Life is all about building relationships, especially when it comes to your B2B—relationships are crucial. That’s why we are bringing you highlights from four marketing experts featured on our podcast who shared invaluable insights on building relationships through marketing.
Why Is Building Customer Relationships Important?
Relationships are the glue that holds your business together. It should be a no-brainer that building customer relationships is essential in your overall growth and journey as a B2B. This applies to small and large B2Bs, B2C, and any other type of business.
Remember, creating a connection with customers is never static; it’s ongoing and evolves as your business grows. Once you’ve built relationships, you must work hard at maintaining them. And this involves some degree of emotional intelligence (EQ) and a genuine willingness to help others.
Humanize Your Social Media Marketing
You do this by listening to your customers, building relationships, engaging with them, and then selling to them. It’s a sequential process. He compares the buyer’s cycle to dating. In dating, you get to know someone; you make them fall in love with you. It’s the same with sales and marketing: listen, build relationships, engage first, then sell after.
Know How to Sell
Selling is an art form, and you should only do it after you’ve done the listening, building, and engaging with your customers. When you reach that stage, you’re ready to sell.
Ultimately, you’re selling yourself, not just your product or service. But by doing all the other stages right, people will naturally want to buy what you have to offer. They like and trust you, so selling doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
Build Authenticity Through Inbound Marketing
Derek Hovinga, the founder of The Inbound Lab, believes that inbound marketing is all about authenticity, which is vital for building relationships. While content marketing is more about attracting customers to your business, inbound marketing follows the entire funnel and is empathetic to customers’ needs at every stage of the journey.
It’s about nurturing leads and turning visitors into subscribers or followers. Its messaging is more tailored to a specific audience who want your solution.
Eventually, the audiences who consume your content will come to you and ask for your help. By giving it to them, they will also advocate for your brand (e.g., tell others about you) so you can get new inbound customers. This results in more relationships and more opportunities for growth.
Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, created the flywheel, which according to Derek, is better than the traditional marketing funnel. The funnel takes a prospect from point A to point B. Once you’re at the end of point B, you’re done with them. Essentially, you’ve attracted and engaged with them. They’ve made a purchase. They’re pretty much at the end of their sales lifecycle.
But with the flywheel in inbound marketing, it doesn’t end. The flywheel works as the attract stage, the engaged stage, the convert stage, and then the delight stage, making it ideal for relationship building.
Social Media with Purpose
According to Derek, social media is a giant, noisy digital ocean that makes it hard to stand out. That’s why you must have a plan, a purpose for being on there.
What are you trying to achieve? What are your objectives? This helps with building relationships. Don’t just get on a platform like TikTok because everyone’s on it. Get clear about what you wish to achieve, and keep your returns in mind. If you’re not getting a return on a platform, go elsewhere.
Followers Aligned with Your Brand
You don’t want any followers for your brand; you need followers aligned with what you stand for. This helps with building and maintaining the right relationships. For instance, Derek gives an example of vegan influencer Dan Clapson, who was reached out to by a beef producer. This clearly wouldn’t make for a good fit. There is no relationship in such a case!
Make Your Content More Empathetic
Senior Manager of Account Based Marketing at Gong, Corrina Owens, has over ten years of marketing experience with premium brands and is an advocate of empathy in content. She encourages us not to forget that B2B is marketing to fellow human beings, not just companies.
COVID has forced us to be more empathetic. By providing audiences with content and helpful resources, you are being empathetic, and this naturally fosters good relationships.
Build Relationships through Customer Experience
Another way to build relationships is through customer experience. Owens says that you need to think about your customer’s experience and impression of you throughout all your touchpoints. Ask the key question: Are we solving the problem we promised we would solve for you? If not, go back to the drawing board and keep asking more questions till you get at the root pain point.
How to Build a Customer-Centric Business
Jeff Adamson, co-founder of Skip the Dishes and Neo Financial, focuses his attention on building a customer-centric business. This is all about putting your customer first, not you. It’s about removing friction and barriers for customers to make their lives easier. Skip the Dishes is food delivery on tap for Canadians, and Neo Financial is all about simplifying finances for Canadians. Friction and barriers have been removed.
Build Strong Lifelong Relationships
Jeff understands the science between relationships and happiness. This applies to both personal and professional relationships, of course. He says you want to look back on your life thinking: Who did I spend my time with? How did they make me feel? In B2B, these are essential questions to ask and probably are not asked enough. They are relevant to your staff, co-founders, partnerships, etc.
Add Value in your Marketing
Jeff points out, “Canadians don’t want better ads. They want value.” This, of course, applies to consumers all over the world.
Marketing is moving towards a more empathetic approach where its messaging is about improving the life of your end-user. You must think about how you can help them and make your marketing attributable. This is all about understanding what worked and what didn’t. For instance, which channel is more effective? Where did my sales go up?
Ready to Take Your Customer Relationships to the Next Level?
Top marketing experts—whom we were lucky to have on The Content Callout podcast—shared some great insights. When you apply these insights, they will do wonders at building your customer relationships.
Book time with our content marketing experts today for more expert help on customer relationship building and generating massive sales and brand growth. We can take your B2B to the next level.