Why Customer Loyalty is Critical for Business Success (And What You Can Do To Get It)
New leads and conversions are great, but keeping current customers happy should not be placed on the back burner.
When people think of customer loyalty programs, they almost always focus on the big names in the B2C space. Customers love earning stars for their daily Starbucks order, for example; they love to earn discounts on fuel purchases or miles on their credit card, and so on. But it turns out that customer loyalty is just as critical (if not more so) for providers in the B2B product and service space.
We’ve rounded up some expert advice from a number of our top contributors and marketing professionals specifically about how critical customer loyalty can be to continued success in the B2B space. And their insights and advice apply to virtually any B2B industry or sector where your company operates.
The Importance of Customer Loyalty for B2B Companies
First up—why is customer loyalty and retention so critical to a B2B company’s success and continued growth? Many of our marketing experts honed in on retaining customers, and for several of the same reasons.
Two of the biggest reasons why you want to focus on keeping your customers coming back? Time and money.
“Pick any industry, any niche, and the truth is that no business can thrive without customer loyalty. Remember that acquisition costs are very high!!” —Gaurav Sharma, Attrock Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
“Acquiring new B2B clients is difficult, expensive, and it takes a great deal of time. So it’s important to keep the ones you have. Focusing on customer loyalty will not only help you keep your clients (and keep costs down), it will also help you keep your clients happy, give them reason to stick around, and make them more likely to refer you to others.” —Daniel Sarao, Macaw Digital Marketing
The benefits of keeping good customers returning to your business, including saving time and money, are perhaps the biggest areas of ROI for your marketing and communication efforts.
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Spreading the Word About Your Business
Your social media presence and your marketing campaigns aren’t the only places where people learn about your business. In fact, in the B2B space, referrals and connections from current clients are often the most fruitful kinds of marketing, helping new clients to find your company while also being assured of your quality client service and existing relationships.
“Nurturing customer loyalty is critical for B2B organizations because it allows them to develop long-term relationships with their clients and, as a result, gain access to more prospects. B2B clients represent a far larger pool of prospective business engagements, some of which may be extremely distinctive. Customer loyalty can also lead to referrals, which can lead to increased brand exposure, new customer acquisition, and new cross-sell and upsell opportunities.” —Esther Deutsch, RCS Professional Services
Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the top resources for organizations in the B2B space, and it continues to pay more dividends than even some of the most well-known and well-organized marketing efforts. A happy customer is not only a repeat customer, but perhaps the very best spokesperson for your company as well.
“Customer loyalty can lead to more positive online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals, as happy customers are more likely to recommend a service to their friends and family. Additionally, customer loyalty is important for B2B service providers because it helps to create a base of repeat customers, meaning that the service provider can count on these customers to come back and use their services again in the future, reducing churn rates and improving overall profitability.” —Jonathan Ben Zvi, All Forward
Great referrals and reviews are two of the things that all successful B2B providers have in common, and no matter what industry or niche you operate in, there is no substitute for a satisfied client.
“The most successful brands we know are successful because they have built customers and fans based on brand loyalty. That loyalty creates lifetime customers, as well as new customers brought in through their referrals, reviews, and testimonials.” —Donna Galassi, Blue Zenith Design + Strategy
First Stop? The Inbox.
By now you’re no stranger to email marketing and CRM. And while everyone knows how useful they can be for consumer products, B2B companies can find even more benefits from effective email communication and marketing efforts with their existing clients or customers.
“Email campaigns can help provide customers with useful information AND keep your business top of mind. This way, the next time that customer requires your service, they are much more likely to think of your business. Content marketing, when done well, helps to deliver useful information that helps solve challenges your customer is experiencing, further reinforcing your relationship and your status as a helpful partner.” —Ryan Spanger, Dream Engine
“I believe email campaigns play a huge role in driving customer loyalty, for one simple reason; your customers check their inboxes every single day. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to stay in front of your customers, and also operates as a direct line of communication between your business and your customers. Communication goes hand in hand with customer loyalty, and email campaigns are a great way of executing on this.” —Ben Precious, Pace Social Media
And email is not the only part of the loyalty or acquisition picture. In addition to larger email campaigns, customer communication and responsiveness are key to gaining and keeping customers in the B2B space.
“My experience is that people often start working with your company not because of the price, but because of how quickly you respond and how completely you answer all the questions you were asked. Show your individual approach, your attention to everyone, and your willingness to be in a dialogue, and you will have no shortage of clients.” —Anastasiia Gudkov, BereshkaWeb
Much More to the Customer Loyalty Process
Our experts had much more advice for B2B retention and loyalty than we could possibly fit here, but their insights provide a great deal of information as to why it’s so important and valuable to focus on satisfied clients and repeat customers. In addition to basic practices and their importance, there are also several loyalty program options that you could consider implementing, any of which would supplement the advice above and help you establish even stronger connections with clients and customers.