Why Should You Consider a B2B Loyalty Program for Your Business?
If you are a business serving business clients you might have asked yourself: Can the popular and powerful mechanisms, tools and tactics of B2C customer loyalty programs also be applied to B2B? Do B2B Loyalty Programs work? After having powered and developed dozens of B2B Loyalty Programs across multiple industries, we couldn’t be more confident to answer this with a big, huge YES!!
In a nutshell:
- B2B Loyalty Programs give you access to a comprehensive toolkit to deeply understand and actively drive the desired behavior from your B2B clients – with everything from purchase behavior to customer referrals and more.
- B2B Loyalty Programs enable you to move beyond price by systematically providing added value to your customers and giving them that decisive reason to stay loyal to you.
- B2B Loyalty Programs, if designed well, can even give you a unique selling point (USP) to attract new customers.
Put this all together and you get a huge boost to business performance and sustainability!
Ready to find out how? Then full speed ahead!
Did you know that customer loyalty in itself is an often-overlooked element of B2B businesses? According to research by Gallup, only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged, meaning that many businesses are at risk of losing 2/3 of their customers by not continuing to engage with them!
This of course, is yet another reason why you should consider a B2B Loyalty Program to drive your company’s success!
How to Create Your B2B Loyalty Program With Loyalty Prime
The foundation for your successful B2B Loyalty Program always needs to be a top-notch tech stack. With a state-of-the-art B2B Loyalty Software, you can quickly set-up your desired B2B Loyalty Program and manage it effectively.
But which features do you need to look out for in a B2B Loyalty Program Software? And what should you consider with regards to the software provider? At Loyalty Prime, we have got you covered on all bases! We have summarized why below – but to get an even better feel, we recommend contacting us for your personal live demo!
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Everything You’ll Need in a B2B Loyalty Software to Power Successful B2B Loyalty Programs
We at Loyalty Prime are experienced B2B loyalty experts and are empowering our clients achieve measurable results with their B2B loyalty programs. With our Loyalty Software ‘Prime Cloud’ and our expertise at your side, you pave a direct path to your B2B loyalty marketing success!
A first overview of Prime Cloud’s holistic B2B Loyalty Program Software features are listed below – and if you are interested to learn more, book a free demo with us!!
|B2B LOYALTY SOFTWARE FEATURE||HOW PRIME CLOUD HAS GOT YOU COVERED|
|1. B2B Loyalty Software Set-up
|2. B2B Loyalty Program Business & Reward Rule Configuration
|3. B2B Loyalty Reward Types
|4. B2B Loyalty Engine (Holistic B2B Loyalty Program Software)
|5. Loyalty Marketing & Promotion Engine
|6. Customer Behavior Tracking & Incentivizing
|7. Loyalty Member Account Management
|8. Customer Service Functionality
|9. Reporting & Data Analysis Functionality
|10. Accounting Functionality
|11. Loyalty Platform Integrations
|12. Loyalty Platform User Interface
|13. Loyalty Platform Rights & Roles Management
|14. Top-Notch Technological Quality
|15. White-label Loyalty Frontends
Why Global Brands Choose Loyalty Prime as Their B2B Loyalty Software for B2B Loyalty Programs
Our rich feature-set and top-notch, enterprise-grade technological quality are definitely key reasons why premium brands across the globe choose Prime Cloud as their B2B Loyalty Program Software!
But there is a whole list of additional reasons, too 😊:
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How Do B2B Loyalty Programs Work in Detail?
A B2B loyalty program delivers features and benefits to business customers with the goal of driving certain client behaviors. Similar to a B2C loyalty program, these behaviors could be:
- Transactional: increasing purchases in general, encouraging purchases in specific product groups, driving retention, loyalty, and tenure (remaining a customer for a certain amount of time),
- Non-transactional brand engagement: such as providing feedback on your products and services to deliver insights for optimization, taking part in product trainings, and referring your brand to other businesses.
