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How B2B client relationships are improved by loyalty strategies | Sponsored Content

“Loyalty strategies are very effective at actively disrupting the B2B sales cycle through direct interactions between customers and indirect partners,” said Kristin Cardona, senior director of strategy at Ansira. These touchpoints help drive loyalty beyond the mechanics of the program and embed engagement and relationship building throughout the entire buying process, whether the sale is direct or through an indirect seller’s partner ecosystem.

According to a June 2023 report from Zipdo, companies with B2B loyalty programs acquire 32% more long-term customers than those without. The report also found that 81% of B2B marketers believe that implementing a loyalty program strengthens customer relationships, and 37% believe that it does. It provides a very effective customer retention strategy.

When asked about the secret to the success of B2B loyalty programs, especially those aimed at affiliate marketers and indirect sellers of a brand’s goods and services, Cardona said:

Q. What is the main difference between B2C and B2B loyalty programs?
A. There are many similarities between B2B and B2C loyalty programs, including: B. Building and maintaining strong, long-term relationships. The main difference is in the approach. For example, because B2B sales cycles are longer, partner compensation is focused on delivering strategic value such as: B. Industry or corporate expert advice, exclusive co-selling resources, or tiered pricing.

Q: How do you address these differences?
A: The first thing you need to do is understand your partner ecosystem. Just as you would with a consumer audience, research what motivates them. Then customize your rewards to make sure they fit your needs. To stay relevant, develop a strategy that encourages engagement beyond the sale. Remember, your partners are human too, and they still have consumer expectations that impact their professional lives.

What role does personalization play in the success of a B2B loyalty program?
A. B2B loyalty programs require customization. This usually starts with segmenting your partners by partner type, region, or size. Integrating data to determine which products and services are most valuable to you, your partners, and your shared customer base allows your partners to take advantage of rewards and avoid wasting resources on offers that aren’t relevant to them. This flexibility is also a benefit, and your partners will appreciate the choice and control that comes with being able to redeem rewards they actually need and use.

Q. What challenges do companies often encounter when introducing or improving B2B loyalty programs?
A. One of the biggest challenges is low engagement and consistent usage. That’s why it’s important to have a strong program with simplified rules, ongoing communication, and a seamless enrollment process. Another common challenge is scalability: as companies grow, their partner programs need to be scalable along with their technology. This means that managing incentive programs requires not only program design, but also tactical considerations that vary for each partner. For example, ensuring global rewards are paid in the correct currency and in accordance with the appropriate tax regulations. Insufficient or siloed data can be a barrier here, which is why we recommend investing in a robust partner fund and incentive platform to manage this kind of B2B loyalty program.

Q. How can companies find the right balance between driving repeat business and maintaining profitability in their B2B loyalty programs?
A. A rewards program should ultimately improve a company’s bottom line. Value-based rewards that focus on solutions, not discounts, drive repeat business and maintain profit margins. These solutions should improve operations for your partners, increase efficiency, and increase access to experts, customer support, and training. Partnering with another provider through a shared rewards program can also improve your value proposition to partners without significantly increasing your own costs.

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