There are three key areas to target when scaling a B2B business. These are customer targeting, conversion and retention. They each focus on a single goal, increasing sales. All three must receive adequate attention, however, to achieve your targeted growth.
Let’s dive into these three strategies, which can work to scale any B2B business.
(1) Customer Targeting
No matter what kind of business you run, you will always need more customers to grow. This area is where you want to focus marketing efforts to build up the top of your sales funnel. As you increase your investment here, your raw customer pool should expand so that you have a bigger audience to work with.
You can do this in several ways, including:
Social Media – Most businesses today maintain a social media presence to reach their target market. You can therefore reach them by building up a presence on these same channels. Market to them with attractively designed content (imagery, audio, video, text as appropriate) and a legitimate account that encourages confidence in your business.
Partnerships – Reach out to other businesses to establish collaborative marketing campaigns to gain access to curated audiences. This reduces your investment while producing the same, if not better, results.
Referrals – Look for ways to encourage your existing, satisfied customers to organically promote your offering to other target businesses. Make sure that the information is highly visible. If you run any affiliate programs, make sure that they can readily access these options and that they are easy to use.
Content Marketing – Regularly produce value-adding, engaging content for your target audience. By showing them that you have a store of quality knowledge and skill, you attract them to do business with you.
Advertising – Apart from the above organic methods, invest in paid advertising to increase your visibility on various channels. Experiment with new channels, and focus on the ones that yield the best results.
(2) Customer Conversion
Once you have attracted the attention of new customers, you want to move them down the funnel. You need to convert as many of your browsers and sign ups as possible to billing customers. This is where your attention becomes more keenly focused on each customer’s needs.
Make it a point to follow up with businesses that have shown interest.
Reach out to them through the channels that they are most comfortable with – where they first touched base with you. Develop a system to keep the volume under control, but make sure that you remain personable. You want to make each one of them feel important, so you must tweak any scripts you have to speak to them as unique entities.
Show that you know what they have shown specific interest in, offer relevant products/services, and let them know that you are available to assist. If their visit was vague, direct them to your information pages and ask them how you may be of service.
When you prove that you truly value a customer by showing that you want to help them meet their needs from start to finish, they are more likely to want to do business with you.
(3) Customer Retention
As you establish and develop strong professional relationships with your business customers, you are laying down the groundwork for long-term business from loyal customers. This is the final goal for each customer because this is where all your investments pay off big time.
It makes a lot more sense to have recurring billing for one business than to get stuck in the cycle of wooing and billing single customers. To encourage recurring purchases, whether for products or service packages, you must continue to nurture customer relationships.
As above, develop follow-up systems to manage the process, never forgetting that you must cater to each business customer individually. The key to customer retention is customer satisfaction, and the key to that is truly caring about their needs:
- Make the effort to keep track of what they are doing and make suggestions for improvement.
- Anticipate additional needs and offer solutions, whether or not you can get paid for them.
- Keep in touch, even if it’s just to ask them how a specific area of their business is doing. (It’s often best to ask about something that you’ve helped them with previously since asking about a new area may sound too aggressive and salesy.)
- Continue to make them feel comfortable with you as a partner by making sure that they know you are available for them.
You won’t necessarily want to start with adding new customers to your funnel and end with efforts to retain them. Where you should begin depends on where your business is weakest.
If you have a glaring problem with customer retention, focus on that before you invest more into a leaky funnel where you are putting in a lot of time and money to make just one sale. Similarly, if lots of businesses show interest but you can’t seem to convert, work first on figuring out why they like you enough to learn more about you, but won’t buy from you.
Once your problem areas are solved, then you can find a balance and spot where you need to focus more efforts to get things running smoothly. For instance, if you have a good rate of recurring billing but few customers, find out if you need to improve conversions or if you need more fresh targets.
When you have your systems set up to meet your specific needs, you will start to see stable growth in your business. Then you will be able to focus on maintaining that level instead of constantly trying to plug holes or running around in circles with little gain.