A B2B Loyalty Program can be a published, structured program that is open to all customers, or it can be offered on an ad-hoc, unpublished basis to customers you wish to target.
What Makes B2B Loyalty Programs Different from B2C Programs?
There are a few key differences between B2C and B2B Loyalty Programs:
- the customer/decision-maker acts as an agent for a business, and not just on their own behalf
- the decision-maker may or may not be the same person as the user and there can be many stakeholders involved.
Any benefits offered in a program should therefore ideally benefit three parties: the business, the decision-maker, and/or the user. And of course, the program shouldn’t incentivize anything that would put individual customer interests above of the holistic business interests.
What Features and Benefits Do B2B Loyalty Programs Typically Involve?
B2B programs typically offer a combination of features and benefits to its members:
- Tangible benefits: such as when members earn discounts, credits, or even cashback for future purchases based on their activity.
- Special access to services: such as a dedicated help line and expedited shipping for customers who spend above a certain threshold.
- Information and advice: such as training and access to Subject Matter Experts for customers who buy from you regularly.
- Recognition: such as a small thank you gift for top sellers and acknowledgement for reaching certain milestones.
- Data-driven loyalty promotions: with the right B2B Loyalty Software, you can easily use data intelligence to carry out promotions to drive the behaviors you seek from your B2B customers, benefitting both your clients and your business.
- Personalized Communication and Engagement: with the right B2B Loyalty Technology you can engage your B2B customers via personalized, cross-channel communication to drive retention, satisfaction and advocacy.
Now should these benefits be offered to individuals within a business, or more generally to the business itself? In many cases, it is more common to offer benefits to the overall business, so that several stakeholders can use them.
Of course, sometimes it is worthwhile to offer specific benefits to individuals. In this case make sure that you are focusing on the right individuals (users vs. decision makers) and limit the monetary value to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
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How Do Businesses Benefit from B2B Loyalty Programs?
A well-designed B2B Loyalty Program helps your business retain and grow your customer base without resorting to “one-size-fits-all” marketing that breaks the bank, as well as takes your customer conversations well beyond just pricing. When these two elements are combined, a B2B Loyalty Program is a strong factor in boosting business performance.
Enables You to Move Beyond Price
We’d never say that price doesn’t matter when it comes to B2B purchase decisions, but it’s not the only factor. Perceived added value from outstanding service or other benefits from your B2B Loyalty Program can weigh just as heavily. After all, purchasing decisions are made by humans who also come with their individual desires for recognition, support, and a sense of connection.
Yes, they may be looking for the best price on the solutions they’re buying, but they want to buy from a company they trust, that appreciates them, and that makes their job easier.
A B2B loyalty program adds the exact elements of value that address these desires! Here are a few examples:
- Trust: build trust by offering a guarantee of quality and/or service with a personal touch for your most valuable customers.
- Appreciation: show your appreciation with simple acknowledgments and thank-you’s for their business.
- Simplify their job: make their job easier by offering trainings on the latest tools and techniques and even reward them for completing these!
- Give a unique feeling of community: make them feel part of a community of like-minded business users that share a common vision, goals, and purpose!
Your customers will without a doubt factor these benefits into the equation the next time they make a purchase, making your relationship “stickier.”
Helps You Generate Deep Customer Insights for Holistic Business Optimization
If there is ONE key secret to highly successful businesses – it is the consistent focus on data-driven business optimization! Which products and services do your clients value most? Which marketing tactics and communication yield the best results? What do you NEED to improve urgently to avoid customer churn? What can you optimize and how can you innovate to stay ahead of the competition?
A well-crafted B2B Loyalty Program clearly answers all of these questions by helping you deeply understand your clients’ needs and motivations and then use that knowledge to drive your business performance. This process involves:
- Holistic Customer Behavior Tracking & Consent for Using the Data: with the right B2B Loyalty Software you systemically track customer behavior and gain deep insights by using rich data analysis and reporting functionalities. On an important note: in many countries and regions, you aren’t allowed to store and use individual customer data without their permission (“opt-in”). With a B2B Loyalty Program, you incentivize members to give you the relevant opt-ins in return for the benefits of the program, allowing you to get a full picture of their behavior and motivations.
