B2B commerce is an ever-growing industry, expected to reach about $1.8 trillion in sales by 2023. This is because B2B companies traditionally work with large order values, higher conversion rates, and high-grade technology.
What many people don't realize is that the faces behind the companies are still important, even within B2B commerce. Nobody wants to feel like they're talking to a robot all the time. If you haven't already honed your communication techniques for your B2B business, now is the time to do so. After all, it's practically guaranteed to create a better bottom line.
Communication Humanizes Both Parties
When your company's clients are other businesses, it is easy to "lose your humanity" in favor of industry jargon and convenient automation. The humanization of your company is important for bringing in and maintaining clientele, though. The owners of other businesses want to work with companies they can trust, and it's harder to trust a business with no "face" behind it.
Communication should show personality and tell a story. Serious content is important, but using memes or funny, relevant GIFs to break up content on your social media accounts shows a bit of lightheartedness and creates a lasting, positive impression on your followers.
Working with other businesses doesn't mean you aren't sometimes trying to win over an individual, too. The person responsible for purchasing business products is more likely to be interested in your company if he or she knows your story. Use your website to explain how you got into your industry and why you love it. Many companies have seen lots of success with social media posts that show things behind the scenes or feature employees' stories.
Communication Enhances Security
Communication leads to better network security for your business and clients alike. Anti-malware software, email security measures, firewalls, and other technology are helpful, but they aren't impenetrable. When you have a strong rapport with the human beings behind the businesses you work with, it is easier for someone to tell if something seems amiss.
Strong cybersecurity measures during communication can also help you to gain trust and bring in new clients. Focus on confidentiality, authenticity, and integrity. You want to show current and potential clients that your business keeps their information safe, only sends authentic communication, and doesn't make it easy for third-party sources to tamper with the content you send.
Communication Makes It Easier To Set Expectations
There is a time and place for automation in the B2B world, but without human communication, it is nearly impossible to meet your clients' expectations. Building a personal relationship with your contact at another business builds trust and allows clients to see that your focus is on their needs.
You must do this from the very first interaction. Tell your client what you'll deliver for his or her business and the timeframe in which you'll do so. Set price expectations as well. Even if you can't yet provide a solid final cost, giving an accurate estimate sets realistic expectations and ensures your clients know you aren't trying to take advantage of them. Be sure to explain any contingencies that could make the price or type of service vary as well. Remember, honesty is the key to strong communication.
Communication Encourages Feedback
How many times have you found yourself stuck in an automated phone or email system, frustrated and without the answers you needed? Automating your payment services or answers to frequently asked questions might feel more convenient, but it doesn't give your clients a chance to provide you with the feedback you need to build a better business. When you speak directly to your clients, you allow them the chance to ask questions, raise concerns, and even give praise. Direct communication makes it easier to learn what your business is doing right as well as where it could improve.
When the people behind the businesses you work with get to speak to a human, they are more likely to feel heard and be satisfied with your service. Remember, though, not everybody will automatically think to leave feedback. If you intend to introduce new products or services, or if you want to make changes to current ones, consider specifically asking for feedback. Sending an email with a questionnaire or "comment card" allows you to ask about specific scenarios and determine your course of action based on the responses.
How do you communicate with the companies you provide products and services to? From email to phone calls, social media to websites, the options are practically endless. Even video communication is becoming more common. By humanizing your business, encouraging feedback, and ensuring security, you show companies that you care about their needs and bottom lines. Excellent communication makes for happy clients, and happy clients are more likely to talk your business up to other people. Focus on communication now to build a better client network later.