ENTREPRENEURSHIP / JUL. 25, 2016
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5 Simple Steps to Improving Your B2B Relationships

Business-to-business relationships are vital to the success of your company, so what can you do to make them count? Read on and find out for yourself.

Successfully established B2B relationships are a powerful tool that can help your business grow and skyrocket its sales. Establishing and maintaining B2B relationships requires careful planning and a lot of effort. Focusing your attention towards building long-term business relationships can provide you with opportunities for collaboration and growth, as well as boost the success of your business.

Now more than ever, both startups and reputable companies need to recognize the importance of establishing and maintaining profitable B2B relationships. Appropriate strategic and personal approaches can help businesses improve their relationships in ways that can help them thrive during difficult times. The five simple steps listed below can help you get a head-start at improving your B2B relationships.

See Also: How to Implement the B2B Concept for Your Business

1. Create Customer Impact

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Businesses can create customer impact by helping their customers become more successful and improve their performance. Since establishing this kind of relationship requires investing a lot of time and energy, it should be focused towards the company's most important customers. The more a company helps its customers, the stronger the relationship between the two becomes.

Once a company starts helping their customer, they stop being just a vendor and they become a valuable business partner. However, for this to happen, a company has to have tremendous knowledge and experience in the industry their customer works in. It also has to perform substantial research on the customer, their target audience, and their niche.

The relationship between the company and the customer should be built on trust, as that will make the research much easier and allow the customer to be honest about their business goals and the company’s strong and weak points.

2. Cultivate Your Image

All too often, B2B companies consider selling their quality product at a reasonable price as their basic (or even only) function. Even though selling is a major part of running a business, and getting the basics is crucial to success, B2B companies need to understand the processes that precede the sale.

Successful B2B relationships are built on much more than the delivery of products; if you replicate one of the basic B2C practices, you’ll realize that, first and foremost, you need to provide a solution to your customer’s problems. In B2B terms, that would entail supporting your customer’s success and performance by means of your product.

Try to rethink your underlying mission and strategy, accordingly, and strive to create an image that reinforces your approach. The image needs to invoke reliability, consistency, and quality to create a personable identity. Real people run businesses and make decisions, so companies need to use their image to appeal to the emotions of their customers.

You should find an angle to humanize your business. For example, a focus on sustainability, staying loyal to the community, and improving an industry can help companies connect on the B2B level. A reputation for being a responsible business owner will attract partners and customers who support positive business values.

3. Increase Your Brand Awareness

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As a business owner, you shouldn’t overlook the potential your brand has. Many companies have built brands that have more value than their actual physical value. By focusing on increasing brand awareness within your target market, you can help your brand become more powerful. Outstanding companies with fantastic products will never reach their potential if prospective partners and customers aren’t aware of their existence. At a time when intense competition threatens B2B relationships, companies need to work hard to boost awareness of their brand.

The Digital Age has given businesses valuable tools that can increase brand awareness. Content marketing uses the publication and distribution of high-quality content to target audiences via websites, email, and other channels. As part of their marketing efforts, companies should include relevant keywords in their content that match search engine queries performed by their prospective customers.

The practice, called search engine optimization (SEO), connects search engine users with relevant websites. When companies have websites appearing near the top of search engine results, they get more traffic, increasing the awareness of their brand in the marketplace and positively affecting sales.

4. Leverage Social Media Platforms

Many businesses only have a passive presence on social media that provides them with either little or no benefit. Social media can augment content marketing and SEO strategies if companies . The following social media platforms can help manufacturers build their brand:

  • LinkedIn: Known as the social network for businesses and professionals, the site gives firms an opportunity to create a profile and a company page. Companies also set up and join LinkedIn groups, participate in online discussions, and make professional connections.
  • Facebook and Twitter: Consumer-oriented social sites can also help businesses promote their image and brand. On each platform, companies can build a profile and share information relevant to their markets and present their products as solutions to real problems. Businesses can also include photos and videos, and recruit their fans as brand ambassadors.
  • YouTube: As one of the largest sites on the Internet, YouTube has much to offer business owners. The popularity of videos gives companies the chance to demonstrate their products, provide insights about their business and industry, and introduce themselves to other firms and end users. YouTube videos can also serve to educate B2B customers and the public about products and business-related issues.

Social networks provide platforms where companies can promote their brand and their products. Businesses can engage B2B clients and the public in two-way conversations on social sites that can lead to new sales. The sites also provide tracking tools that can help firms monitor public sentiment regarding their brand. Another reason for using social media is to receive feedback about the business’ products and developments in their industry.

5. Don’t Forget Face-to-Face Interaction

Trade shows and conferences can help business owners connect with potential partners and prospective customers in face-to-face encounters. Such meetings offer opportunities to promote brands, check up on competitors, and collect leads. Although digital communication has become commonplace, business owners should remember that physical interactions still have power.

However, exhibiting at trade shows and conferences could be quite expensive if your company is on a budget. To maximize your return on investment, you should carefully choose the events you are going to attend. Have a solid plan with clearly defined goals and an effective message that will draw in potential customers.

If you have experience in speaking at conferences, you should try to get yourself a speaking position. This can help your prospects notice you, and you might even get paid to do it.

Be ready to pitch your business and set the stage for follow-ups. As you collect business cards, ask your prospects if they are interested in meeting after the show.

See Also: B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015 – Infographic

Businesses should never neglect the importance and power of building successful B2B relationships. Even though it may take some time and effort to develop and maintain them, the benefits of having B2B relationships clearly outweigh the downsides. You can improve your B2B relationships by taking definitive action to build your brand image, promote awareness of your brand, and engage social media audience. As a result of the activity, your company can expand its knowledge of industry trends and competitors, find new partners, and increase sales.

Do you have anything you would like to add? Tell us in the comments section below!

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