B2B organizations don’t sell one item – they sell long term relationships. Furthermore, a successful sales cycle is truly a cycle. It doesn’t end; it evolves.
The past two articles in our B2B demand generation series have covered the B2B lead conversion process: generating interest, educating prospects, providing solutions to their challenges, and finally, converting the sale. What remains after conversion is the last (and perhaps easiest) stage: maintaining client satisfaction and loyalty.
When we think of happy clients, outstanding customer service comes immediately to mind. In the B2B world, however, numbers speak louder than personality. Any product or service that fails to solve a client’s problem, no matter how courteously presented, will soon become one clients can live without. To effectively fuel growth and keep client relationships productive, B2B organizations need to continually demonstrate their value. In other words, they must consistently show how the client is better off because of their product or service.
ROI becomes the bottom line. Clients look for great results, and quickly. Will the product generate steady, measurable growth? Does the business validate the product (and their expertise) through case studies, endorsements, or media coverage? Has the business implemented the product or service successfully within its own organization? Does the product resolve the client’s challenges without creating new ones? Metrics programs might have made it easy for clients to measure their ROI, but they have also boosted their expectations.
Regardless of the ROI measure, businesses must also strengthen their value through constant dialogue, feedback, and innovation. They should always strive to provide new solutions or ‘next steps’ to help clients solve their challenges. And, since these challenges change based on evolving market demands, products and services must also keep up. Organizations who anticipate tomorrow’s market trends will have a better chance of keeping clients engaged for the future.
In essence, B2B demand generation is an evolving symbiotic relationship, with the highest growth opportunities occurring after the conversion phase.
If you missed the first two articles in our series, you can read them online at http://www.themaineedge.com/author/83-cintia-miranda, or look for the B2B Demand Generation white paper available to download on January 30th at www.pulsemarketingagency.com.