- Incentivize valuable feedback: a B2B loyalty program can also include incentives for members to provide feedback in the form of polls and surveys, focus groups, and customer advisory panels. You can use these feedback tools for a wide range of purposes. The sky is the limit, but a few examples are:
- Developing new products
- Discovering new pricing options
- Continuously enhancing your program to achieve increasingly better results
- Improving your customer service processes
- Test and learn: a robust B2B Loyalty Program with the right tech stack creates a direct communication channel between you and your customers in which you can share, test, and measure particular offers and incentives at the individual level. This testing becomes the powerful fuel you need for business optimization.
Optimizes Your Marketing Spend, Drives Revenues & Profit
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Wanamaker, a pioneer of the American department store, has highlighted a fact that’s still true today: traditional media advertising often is hugely wasteful due to limited targeting options and difficulties to track ROI.
As a B2B marketing professional, you know how essential it is to allocate your budget to tactics that yield the highest possible result.
You also know this is only possible if the tactics allow you to use data for targeting, measuring, and optimizing results. Here is where the right B2B Loyalty Software makes a big difference, because you get:
- Data-Driven Direct Marketing: with a B2B loyalty program, your marketing is no longer one-size-fits-all – everything you do is targeted, data-driven, and measured, driving your marketing’s effectiveness and efficiency! For example, you can identify clients who are likely to spend more with you (through cross-sell or up-sell) as well as engage with customers with a high propensity to churn. You learn who the relevant users and purchase decision makers are within your client base and target them with the right messaging.
Members have given you their contact data and opt-ins so that you can communicate to them directly by providing promotions, messages and offers that speak to their specific patterns and needs. Your marketing can thus focus on the behavior you seek, whether it be cross-sell, up- sell, retention or advocacy.
- Connect with Previously Unknown End Users: the above even holds true if you currently do not have any direct relationship with the business end users of your products and services, as your distribution model relies on intermediaries such as, wholesalers. In such cases, a B2B Loyalty Program allows you to establish relationships with the end users, which in many cases is a real game-changer for driving marketing and business performance.
For example, a manufacturer of supplies used by electricians could create a program where electricians get benefits based on their purchases, even if those purchases are through a distributor. The manufacturer can then finally market their products to the right audience (the business end users) and learn from them directly on how to optimize! Or, a B2B Loyalty Program could offer end-user benefits such as professional tips or access to content and training. Such offerings build relationships and end-user loyalty without interfering with the distributor-customer relationship.
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Who Are B2B Loyalty Programs Best Suited For?
B2B Loyalty Programs are highly worthwhile for many types of companies, but are most successful for companies that:
- Want to develop a direct relationship with purchase decision-makers and users of their products and services.
- Are searching for an effective toolkit to drive certain client behavior.
- Want to leverage comprehensive data for efficient direct marketing and to holistically optimize business performance.
- Want to offer value-added benefits that are difficult for competitors to match.
- Can offer value-added benefits at scale without excessive costs.
B2B Loyalty Programs already successfully function in many industries and can be designed for all types of business customers – small businesses, large businesses, even independent contractors. They also can be found in categories that have a simple, commoditized product offering, as well as in categories that offer a complex mix of products and services. Furthermore, B2B Loyalty Programs cover the entire spectrum from very simple to highly sophisticated.
Top B2B Loyalty Programs Examples
Ready to be inspired by some successful B2B Loyalty Program examples for different types of customers? We have prepared 3 good ones below:
Hewlett Packard’s HP Amplify
How it works:
This fairly new B2B Loyalty Program offers rewards and incentives for businesses of all sizes and across many industries that use HP’s devices and printing/automation services. HP’s customers range from home business end-users to global enterprises. The incentives are based not just on sales revenue, but also on HP certifications for when clients enhance their digital skills, access to improved delivery capabilities, as well as secure data collaboration.
