Tuesday, 16 January 2018 14:40

Four Best Practices to Try from B2C Companies

Business leaders know there are notable differences between B2B and B2C environments. However, from time to time it can be helpful to analyze how successful companies operating in consumer markets focus on and see how we can leverage some of their best practices in the hardwood lumber industry.

Here are four key areas we find are a good place to start.

learning from b2c marketsRemember to focus on your customer’s needs. In the business to business market we usually deal with significantly less potential buyers. For B2B companies, buyers are often committed to a supplier for the long haul or at least longer the average consmer notes consumer-goods entrepreneur Toby Nwazor. This point is particularly valid, he adds, “when the B2B business they are dealing with offers products/services that require them to work hand in hand with the seller from the first contact to purchase and installation.”

Anticipating the needs of customers like these and providing first-class service are hallmarks of B2C companies, but the principles apply equally in our realm as well.

Enhanced your online presence. Many astute consumer based companies devote significant time and energy to the design of their websites. They “get” the importance of hosting a site that’s consistently informative, updated with fresh content, easy to navigate and hassle-free when the decision to purchase is made. Can the same be said about websites in the B2B arena?

Peppering your site with content that heightens the need to decide on a purchase quickly, or at least progression to the next step in the decision making process, often generates greater customer interest and success.

Pursue achieving influencer status. Large-scale B2C companies, as well as many of their smaller counterparts, have been quick to see the advantages of social media. In many cases, the area they strive to succeed in is influencer marketing—that is, offering industry-rich content and insights that benefit their customer base, without asking for anything in return.

Companies selling to businesses directly can duplicate this marketing strategy by lending their subject-matter expertise in blog posts as well as in trade journal articles, public speaking appearances and other venues. In this way, prospects learn to trust a business and more closely examine their products and services when the purchasing journey gets underway.

Invest in the customer experience. Most small businesses couldn’t compete or survive without providing a first-class customer experience. This is what engenders loyalty over the long run and encourages customers to refer a business to others in their networks. B2B companies should also commit to an outstanding buying experience with all of their customers.

“In a business model with high churn, B2B companies must satisfy their customers or quickly lose them,” writes business consultant Peter Baron. At the same time, this risk “also represents a great opportunity: Happy customers become a company’s best advocate, which makes assuring customer success a great revenue model.”

Ultimately, all companies must differentiate themselves from the competition by offering the highest-quality goods and services, and continuously satisfying the changing needs of their customer base. For us that can be developing a competitive differentiation in offering proprietary grade hardwood lumber solutions or just developing high quality standard products like white oak, red oak and walnut lumber. Regardless, focusing on these best practices from successful consumer based companies is be a good idea.

What other practices from consumer based companies do you think we can benefit from?

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
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