According to Gallup, 69% of B2B customers are ready to take their business elsewhere. That’s quite an alarming statistic.
After all, retaining customers should always be at the heart of any B2B marketing strategy. It’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new ones than retain existing ones. And Bain & Co found that a boost of just 5% in customer retention rates can increase a businesses’ profits from 5% to a huge 95%.
To retain B2B customers today we need to offer more. They’re influenced by the customer-centric, easy, personalised transactions they experience as a consumer. They expect their businesses to be ethical too, not just competent. And they need more – they expect you to help them create an impact.
“Customer impact is about shifting from commodity to collaboration. B2B companies should come alongside customers and offer information that competitors do not have — from specific recommendations about changing market demands to innovative products that solve customers’ biggest problems.”
But, if you can offer this and stand apart from your competitors then you stand to turn the tides in your favour. And it doesn’t take a monumental budget to achieve. Through employee advocacy you can harness the collective power of your employees’ voices to deepen relationships, build brand equity and become a helpful B2B brand that adds value to its customers.
1. Your values matter. Advocacy showcases them best
Today’s B2B buyers and customers expect more than ever before. Yes, the quality of your products or services matter (and your customer service) but they also want to work with ethical companies.
Gyro found that culture, purpose and values are the biggest influences on the group’s choice of vendor for the majority (65%) and that 83% of those they surveyed say they are more likely to buy from a business whose culture matched their own.
So if your customers don’t feel that culture match, what will happen when they’re ready to buy again?
While you may have marketing messages that say what your brand values are, employee advocacy gives you a chance to show that your company’s employees are living and breathing those values. It gives your values authenticity. And, as you’ll see below, the greater reach ensures that they’re heard.
2. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder
In B2B relationships absence does not make the heart grow fonder - regular contact and communication is the key to its survival.
Creating one-way, regular conversations with your B2B customers can be difficult. Yet your employees have 10x the reach of your company page on LinkedIn - meaning their messages will go further. But it’s much easier for them to engage with the people within their network, instead of creating a mammoth task for marketing whose responses can never be truly personal.
Employee advocacy therefore provides a short-cut to keeping you front-of-mind with your customers and enabling them to positively engage with real people - the face of your brand - when they wish to.
3. It helps your B2B customers create an impact
Being helpful and creating value for your customers in a way that helps them make an impact only results in a win-win for businesses and their customers- one which strengthens their partnership.
Your employees are much better equipped to share the latest industry insights and what this means for their markets than marketing - or posts that address real-life issues they’ve faced that day.
Knowledge is power and when you help your customers by becoming a go-to source of relevant, industry-specific information you help them create an impact in their roles. And doing so is a win-win for both.
4. A regular feedback loop to create more customer impact
Employee advocacy is a great way to keep an ear to the ground of what your buyers are really saying, thinking and feeling. When your employees are connected with your B2B buyers and sharing and engaging with industry insights, they will naturally pick up on issues and challenges that their buyers and market are facing - and what the latest trends are.
Advocacy can therefore help your customers become a vital source of new ideas on how to help create customer impact that results in happy and loyal customers.
5. They become brand advocates themselves
Every marketer understands the importance of word of mouth recommendations and, in today’s digital world, these take place on social media. In B2B, word-of-mouth is crucial:
As we’ve seen, the benefits that customers receive through employee advocacy ultimately leads to a loyal customer fan base. And when this happens, employee advocacy turns into customer advocacy - where your B2B customers share your content with their network of like-minded professionals and recommend or refer you.