HP Amplify offers two levels of participation:
- Synergy: this level’s rewards include base compensation, special pricing, a member portal, sales training and sales support.
- Power: this level offers all the benefits of the Synergy level plus growth accelerators that include data-driven insights, higher sales, marketing and online support, as well as additional tools for managing security and print services.
Why it’s successful:
HP Amplify has several features that make it stand out:
- Multiple levels to offer scalability for different types of customers.
- Qualification criteria beyond just spend.
- Rewards beyond monetary/pricing features.
- An emphasis on collaboration and partnership to help customers enhance their performance.
How it works:
Staples Plus is a fee-based program for small businesses offers a combination of benefits with an emphasis on savings:
- $49 annual fee
- Free next-day delivery with no minimum
- Everyday low pricing on multiuse paper
- 10% back on ink and toner
- Guaranteed lowest prices on 5 items that the member selects
- Member-only discounts
Why it’s successful:
- The program is clear and easy to understand.
- It is immediately clear how much members can save, and the savings are enough to make a difference for a small business.
- The “Choose your own items for savings” is a great benefit. It shows that Staples understands that different customers have different needs and purchase patterns, and enables customers to tailor the program based on what is valuable to them.
Shell Rotella MyMilesMatter
How it works:
- When a member buys an eligible product, they enter a code from under the cap (or scan a receipt) on the program website.
- The member then receives Reward Miles based on the value of the purchase.
- Reward Miles can be used for gift cards, Shell and partner merchandise, or sweepstakes entries.
Why it’s successful:
Although relatively simple, MyMilesMatter has a few highly successful elements:
- It is appropriate for the product and category. There are only a few products in the Rotella product line, so there is no need for a highly sophisticated, complicated program.
- It is very focused on value. The reward options are simple and straightforward, and are things that the target audience can use on an everyday basis.
- The branding for the program strongly reflects the target audience. The imaging and messaging are all about helping members keep their trucks performing at their peak, which reveals that Shell clearly understands its audience.
B2B Loyalty Program Best Practices
For every successful loyalty program out in the market, there are many more that fell flat.
But not to worry – we’re here to help!
Understanding what makes a B2B Loyalty Program shine is essential, and we are happy to share some of the key B2B loyalty best practices we have gathered from our decades of expertise in this field with you here!
Best Practice #1 Know Your Audience
Even more than with B2C programs, a B2B program must be designed based on a deep understanding of your customer base. To better understand your audience, ask questions such as:
- How do your customers make their purchasing decisions?
- What criteria are important to them – how are they evaluating you compared to the competition?
- Are there multiple decision-makers?
- At what level of the organization are decisions made?
- Are there corporate culture elements you need to consider when marketing to your customers?
Do your research to understand what benefits, communication types, communication channels, as well as types of loyalty promotions and campaigns will appeal to the array of decision makers you face, then test and learn to see what resonates.
Best Practice #2 Look for Your Hidden Treasure
There is a high likelihood that you are already offering some value-added benefits that could be attractive features for your loyalty program. If you’re wondering how this works, ask yourself the following:
- Do you already offer special pricing for high-value or long-tenure customers? Make that a feature of your loyalty program that members can aspire to.
- Do you have a contact center for select customers? Re-purpose that into a benefit for your top tier members.
- Do you already have or plan to launch a “customer success” department that gives your clients access to onboarding and training material on how to best make use of your products and services? Consider transforming some of those resources into a premium service for your loyalty program members!
The goal is to find things you can offer with little incremental cost that also appeal to your target audience.
Best Practice #3 Find the Right Balance Between Individual Benefits and Business Benefits
Based on your knowledge of your customer base, put together a combination of benefits that appeals to individual decision makers and to your customer businesses as a whole.
Many purchase decisions are made by multiple people, so be careful not to over-emphasize benefits that go to just one person. And most importantly, DO NOT put individual purchasers in the awkward position of receiving something of high value to directly influence their purchase decision.
