It turns out that even in business-to-business markets, customer loyalty can accelerate growth and create a competitive advantage. In our studies of loyalty metrics for B2B companies, we found:Customers who are “promoters” of a company have an average lifetime value between three and 12 times that of “detractors,” depending on the industry and customer segment (see figure below).Promoters stay longer with the company, buy more products, usually cost less to serve and are more likely to refer the supplier to colleagues.Greater loyalty correlates closely with higher market share, a higher share of the customer’s spending and higher profitability.As a result, B2B loyalty leaders tend to grow four to eight percentage points above their market’s annual growth.
Despite the challenges, some B2B companies have managed to earn strong loyalty. What do they have in common? First, they identify the things that truly delight or annoy customers through short, frequent surveys after key episodes such as a new contract negotiation. When they market to distributors or other intermediaries, they also seek out feedback from retailers and end users. This sort of customer feedback helps B2B companies decide where to place their bets.
Bringing the voice of the customer into B2B marketing decisions also requires other departments to collaborate more closely with one another and with external partners.
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