B2B optimisation – hunting for a 5 x higher lifecycle value

Loyal and satisfied b2b customers have on average five times higher lifecycle value than other customers.

The new age of competition with fast disruption is not a headache for b2c branches only, it is challenging the b2b companies as well. The fastest of the current market leaders will tackle the problems –the losers will underestimate the level of thoroughness and speed of the changes required.

Customer experience optimisation is all about combining customer satisfaction with growth and profitability targets.

From that perspective many b2b companies seem to be concentrated too unilaterally on their straight end-user clients, especially on high-end clients.

B2B  companies most often have several types of middleman clients;  wholesalers, value-added resellers, consultants or retailers for small and middle-sized companies.  Most b2b companies could take major steps forward by listening to the voice-of-the-customer through the whole value chain. For example – retailer often wants to make selling the products as fast and easy as possible, and small companies want to minimize the effort of purchasing and using. Diminishing the friction generates deals for the wise manufacturer.

B2B companies most often are forced to have diverse middleman solutions by geographical markets and branches – which  challenges the consistency of the customer experience. Without a solid and clear core promise and recognizable handprint of the company, there can be no speed in matching the needs of the various customer subsegments and clients.

Digital tools have brought transparency, and customers are in the driver´s seat and stronger than ever. In the age of marketing automatisation, paradoxally there must be a radically more intensive realisation than ever, of the emotional and human aspects of the customer management.

Without a meaningful and differentiative experience, clients  will for sure become supplier switchers, and the market view will be based on low price competition.

If customers are voluntarily directed to volume based discount negotiations, without any serious attempts to provide anything else, there is really no one to blame but yourself. 

B2B customer experience is not mainly about the raw power of getting ahead in prices. It is about relevancy, ability to meet the individual needs of the clients, flexibility, values and ethical expectations – and ability to delight. There are plenty of unfounded sources in differentiation.

Customer experience belongs to all employees in company. Great management will cause an internal snowball effect, which will  lead to uncommon easiness and comfortability for the client – the most powerful differentiator in  b2b customer experiences  during the last five years.  

Loyal and satisfied b2b customers have on average five times higher lifecycle value than other customers. They stay longer, buy more products, and will probably soon cost less to serve. They are also more likely to recommend the supplier to others despite the competitive nature of the b2b. Positive (and also negative) word-of-mouth has possibilities to spread faster and wider than ever.

Whatever the companies are selling, clients are always buying trust, predictability and a piece of future success. Taking care of the company reputation should not be limited to a night guard role only. Most succesful b2b companies are also the best marketers – their company handprint is meaningfully different.

Kari Tervonen