While B2B customer loyalty programs have existed for decades, many businesses have not yet explored the opportunity. In today’s market, B2B companies experience a number of issues when exploring or implementing channel incentive programs. But with the proper technology and strategy, they can be used to increase customer engagement, retention, and acquisition.
In comparison to B2C businesses, the customer pool for B2B companies tends to be much smaller. This means that when a B2B brand loses a customer, it often has a far bigger impact on the company’s bottom line.
The following is based on a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Comarch.
Today’s B2B Market
- The majority (57%) of programs are relatively young, and have been running for less than 2 years. B2B programs are nearly twice as likely as B2C programs to have been running for longer than 2 years.
- Cash back is the most prominent program offering, followed by exclusive membership perks and personalized offers. 39% of B2B brands offer cash back redeemable at the brand, and 32% offer cash back.
- For B2B, the top challenges have been lower than expected uptake of the program (17%) and integration difficulties (16%).
- B2B brands are struggling to integrate their loyalty platform with customer data platforms, eCommerce platforms, and enterprise resource planning tools.
- 56% of B2B loyalty programs are or will be configured for multiple brands.
- 24% of B2B companies say that one of the most important factors in choosing a loyalty vendor is the proven return on investment.
The Future of B2B Rewards Programs
- Future plans for programs are very diverse. 19% of B2B brands said they plan to include early access offers, 16% plan to expand the program to add subscription-based or premium tiers, and 14% plan to add gamification and surveys to collect customer data for future personalization.
- Tech integrations are the most important for companies when exploring the purchase of a loyalty technology program.
- Values-based loyalty rewards are increasingly more important to both brands and consumers.
- 65% of B2B brands have plans to implement a new loyalty program or upgrade an existing one in the next 12 months.
Brand loyalty is as important to B2B companies as it is to B2C companies. That's why so many B2B brands are investing in loyalty technology. Whether you run a small business or a large enterprise, the importance of a good customer experience remains the same. When your existing customers and business partners have positive experiences with your brand, they are more likely to support your products or services.
Looking to find out more about today’s loyalty market? Download the full report based on Forrester’s study:
B2B Loyalty Program Best Practices
B2B loyalty programs can vary greatly depending on the industry, size, and business style of the organization. You must decide how you want to use customer data to enhance customer retention before you can establish a meaningful B2B loyalty program.
The customer base of B2B companies is typically smaller than that of consumer companies. This enables them to thoroughly examine client purchasing habits and devise the best loyalty program approach. Customers should be researched and interactions with them monitored across all touchpoints to ensure the program meets their needs.
To get you started, here are a few brand loyalty best practices to consider:
- Businesses providing products or services to other businesses, like B2C brands, must provide an incentive for repeat transactions. The most effective loyalty programs combine emotional and monetary incentives. You might not obtain the results you want if your B2B loyalty program ignores either of these areas.
- B2B companies must integrate marketing, sales, and customer service to provide an omnichannel customer experience. Over time, omnichannel integration across all touchpoints can greatly improve customer satisfaction and increase loyalty. Several channels can be used to reach out to your members (DMs, email marketing, ads, social media).
- Establish and facilitate interaction with your customers, and gather feedback from them. When dealing with B2B customers, it's critical to collect feedback on a regular basis in order to determine how you can add more value.
- Because B2B decision-makers have different goals and priorities than B2C decision-makers, B2B loyalty initiatives may not succeed. Because the buyer or customer for B2B brands is rarely the end-user, you must ensure that your rewards are appropriate.
There isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy for B2B companies looking to establish customer loyalty, but utilizing some of these best practices and paying attention to the state of today's B2B market can guide you in creating a program best suited for your B2B company.
Comarch loyalty uses best-in-class technologies to help B2B companies launch loyalty programs that improve customer retention and boost sales performance. With strong B2B loyalty programs, brands can establish long-term relationships with customers, increase customer lifetime value, and gain access to valuable customer data.