With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging around the globe, figuring out ways to make personal connections with other business owners isn’t easy. You can’t exactly host a large gathering as a thank you to your clients right now. So, building business-to-business (B2B) relationships in the virtual age requires a lot more planning and technologically savvy individuals.

According to research by Forrester, 70% of marketers are turning to an always-on digital marketing strategy to automate personalized interactions with clients. Creating this engagement builds customer loyalty and turns more prospects into digital sales.

Building relationships virtually these days requires more than just a great-looking website, it also requires a bit of technical knowledge. You must think outside the box of traditional interactions and adapt to a new remote world if you want to keep up. Here are the best tips from Charley Grey for building better B2B relationships in the virtual age.

1. Know Your User

The better you know your customers, the more personalized your interactions will be. Take the time to survey them and find out their greatest needs. Then, strive to exceed their expectations. The best way to accomplish this is to look for patterns and then segment your audience into groups. You can then target your promotions to each segment for greater results. With the data you collect from each campaign, you can begin to target your audience based on their needs, expectations, and preferences, often before they even know it themselves.

2. Invest in Chatbots

Chatbots increase customer engagement by 80%-90%, helping with interactivity. So if you want to build B2B relationships virtually, take time to get to know different live chat platforms and choose the one that seems most natural and intuitive for your business. Additionally, you should look at commonly asked questions and problems and program automated responses in the system. Letting a computer handle basic customer service work and inquiries allows you to develop stronger one-on-one B2B relationships. Finally, you can always train live agents to take over when the chatbot reaches its limits. Even the best-programmed software may not understand certain phrasing or be able to handle highly personalized issues.

3. Improve Problem-Solving

When a customer has an issue and calls their sales rep or the customer service line, is the experience all it should be? Focus on training your staff to problem-solve on the spot. Give them the power to make decisions that help the caller without fear of reprisal from higher-ups. Celebrate employees who go above and beyond to keep your best clients happy. Trying times allow your brand to prove itself to the customer.Use role-playing to practice problem-solving skills. Take old issues and ask staff how they’d handle the customer. Think about any potential issue someone might have and work through solutions. What is the interaction like between the customer service rep and the business owner? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can easily improve the time it takes for your staff to solve problems.

4. Show the Value

People don’t only care about the cheapest price, especially B2B clients. They want to know they’re getting what they pay for and it’s the best option available for their needs. People are willing to pay slightly more if they know it’s worth the cost. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Why should they use your product or service over any other out there? What is the unique value proposition for your company, and how does it benefit your client? Use every opportunity to highlight the advantages of doing business with you over a competitor. If your clients understand the value proposition, they’re much less likely to jump ship.

5. Offer Self-Serve Ordering and Support

A recent McKinsey study showed over 75% of people dislike face-to-face interactions and prefer remote options or self-serve features. Invest in the technology and programming to offer SMS support or chatbots. You might think in-person meetings develop a stronger relationship but many of your clients are busy and don’t have time for a lunch meeting or event. A quick Zoom call may be all they need to ask a few questions and move forward with the decision to do business with you.

6. Take Time

Don’t rush through every interaction with a client. Take as much time as needed to fully explain the product. Talk to them about personal things, such as their new hobby or where they went on vacation last year. The last thing you want is to have a business owner walk away feeling as though they’re a bother to you. Make sure they know how much you value them as an individual by giving them some of your most precious commodity — time.

7. Share Your Story

While listening to your customers’ stories is important, you should also strive to share your own. Tell them about your dreams for the brand, why you started the company, and the challenges you’ve faced.Storytelling is a powerful tool to connect you to your clients. They’ll feel they understand you better. Furthermore, people will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong.Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication. Be open and transparent. Customers will be more forgiving of your mistakes and cheer you on to success. When you ask someone to share your brand with others, they’ll be inclined to help. Entertain them and tug at their heartstrings and strong bonds will form.

Build Trust

The way people communicate may be changing but your customers’ needs are still the same. Build rapport and trust by following through on your promises. Reach out whenever you need to and make sure the client is happy. Just knowing you care about them may be enough to build strong brand loyalty for years to come.

Finally, having a professional website for your B2B clients to go to further deepens the trust they have in you. So, when you need a reliable website management team for your business, contact Charley Grey.

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels