennials in particular, cause marketing can be a great way to create B2B loyalty, because they are so invested in working with a brand whose culuture they support and feel invested in, says Greenglass. But, the ROI can be tricky to judge.
Medical billing services provider Medigain works on cultivating relationships on almost a daily basis, as account reps regularly interact with clients to give them updates and check-in.
“We provide a service and it’s high touch,” says Clint Hughes, vice president of marketing, noting that the company works to create a relationship not only with the managing partner doctors at practices they service, but the office administrators as well.
Once Triumverate Environmental has on-boarded new accounts, they are nurtured by the account team through campaigns such as an email welcome series, notes Warren Sukernek, director, marketing of the waste management and environmental services firm, which serves healthcare, education, industrial and other markets.
Content marketing is a great way to offer something tangible to customers and create thought leadership and loyalty, Stevens adds.
Both Triumverate and Medigain find that much of the content created to nurture leads during the acquisition process is also valuable to existing customers, and this information keeps the brands top of mind for decision makers and influencers.
“About 40% of our webinar attendees are existing clients,” says Warren. “The content resonates for both existing customers and prospects.”
To hear more from Stevens, Greenglass, Hughes and Sukernek, join us at B2B LeadsCon, Aug. 24-26 in New York. For more on the event, click here.