After hundreds of in-depth studies over several years around business to business relationships in all sizes of companies, IQS
Research has extensive understanding about what constitutes successful B2B relationships, which ensures your business keeps its clients for a good long time. Here are the five things to keep in mind when evaluating and prioritizing your relationships with your business customers and vendors.
- Relationship is important. Although they don’t have to be friendships, per se, business and vendor relationships can and should be “friendly.” They want to know that you understand their needs, that you take a vested interest in them, and that they can count on you. They greatly value the thought that you’ll be there for them or when you recognize their voices when you talk on the phone.
- Your performance impacts their reputation. This is a big one. If a marketing manager asks you to design and print her company’s brochures for an important campaign, and they’re not done in time or they look awful, that will greatly impact his reputation with his customers, possibly making him look incompetent or unreliable. His reputation is damaged because of your performance. On the flip side, you can also make her shine, which is one of the goals of a good B2B relationship.
- Know what’s important to them. Details matter, and to know that their needs are first and foremost in your mind reduces stress and heightens confidence. Always making sure the details are covered, even as simple as making sure office furniture is delivered without scratches and that their floors are protected when you deliver speaks volumes to how valuable you think they are.
- They appreciate proactiveness. B2B customers want to be understood, and they want you to be proactive around that understanding. It’s not enough you just know who they are and what they do. When you know, for example, that an event is coming up and you can make suggestions to make it go more smoothly, even if it does not benefit you directly will make them more confident in your relationship. They want to know you’ve got their back.
- The B2B relationship should last a lifetime. This type of relationship tends to be based on loyalty. Because of this, you don’t want your customers to think in terms of getting a transaction completed, and you moving on to the next job, forgetting all about them. B2B relationships are longer term, more stable, and relationship-based and need to go both ways with flexibility and consideration.