Everyone loves to earn a little something for their loyalty. Businesses can go to plenty of other businesses around the world to get the services that they need. That’s why well designed B2B loyalty programs are such an integral part of the modern purchasing environment. The only problem is that the average professional is moving at warp speed to their next task. Stop to get a stamp on a business card? Wait around for punches on a punch card?
B2B loyalty programs today need to think outside of the usual loyalty program standards that are in place today. The advantage of going beyond the punch card is that it allows B2B revenues to be driven upward in a wide variety of ways. Here are some tips to consider as you expand your loyalty program concepts.
1. Take advantage of the face-to-face requirements in the B2B world.
Most businesses still require personal meetings in order to finalize certain arrangements. Your loyalty programs can take advantage of these necessary interactions by providing an enhanced meeting spot for your top flight customer base. Instead of a dingy conference room in your building, hold a formal dinner at a top restaurant in town. Go to a sporting event. Attend a concert. Anything that shows your B2B customers that you appreciate them will be better than free coffee and donuts around a conference table.
2. Host a seminar that is open only to your most loyal customers.
What is the most valuable commodity in the world today? It isn’t money. It isn’t even time. It’s information. Your B2B customers will find more value in seminars and other informational gatherings where they can potentially get an advantage in their own field thanks to the rewards earned by doing business with you. Schedule webinars, seminars, or host a forum where tips can be shared and your customers will want to do more business with you.
3. Spend some quality time with your customers.
Nothing beats a little quality time. Send some people to your top clients so they can see first-hand what outstanding needs might be able to be met. The value here is the personalized interactions that you are initiating. You also get value because you might just be able to upsell a product or service that you didn’t even realize your B2B customer even needed because they couldn’t recognize that they needed it.
4. Choose the right channels.
Here’s an interesting fact to consider: a B2B customer is 3x more willing to engage with a loyalty program if it comes from a lower level direct manager compared to offers that are made by the CEO. Sometimes a phone call is better than an email. You may need to provide all of the above so that each B2B customer has the right channels to engage your business and your loyalty programs.
5. B2C methods work effectively in the B2B world.
You also have the goal of raising the levels of information that are being obtained from your B2B customers. This is where the tactics of the B2C world can be used to your advantage. Identify your key customers, track the interactions that you have with them, and then create metrics that allow you to see what the programs/products/services you have are the most popular. Once that is completed, you can identify the triggers that initiate sales and then include those triggers in specifically designed loyalty programs for each customer.
6. Make it a referral-friendly service.
Even in the B2B world, people love to go where their friends are finding a great deal. If you’ve got a loyalty program in place, then you should also have a system that gives customers an incentive to provide referrals. As long as the rewards are increased above what the standard program awards happen to be, what matters most is that you find a way to provide a tangible “thank you” to those who are your biggest brand ambassadors.
7. Keep your branding consistent throughout.
Most businesses don’t have an issue with this, but there are some entities out there that have multiple dbas that are all functioning under one roof. If your business has three other dba entities and they’re all offering a different loyalty program, then you’re doing it wrong. Give your customers one brand that encompasses all of your dba entities instead and you may just be able to expand revenue streams by giving customers access to other concepts that they aren’t currently using with a reward.
8. Don’t put everything out of reach.
The problem with B2B reward programs [or any rewards program, for that matter] is that the best rewards are virtually impossible to achieve. Make every reward something that can be feasibly obtained, yet won’t cause you to take a loss during the process. Something as simple as a recommendation on your social network for a business can be an amazing reward that will drum up some additional business for your client and it costs you virtually nothing to do.
9. Don’t forget to promote the program.
If you aren’t talking about your B2B loyalty program, then there’s no point in having one. Promote it as heavily as you promote your goods and services.
10. Above all else, make earning rewards something that is fun to do.
The best loyalty programs all have one thing in common: they’re fun. B2B customers that are having fun are B2B customers that are completely engaged. Sometimes that means harnessing a competitive spirit amongst your entire customer base. At other times it might mean deciding to make the loyalty program fresher by offering double incentives for a limited time, limited access rewards, or other short-term changes that your customer base might like to see.
Having a B2B loyalty program makes a lot of sense, but only if you focus on the user experience. Use these tips to design your own program, promote it aggressively, and then have some fun with it. When your customers see that you’re having fun, they’re more likely to have fun too.