Instead, emphasize the benefits that are valuable to your customers’ overall businesses, and sprinkle just a few individual benefits into the mix where appropriate.
Best Practice #4 Get the Word Out
How you communicate your program can make or break its success. B2B communication is challenging, because you are ultimately trying to reach individuals, but trying to convince them of the benefit to their businesses. You can accomplish this by:
- Clearly demonstrating the value not only to the business, but also by engaging the individual audience.
- Highlighting your program’s tangible benefits, but with a tone that fits your brand and connects with individual purchasers.
- Using all the channels available to you, including your sales team and customer service representatives – make sure they are well versed in the program’s benefits and incorporate that message into your overall product offering.
- And, as with all communications, make sure your messaging is clear, crisp and easy to understand!
Best Practice #5 Determine the Best B2B Loyalty Program Software for You
One of the most important elements when it comes to successful B2B Loyalty Programs is the loyalty software used to power them.
In order to determine the right B2B Loyalty Program Software for YOUR business, look for one where you can:
- quickly set-up your B2B Loyalty Program based on your particular business rules and data structures, as well as seamlessly integrates with your existing IT tech stack.
- run and manage your B2B Loyalty Program with efficiency, the appropriate data, and high performance levels.
Best Practice #6 Consider Other Loyalty Program Best Practices
While we’ve listed many of the most relevant B2B Loyalty Program best practices, there are others you’ll want to take into consideration for general loyalty programs. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look here.
Types of B2B Loyalty Programs
A B2B program can take many forms – the right form for your program will, of course, depend on your customer base and what you want to accomplish. Here is some inspiration on which types of B2B Loyalty Programs are available!
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- Points Rewards Programs:
- A B2B Loyalty Program can include a structure where customers earn points based on their activity (it could be simply transactions, or could also include non-transactional behaviors like responding to surveys or participating in customer discussion groups).
- Points can then be used for example, on discounts or product add-ons.
- B2B Points Rewards Programs can easily be combined with other B2B Program types!
- Tiered Programs:
- A B2B program integrates well with a tiered structure. Your customers likely fall along a spectrum of value/spending, and you can set thresholds where customers can obtain higher service levels or other benefits for achieving that threshold.
- In addition to higher service levels, you could offer training or education programs, add-on product features, or insider access to Subject Matter Experts.
- Furthermore, the tier thresholds don’t have to be spending- or value-based – they could also be tenure or number of product lines purchased.
- Surprise & Delight:
- Sending an occasional perk as recognition for tenure or just as a thank you builds on that personal connection between an individual customer and your company, which is ideal for a B2B Loyalty Program.
- Be careful though – the monetary value of a benefit sent to an individual customer must be low to avoid any perception of impropriety, and because it can be difficult to identify all of the actual decision-maker(s) and user(s) of your product.
- In one program we know of, a company that sponsored the Olympics several years ago sent its top customers a framed panoramic photograph of the opening ceremonies as a simple thank you. There was little to no cost involved in sending this gift, but it had high impact because of its uniqueness.
- Partnerships and Coalitions:
- Partners can add an attractive layer of benefits in a B2B Loyalty Program. For example, you could offer discounts with your partners to customers who achieve a certain milestone.
- You could also use partnerships to reinforce your commitment to cause marketing such as with donations to charitable causes.
- In a B2B context, partner features should be an add-on to your program, not the core – you want your customers to focus first and foremost on what you have to offer, not what your partners have to offer.
- Paid/Subscription Programs:
- You can also make your B2B Loyalty Program or certain parts of it (such as a VIP level) a paid service!
- For a fee-based program to be successful, the customer must, of course, immediately see the value of the program’s features and benefits. Your business customers will do the math, so be sure that you have enough tangible benefits so that the customer says “This program is a GREAT deal because of everything I’ll get as a member!”
- Publishing a fee establishes a value for the program. You can choose to waive the fee for especially valuable customers as an added “thank you” to recognize their importance and status.
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